Business Mirror (Manila) | Wednesday, 25 February 2009
Written by Max V. de Leon / Reporter
THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is hoping to increase its fresh investment approvals by up to 5 percent this year, with its promotional activities focused on enticing Middle Eastern businessmen and local tycoons to undertake huge agribusiness projects.
Trade Secretary Peter Favila said agriculture has been the sector that is getting much interest from the investors from Middle East, particularly Riyadh and Bahrain, based on their recent discussions with them.
“They wanted to go on a long-term lease of huge tracts of land and they will plant various crops and then enter into a contract to buy the produce because they need food to feed their people,” he told reporters.
Based on this, Favila said the President instructed him to urge Filipino tycoons to also look into agribusiness projects, either on their own or through a joint venture with the Middle Eastern businessmen.
Favila said he just talked to one Filipino business tycoon who expressed interest on this, although he declined to give the identity.
He said in the last planning session of the DTI, the Board of Investments (BOI) and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza), they agreed to give emphasis on agri-based projects for their investment promotion activities.
“Tell me an item that the whole world needs regardless of the economic situation, it is food,” he said.
Based on Favila’s presentation at the briefing of economic managers on Wednesday in Dusit Hotel, the BOI and the Peza are targeting to increase their combined new investment approvals this year by up to 5 percent.
The sectors that are seen to attract fresh investments aside from agribusiness are IT-BPO, mining, tourism, health and wellness, retirement and infrastructure.
In 2008 the combined BOI-Peza approvals reached $9.96 billion, up 26.9 percent from 2004.
In terms of exports, Favila said the main target will be the Southeast Asian market.
For other markets, Favila said the government would implement focused marketing for specific products to particular countries or states, and drop the shotgun approach.