The Board of Investments (BOI), the government’s premier investment generating agency, said it is likely to achieve P600 billion only in approved projects this year or 35 percent off its P905-billion investment goal for 2021.

BOI Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said Thursday, Nov. 4, that as of September it had only P376 billion in total approved investment pledges, including those already approved by the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB). For the remaining two months, Rodolfo said they expect to approve additional P225 billion to end the year with P600 billion total.

This means, he said, that BOI is 35 percent off target of the P905-billion investment commitment under the 2021 General Appropriations Act.

“I don’t think we can make it in the remaining two months of the year. We will need at the very least up to the first quarter next year,” said Rodolfo.

He said they have total investment leads of P700 billion to pursue of which P300 billion worth of projects have already been checklisted, meaning these companies have already submitted their documents to the BOI. One of these investments is a P150-billion telco network project.

He blamed the lockdowns due to the surge in COVID cases following the Delta variant for the slowdown in investments inflow. The more contagious Delta variant has led to lockdowns, which have made it difficult for foreign investors to fly to the Philippines to conduct due diligence. The Delta variant had resulted in stricter protocols in the second quarter and towards the third quarter causing delays in due diligence activities of investors not just for Philippine investors, but globally.

Rodolfo, however, was optimistic that as borders are reopened, especially for the fully vaccinated, foreign investors will start coming back.

Even the incentives granted under the new CREATE law, Rodolfo explained, would not be enough to attract investors. He cited the need to open the economy to allow investors to fly in.

The big ticket projects approved this year include renewable energy projects, telco, cement and housing. There were also investments in agriculture, particularly in poultry as growers need to modernize their facilities following the impact of the African Swine Flu.

Source: Manila Bulletin (