Different requirements await non-export locators in planned new ecozones

Published by rudy Date posted on September 14, 2011

LOCAL FIRMS will not have to comply with a minimum investment value, but will have to adhere to strict environment and labor standards to operate in economic zones being planned for non-export businesses, an official said yesterday.

While these locators will not benefit from tax and various other incentives now offered in economic zones under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), they will be spared from local tax and other impositions of provinces, cities and municipalities.

Asked what the agency could do to improve the country’s overall competitiveness, PEZA Director-General Lilia B. De Lima told reporters at the sidelines of a Management Association of the Philippines conference in Makati: “That is why we are looking into putting up domestic ecozones in the country, and we are still trying to finalize that.”

“We are still trying to determine what kind of incentives we can give to the [local] companies, because we are definitely not going to grant income tax holidays,” she added.

Asked further what requirements companies planning to move into these new economic zones will have to satisfy, Ms. De Lima said, “We don’t want to impose an investment requirement or minimum on local businesses because that can kill off an industry if you just keep favoring the big ones.”

“I precisely want SMEs (small- and medium-scale enterprises) to enter our ecozones, because they are the ones who need our help,” she stressed.

“What we want is for the companies not to be degrading our environment and for them to respect our labor laws.”

At the same time, the PEZA chief said she expects business in export processing zones to increase further, with investment pledges alone rising 60% annually to P113.6 billion as of August from P70.96 billion.

“We are now aiming for 11% [growth in investments, jobs and export sales],” she said. — Eliza J. Diaz, Businessworld

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