PEZA strengthens economic relations with Saudi Arabia for more investment opportunities in the countryside
10 September 2021 (Friday)
Pasay City – With its one-stop and non-stop shop brand of service despite the ongoing pandemic, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito B. Plaza, with H.E. Adnan V. Alonto, Ambassador of the Philippines to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), have invited more Saudi Arabian investors to invest and locate their industries in various economic zones during the recent PEZA’s Global Biz Special Edition: Philippines-Saudi Business Forum last September 6.
Director General Plaza said, “We aim to have more investors from Saudi Arabia and widen our reach for industries unique only in the country. At present, there are three (3) PEZA-registered Saudi Arabian enterprises engaged in IT services and contribute PhP 18.61 million of investments in the Philippines.”
Potential economic zones for Saudi Arabian investors
In line with PEZA’s Transformation Road Map which heeds to the goals of Administrative Order No. 18 in spreading the creation of economic zones especially in the countryside, PEZA is actively involving various local government units (LGUs) to transform idle lands in the regions into ecozones.
Director General Plaza stated, “The agro-industrial, agro-forestry, mineral processing, halal hubs, aqua-marine, and renewable energy parks are the most feasible and viable types of economic zones in attracting Saudi Arabian investors.”
She added, “Ecozones will be promoted and expanded to attract foreign and local investors as part of diversification strategy and strengthening value chain resilience.”
“As such, we have identified Agusan del Sur, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Quezon Province, and Tawi-Tawi among all other locations for this move. We also hope to get the proclamation of ecozones in Tawi-Tawi for international seaports which are good for refinery and oil companies of interested investors from KSA,” the PEZA Chief said.
Trade and investment opportunities in the Philippines
Ms. Charmaine Mignon S. Yalong, the Commercial Attaché to the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) – Dubai of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), also believes that the Philippines is still considered as an investment entry hub to Saudi Arabian investors.
According to her, “Even before the pandemic, the Philippines is the third fastest growing economy in Asia with low and stable inflation rates of an average of 3% from 2016 to 2020. This strong growth was supported by the resurgence of the manufacturing sector.”
Yalong also pointed out the report from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) highlighting that “despite the pandemic and its harsh effects, economic growth in the Philippines has accelerated in the second quarter of 2021 to 11.8% compared to -16.9% during the same period last year. Likewise, our nation’s economy is projected to expand by 5.5 in 2021, 6.5% by 2022, and 6.1% by 2023.”
As noted by Ambassador Alonto, “The Philippines already has in place great opportunities for those looking for great returns on investments even during this time of the global pandemic. The Philippine economy has just exited a pandemic-induced recession with its fastest year-on-year growth in more than three decades.”
The PEZA Chief and the PTIC - Dubai Commercial Attaché are positive that the Philippines continues to attract more investment prospects especially with the country’s advantageous demographic spot and a large pool of young, competitive, and skilled workforce.
Building deeper ties with KSA
Expressing his support on deeper liaisons between the KSA and PEZA, the Assistant Secretary-General for The International Affairs Federation of Saudi Chambers, Mr. Waleed H. Alorainan said, “I am delighted to see the participation of His Excellency in this collaboration as it shows the importance of our need to increase and expand our [investment] opportunities in the Philippines.”
DG Plaza and Ambassador Alonto are also looking forward to the official visit of the Saudi Arabian Minister of Labor to Manila to engage with Philippine economic leaders and officials.
“DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez is also scheduled to bring in the Philippines a business delegation to Saudi Arabia before the end of the year,” said Ambassador Alonto.