By Ma. Elisa P. Osorio (The Philippine Star) Updated March 17, 2010 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - Investment commitments garnered by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) went up by 74.6 percent during the first two months of the year from a year ago level.
In an interview, PEZA Director General Lilia G. de Lima said that the combined investments in January to February amounted to P20.36 billion, a notable sum from P11.472 billion in the first two months of 2009.
However, month on month comparison showed a 47.6 percent decline to P6.464 billion in February from P13.572 billion in January.
In terms of the number of projects, de Lima said that there were 77 projects for the first two months of this year compared to the 73 the previous year. Projected exports also went up by 163.5 percent to $1.597 billion from only $606 million.
Employment is also up 47.5 percent to 15,830 employees from 10,732 a year ago.
De Lima noted that majority of the investments came from the semi conductor and electronics sector. De Lima said most of it are expansion projects of existing locators. She also said that there are two big tourism projects in the ecozones.
Earlier, PEZA said they will be breaking the P200-billion mark in investments this year as they hope to grow by 15 percent in 2010. De Lima said that their target is to hit P201.67 billion mark this year following a good performance in 2009.
“This will be difficult but we need to catch up to other countries,” she said. “This year will be a better year.”
De Lima said that investments in the electronics sector will continue to fuel the growth but said they are also focusing on getting investments in manufacturing.
Last year, in terms of the number of investors, De Lima said the many come from the electronics sector. “They dominated the investments because even at the height of the financial crisis, electronics companies continue to expand just like Toshiba.”
Despite the global crisis, PEZA posted a 13.3 percent growth in approved investments of P175.365 billion from new and existing companies in 2009, up 13.3 percent from P154.773 billion a year ago.
Projected annual export sales from these investments is $ 11.510 billion which is 110.58 percent higher than the $5.466 billion projected export sales from approved investments for the same period last year with expected job generation of 79,435 direct employment.