2014: PEACE TO BRING MORE INVESTMENTS IN ARMM
COTABATO CITY, January 2, 2014 – The year 2013 has just finished with a resounding investment boom in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with a record of P1.463 billion registered with its Regional Board of Investments (RBOI).
This year 2014 is set to repeat the achievement of 2013 in bringing more than P1 billion investments to ARMM. Indeed, investment prospects in ARMM are set to take-off in 2014.
According to RBOI chief Ishak Mastura, while four firms registered with the RBOI in 2014, he foresees at least eight or more firms registering with RBOI to avail of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for their investments.
Although, this rate of registration of firms with RBOI is still very far from what the BOI in Manila experiences in any given year, for ARMM it is already a veritable rush of registration of investments by the firms in the region.
There seems to be a trend for enterprises in the region to register with the RBOI now that the region is set on a trajectory of high growth brought about by the stability engendered by the Mindanao peace process. Previously, firms operated in the grey economy or informal sector with minimal transparency but as the peace and order situation in the ARMM normalizes firms operating in the region are rushing to register with the RBOI their investment projects and their expansion programs.
The banana export industry has been a mainstay for RBOI in terms of registration of their investments. Now, mining firms in the ARMM are beginning to realize the advantages of registering their investments with RBOI.Last year, the top investor to register with RBOI with P707 million worth of investments was nickel-mining operator, Al Tawitawi Nickel Corporation, which has its nickel-mining investment in Tawi-Tawi. This year at least two other nickel-mining firms also operating in Tawi-Tawi are set to register with the RBOI.
However, ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman has set a strict policy that mining firms being in an extractive industry cannot avail of fiscal incentives from RBOI as their taxes are needed by the region for its development.
Oil palm plantations and infrastructure projects are being eyed by RBOI as sources of more investments for the region in 2014 and beyond. Oil-palm is a leading industry in Malaysia and the Philippine embassy in Kuala Lumpur has been promoting Malaysian investments in oil-palm in the ARMM after the signing of the Malaysian-facilitated peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front last year.
Lastly, infrastructure investments are set to grow in the region after decades of neglect brought about by instability, which are now on the mend after the peace agreement with the MILF, so the prospects are good for the construction and allied industries in the region. (Source: RBOI)