The government expects to have an easier time attracting foreign investors now that Filipino businessmen are openly displaying confidence in their own country by funneling more funds to the economy.
According to Efren Leano, executive director of the Board of Investments (BOI), latest figures show that local businessmen account for 70 percent of the country’s total fresh capital infusions.
Foreigners, he said, used to have a larger share in the new investments.
“Before, we were having a hard time enticing foreign businessmen because they know that even the Filipinos are not interested in investing here. But now, with the locals accounting for 70 percent of the new investments, this is a good indication that even the Filipinos now believe [in their country],” Leano said on Thursday.
In 2010 the BOI approved P304 billion worth of new projects. In the first half of the year, new investment registrations already reached P250 billion.
Leano said the investments of Filipinos are a natural attraction for the foreigners to invest here, too. “We, in promotions, see this as a good promotional factor. We can say that ‘yes, you can come in because our countrymen now also believe because they are investing.’ Before, they didn’t believe us because even the Filipinos themselves didn’t believe,” he said.
Trade Undersecretary Cristino L. Panlilio, who is also and BOI managing head, said they are now working on at least five new measures aimed at making the country more friendly to foreign direct investments, although he has yet to disclose these.
“We are still working on the research and paperworks,” he said.
The new Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) details the listing of activities that will qualify for a host of incentives, such as income-tax holidays and duty-free importation of capital equipment for 2011 and 2012. It has already been approved by President Aquino.
Panlilio said the IPP for 2011 and 2012 listed as priority sectors agriculture and fishery, creative industries, shipbuilding, mass housing, energy, infrastructure including the public-private partnership projects, research and development, green projects, motor-vehicle, tourism, strategic projects, and disaster-prevention and mitigation projects.
“The Philippines is growing fast, and if you decide to keep your state of inertia because you listen to naysayers, you’ll be left behind. If you look at the Philippines after this present administration is over and you did not invest and you have not positioned in business, you will regret,” Panlilio said.