(SBMA chairman and administrator Wilma T. Eisma discusses business prospects in the Subic Bay Freeport with officials of the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. Photo by Malou Dungog)
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is optimistic that renewed investor confi dence in the Subic Bay Freeport would sustain an upbeat mood here in what has been hailed last year as the fastest growing free trade zone in Asia.
According to SBMA chairman and administrator Wilma T. Eisma, the Subic agency expects more investment projects in 2018 to top the P2.54 billion in total committed investments generated here in 2017.
“We recorded a total of 176 new investment proposals and 63 expansion projects proposed by existing investor-companies last year, but we anticipate more investments this year because we’re opening new areas for development and, at the same time, putting more value into existing facilities so that we could attract more takers,” Eisma said.
According to figures from the SBMA Business and Investment Group (SBMA-BIG), the Subic agency processed 56 new investment projects in the first quarter of 2017, 27 in the second quarter, 49 in the third, and 44 in the last quarter to generate a total of P1,448,358,341 in committed investments last year.
The 2017 investment projects also yielded a projected employment total of 2,667.
On the other hand, the 63 expansion projects proposed last year by existing fi rms here brought a total of P1,088,313,616 in new investments and a total of 821 additional jobs.
With these, the SBMA-BIG processed last year a total of 1,221 certifi cates of registration (CRs) and certificates of registration and tax exemption (CRTEs), compared to its target of 806 certificates.
The certificates allowed holders to operate as business entities inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
Eisma also pointed out that the SBMA-BIG as of November 2017 reported actual revenue generated at P1.23 billion, which was P353 million more than the target of P913 million for last year.
“Compared to the actual revenue of P1.15 billion in 2016, the P1.23 billion that SBMA-BIG earned last year was higher by P83.2 million, or 7.23 percent,” Eisma added.
The SBMA official also said that the agency should have recorded much bigger investment commitments and projected employment had the Dynamic Konstruk project at the Redondo Peninsula pushed through.
“That alone would have brought in P40 billion in investments and 50,000 new jobs, but we revoked the lease and development agreement after the project proponent failed to meet its obligations,” Eisma added.
She said, however, that the Subic agency will open up the Redondo Peninsula for development upon the completion of a new master plan for the area. The SBMA has identified some 3,000 hectares at Redondo, which would be ideal for projects in port, fuel depot, wind and solar energy generation, and industrial estate operations.
“We’re also seeking to invest in new road networks to increase the value of idle land and facilities within the Freeport and to move away from the ‘as-is-where-is’ policy that leaves investors to develop the area they were leasing,” Eisma revealed.
She added that the SBMA is also looking into the proposed measure to extend the validity of business registration from one to three years to promote customer satisfaction, improve business operations in the Subic Freeport, and attract more investments.
The Subic Bay Freeport is now home to more than 1,500 investor- companies with more than $11 billion in total cumulative investments and employing a total workforce of more than 124,000 employees.