Approved investments down in January-February 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Approved investments from the Board of Investments (BOI) posted a 23% year-on-year decline in the first two months of 2019.

In a statement on Thursday, March 28, the BOI said approved foreign and domestic investments for the January to February period fell to P101.72 billion. In the same period last year, combined investments were at P131.61 billion.

For foreign investments alone, P10.93 billion worth were approved in January and February. This is 1,456% higher than the P702.28 million in investments pledged the same time last year. (READ: Approved investments hit P97.9 billion in January 2019)

In a message to reporters, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the overall decline was due to a "timing issue."

"Some projects [have] to be considered in March meetings. Thus, [we're] expecting March to show high growth again," he said.

BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo added that they cannot rush the approval for investments.

"The BOI makes sure that every peso of approved investments is qualified and is deserving to be registered," he said.

The agency is still reviewing key projects, especially in the power sector, which are undergoing evaluation for technical and financial aspects, aside from compliance with requirements.

"Given the projected investment costs, we are very optimistic of a renewed surge in total approvals in the next months," Rodolfo said.

Likewise, Lopez said they are expecting to see 50% growth in the January to March period.

In the first two months of 2019, the BOI saw the most approved investments in the power sector with P49.42 billion, followed by the information and communication sector with P33.14 billion.

The manufacturing and real estate sectors followed with P12.93 billion and P2.15 billion, respectively.

The Calabarzon region is the top recipient, taking in P60.93 billion in approved investments, followed by Central Visayas with P2 billion.

For 2019, the BOI is eyeing to reach P1 trillion in approved investments. Rodolfo said they "remain optimistic" that they would meet this target. –