DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez with British Chamber of Commerce Philippines Executive Chairman Chris Nelson
By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez affirms the British of Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (BCCP) Executive Director Chris Nelson’s statement that it is retaining and attracting new members in the Philippines throughout the lockdown, with prospects of new investments coming in for the long term.
In a television interview last Monday, Mr. Nelson said that none of their existing member companies have withdrawn their investments and that new members have in fact joined even during the height of the pandemic.
“People are not leaving. In fact, where I would like to give slight encouragement is we’re actually getting inquiries and interest in the Philippines,” Nelson said.
Sectors that have attracted interest from British investors include the automotive, energy, beverage, and food industries.
Secretary Lopez affirms this statement and said that the Philippines’ registered approved investments have actually risen in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period last year.
“Our records show that approved investments are 112% higher than that of the same period last year and cover investments in infrastructure, energy, and transport—very important sectors in ensuring that the country makes a strong rebound in 2021,” he explained.
Secretary Lopez reiterated the DTI’s full support for the Corporate Reform and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE), to help businesses recover from disruptions in supply chains and markets brought about by the pandemic.
CREATE will provide immediate relief by way of a big drop in the Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate from 30% to 25% by July 1, 2020; it will give a certain and competitive incentive regime for attracting new investors, and for those enjoying the current 5% tax on Gross Income Earned (GIE)–a longer transition period which will allow them to enjoy the same 5% GIE up to 2029. The net operating loss carryover (NOLCO) application is also being made longer at 5 years. Moreover, for highly strategic projects (e.g. high employment generation or employing distinctly innovative technology), the Philippines would now be able to match other countries that are able to offer flexible negotiated incentive packages as CREATE empowers the President to offer tailor-fitted incentives beyond the regular menu provided under the proposed bill.
Secretary Lopez also highlighted that strategic projects continued to be implemented during the quarantine period, including a 60,000-kilometer nationwide fiber-optic network nationwide, manufacturing support facilities for a third telco, and satellite-based connectivity solutions.
“This, along with additional highly skilled human resources from manufacturing sectors and returning overseas Filipino workers, demonstrates how the Philippines continue to create a conducive environment to retaining current and attracting new investors,” he added.
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