BoI shifts incentives tack

Published by rudy Date posted on January 26, 2009

The Board of Investments is drawing the framework for the 2009 Investment Priorities Plan that will focus in generating new investments and saving jobs amid the harsh business environment.

Trade Undersecretary and Investments Board managing head Elmer Hernandez told reporters the agency is speeding up the completion of the IPP framework in consultation with an inter-agency core group as an input to government’s proposed stimulus package.

He said the investments board had already approved the framework for the IPP, which is setting a new direction in incentives.

He said this year’s IPP would depart from its usual focus due to the lack of expansion projects amid global credit crunch. The board, instead, will grant companies incentives for their efforts to maintain operations and save the jobs of their employees.

“This IPP is not the usual type. This time, we will concentrate on mitigating fallouts, how to ‘incentivize’ companies’ efforts to save jobs,” said Hernandez.

He said the fallouts included the expected slowdown in exports, retrenchments, layoffs and closures.

“BoI will address the challenges of this environment by mitigating fallouts through its mandates as government’s main promotion agency that is also tasked to craft a framework for industry development notwithstanding government’s efforts to raise more revenues,” said Hernandez.

He disclosed two major groupings in the proposed 2009 IPP—the usual activities related to the agency’s promotion efforts and saving jobs.

Other agencies involved in the IPP core group are the National Economic and Development Authority and the Finance Department.

“If the economy is on a downturn, the IPP is still a valid measure to arrest or mitigate the impact. We are now identifying what activities can be listed in the IPP to mitigate the fallout of what’s happening globally,” said Hernandez.

He said companies had instituted measures to tide them over during the crisis. These include the implementation of shorter workweeks or allowing employees to go on extended vacation, without pay.

Some companies choose to temporarily close down their facilities and operations until the crisis blows over, instead closing down outright.

Hernandez said the measures would give their employees something to look forward to in the future when the economy improved. Employees will not be paid for no-work days in cases of shorter workweeks but they still have the security of tenure and can still enjoy basic benefits.–Elaine Ramos Alanguilan, Manila Standard Today

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