Marina mulls fiscal perks for domestic shipbuilders
MANILA, Philippines – The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) is proposing fiscal incentives for small- and medium-sized domestic shipbuilders to encourage them to produce more vessels.
"We are talking with the DBP (Development Bank of the Philippines) and Land Bank (of the Philippines) to lend money to the shipbuilders so that if they have orders of new vessels, they have the money to sustain the construction," Marina Deputy Administrator Nicasio Conti said on the sidelines of the 13th Development Policy Research Month on Tuesday, September 1.
A document obtained from Marina showed that to date, there are 113 active domestic shipyards in the Philippines. About 7 of these are categorized as large shipyards, 12 as medium vessels, and 94 as small.
"The Philippines has more imported passengers ships, cargo ships, barges, and tubgoats than locally constructed ones," Conti said.
Lack of financing
According to Marina, there were 112 imported ships from 2009-2012; while the Philippines only produced 37 locally built vessels during the same period.
"One issue is because small- and medium-sized domestic shipbuilders do not have the capital to sustain the orders in their book. People should take note that big firms like Hanjin (Shipping Company Limited) and Tsuneishi (Heavy Industries Cebu, Incorporated) only produce imported vessels," the deputy administrator of Marina said.
To encourage investments in the domestic shipbuilding industry, Marina is talking with the DBP and Land Bank to extend loan or grant private facilities to domestic shipbuilders, Conti said.
Asked if how much loan shipbuilders will be looking at, Conti replied: "It will depend on the size of the vessel and the route the vessel will be taking. But that decision lies on DBP or Land Bank. We're just the bridge."
Although he did not say when his office is targeting to implement the incentives program, Conti said he hopes to "update the stakeholders on how to avail of the perks as early as next year."
In his speech, Conti said his office envisions the Philippines to be a ship repair hub in Asia and a center for regional maritime research and development.
According to Marina, the Philippines is the fourth largest shipbuilding nation in the world in terms of capacity, following Japan, Korea, and China.
"With this incentives program, we hope to be the number one go-to shipbuilding nation worldwide," Conti said. — Rappler.com