PEZA Targets 10% Investments Growth
Despite threats of continuing layoffs of workers and slowdown in economic activities in the country's economic zones, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has remained upbeat targeting investments inflow to increase this year by 10 percent, exports by 5 percent and employment by 5 percent over last year's.
PEZA director-general Lilia B. De Lima said at yesterday's Bulong Pulungan forum that layoff of workers is expected to continue this year but not as much as last year where 3,000 ecozone workers lost their jobs mostly from electronics and garment exporting firms.
"We are upbeat this year because in a crunch companies will seek low cost but high productivity for their industrial redeployment," De Lima said.
"I don't want a flat rate but don't be surprised if we double our growth targets for the year," De Lima said.
De Lima anchored their upbeat economic projections on new prospects for new investment areas that would offset the losses from the manufacturing sector. These new investment areas are tourism ecozones, medical tourism special ecozones, retirement special economic ecozones and agro-industrial ecozones.
"We have to create new investment areas because we do not know when electronics become robust again," he said.
De Lima even said that they opened 2009 with a good sign as serious interests from these new sectors poured in. She, however, refused to give details for fear these might jeopardize ongoing relocation plans into the country.
De Lima was particularly positive on the agro-industrial ecozone, which she said, has already attracted two Korean investors.
On top of the new sectors, De Lima said that the IT services sector continued to be robust as well as investments in the shipbuilding industry.
"Opportunities under this global financial meltdown are expected to be created in Asia and we are Asia," De Lima said.
She noted that even with the global crisis that started hitting in the third quarter last year causing the retrenchment of workers, PEZA's total number of workers still managed to increase by 2. …