Foreign investors deferred expansion plans in economic zones, as President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to announce the new director-general of Philippine Economic Zone Authority after the resignation of Lilia de Lima.
Peza promotions and public relations manager Elmer San Juan said foreign investors became cautious on spending for programmed expansion.
“There are still some expansion going, but a bigger portion have slowed down. Some of them told us that instead of doing immediately their expansion, they’re to wait for the new [Peza] appointee,” San Juan said over the weekend.
He said several European and American companies expressed concern over the recent shakeup at Peza, although this was expected with the change of the administration.
“Even members of the Joint Foreign Chambers have expressed concern. We understand where they are coming from since our former director general, Lilia de Lima has been governing the agency for 18 years and investors have gotten used to how Peza deals with them,” San Juan said.
San Juan said if the current situation persisted until the end of the year, Peza could post a flat growth this year.
Investments approved by Peza rose 5.5 percent in 2015 to P295.09 billion from P279.48 billion in 2014.
Investments approved by Peza rose 18.7 percent in the first four months to P48.75 billion from P41 billion a year ago. Volume of projects also increased 11.2 percent to 208.
Among the major investments approved by Peza this year were P15.72 billion by a Dutch company, a P10.1-billion expansion by a Korean company, P5 billion in a tourism enterprise by MJC Investments Corp., P3.2 billion by renewable energy company Petrosolar Corp., P2.96-billion expansion by a Japanese electronics company, P2.1 billion by another Dutch IT company, P1.7 billion by Infinity Philippines and P1.5 billion by DCS Development Corp.
Direct employment by all Peza-accredited economic zones reached 1.255 million as of end-April 2016, with information technology and business process outsourcing accounting for almost half of the manpower.