DTI vows to lure in more investments producing high-quality jobs

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) which is responsible for generating jobs in the country, has vowed to continue attracting investments that produce higher-quality and higher-paying jobs.

During the Bagong Pilipinas briefing Tuesday, DTI Undersecretary Kim Bernardo-Lokin said state  investment promotion agencies (IPAs) are strengthening their investment strategies while improving the ease of doing business in the country to lure more foreign investors to establish and expand their businesses in the Philippines.

Lokin said the IPAs aim to attract foreign investments with higher value in terms of services and jobs. “It would need placing ourselves more aggressively to become the next manufacturing hubs in certain industries and look at more investments for digitalization,” she noted, adding that the over P4-trillion foreign investments the country attracted in 2023 will be generating 224,000 jobs over the coming months and years.

These new jobs will help the country sustain its low unemployment rate, which the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported to be at 3.6% in November 2023, the lowest since 2005.

Lokin said as of Dec. 14, 2023, nine projects amounting to USD398.14 million were already in the Stage 6 category of investments, which means they have registered with the IPAs and are operating.

Foreign investments designated under Stage 5, amount to US$790.58 million, have already registered with the IPAs and their operations will begin shortly. Other investments in various stages are expected to start their operations in the country this year or in the next three to five years.

Of the 224,000 jobs from the over P4 trillion foreign investments the Marcos administration attracted last year, 91,957 jobs (41%) are in the information technology and business process management (ITBPM) and related sectors; 71,899 jobs (32%) in manufacturing, particularly cement, integrated steel mill, electronics and semiconductor, automotive, processing, and wire harness, among others; 23,452 (10.5%) are in infrastructure, transport, and logistics; 21,020 jobs (9%) in the energy sector — both renewable and traditional energy; and 5,760 (2.6%) are in agriculture, dairy and agro-processing, among others.

Ease of paying taxes

Meanwhile, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has lauded the recent signing of Republic Act (RA) 11976, or the Ease of Paying Taxes, and hopes this would help the country attract more foreign investments.

“We need to harmonize and streamline our processes for us to attract investors into the country. Otherwise, we will remain low in the ease of doing business,” PCCI president Enunina Mangio said in a statement Tuesday.

Aside from luring in more foreign investors, the country’s biggest business group is optimistic the new law will encourage businesses to pay their taxes on time and raise the government’s revenue collection that should be invested in critical sectors and government programs.

“The passage of RA 11976 is certainly a welcome development to the business community. I hope this law, coupled with proper implementation and monitoring, will significantly ease the paying of taxes in the country,” Mangio added. (PNA)