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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

CREATE allows IT parks to push through amid NCR ecozone ban

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THE pending P16.07-billion investments for information technology (IT) parks and centers in Metro Manila may proceed following the provisions of the corporate tax reform package despite the current moratorium on new economic zone development in the capital region.

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) said in a press briefing on Tuesday that the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, enacted earlier this year, allows the investments for IT projects in the National Capital Region (NCR).

“If you read through the provisions of CREATE, it allowed the operations of eligible projects in Metro Manila with incentives and this will be to the inclusion of IT projects,” Peza Deputy Director General for Policy and Planning Tereso Panga said.

Based on the implementing rules and regulations of CREATE, the Fiscal Incentives Review Board is tasked to finalize a list of priority sectors which will be granted incentives. Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez earlier identified the IT-business process management (BPM) among the critical sectors.

“On that note, it [CREATE] is supposed to supersede already the AO [administrative order] issued by the President because CREATE is a law and supposedly more superior than the AO,” he added.

Released in June 2019, AO 18 bans new ecozone developments in Metro Manila in a bid to spur economic activities in the countryside.

‘Categorical position’

While CREATE allows the pending IT investments, Panga said that Peza still wants to secure a “categorical position” from the Office of the President to proclaim the applications as ecozones.

The BusinessMirror earlier reported that Peza was seeking to lift the AO 18 to give way to inquiries for IT parks and centers in NCR amounting to P16.07 billion in total.

Broken down, data obtained by  this newspaper showed 10 aplications for IT center amounting to  P15.5 billion and one inquiry for a P573.93-million IT park as of April 30.

“Nine Metro Manila cities are asking [that] this moratorium be lifted because they are not yet hosting any IT parks or centers,” Peza Director General Charito Plaza said on Tuesday.

Giving the go-ahead for said IT projects, Plaza said, will also mean more job creations amid the pandemic. Currently, she said that over a million out of 1.6 million direct Peza employees are from the IT-BPM companies.

Currently, 167 IT parks and centers are located in NCR, mostly in Makati, Quezon City and Pasig. There are over 290 IT parks and centers across the country out of 410 ecozones under Peza’s regulation.

“We want more investors, especially in this pandemic so they can create jobs for our people. Hopefully, the President will consider it so that we can already register these pending applications,” Plaza told this newspaper earlier.

The total investments approved by Peza last year reached P95 billion, which was 19 percent lower than the P117.54 billion it registered in 2019.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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