PHL looks to Middle East for renewable energy investments


THE Philippines is turning to the Middle East to seek billions of dollars worth of renewable energy (RE) investments that could sustain the country’s socioeconomic transformation until 2040, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

In the Philippine Economic Briefing in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said the country needs $103.6 billion in RE investments until 2040. This will allow the economy to attain its target mix for renewable energy over a 20-year period beginning 2020.

Balisacan said that by 2030, the Philippines will require a 35-percent RE share in its power generation mix and 50 percent by 2040 under the Clean Energy Scenario of the Philippine Energy Plan 2020-2040.

“The Marcos Administration has aggressively pursued reforms to open up the energy sector. The Amendment to the country’s Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 opened up our renewable resources to foreign capital, while the proposed amendments to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act will ensure greater market competition, resulting in higher-quality energy servicing for consumers and producers,” Balisacan said.

“Renewable energy is also a priority under the Strategic Investment Priority Plan, which contains investment areas that may receive fiscal incentives,” he added.

Apart from RE, Balisacan said the Philippines also encouraged investment in infrastructure projects in the Philippines, especially in Mindanao. He said the government will prioritize projects that will significantly reduce the cost of connectivity and power in Mindanao.

This, the Neda chief said, will improve the region’s resilience to shocks caused by climate change, and raise Mindanao’s productivity as a growing agricultural and industrial hub.

“The Marcos Administration is committed to prioritizing infrastructure development in the Mindanao region—one of the country’s most promising regions because of its significantly untapped potential for various growth drivers, particularly in agriculture and agro-processing,” Balisacan said.

These investments could find its way to the 79 Infrastructure Flagship Projects (IFPs) worth $45.9 billion in Mindanao, with nine projects being implemented through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs).

The 79 IFPs for Mindanao are part of the 197 IFPs under the Marcos administration’s Build Better More program which amounts to P8.71 trillion or $155.5 billion.

Thus, Balisacan emphasized the crucial role of investors in helping the Philippine government realize the region’s potential, as well as the implementation of IFPs through PPPs.

“We will harness PPPs to finance these IFPs and other high-impact projects and leverage on the private sector’s ability to use innovative processes, efficiently mobilize its resources, and deliver high-quality services,” the Balisacan said.

The Philippine dialogue in Doha, Qatar, held on September 10, 2023, and the Philippine Economic Briefing on September 12, 2023, in Dubai, UAE and several other investor meetings are part of the Economic Team’s first non-deal roadshow and briefings in the Middle East.

“There has never been a better time to invest in the Philippines. Opportunities await not only in infrastructure, as mentioned, but also in our promising growth drivers such as agribusiness, mining, tourism, manufacturing, education, creative industries, healthcare, and the information technology and business process management sectors,” said Balisacan to investors in Doha and Dubai.

In Dubai, the Economic Team also met, through separate meetings, the CEO of Nasdaq Dubai, Hamed Ahmed Ali, Minister of State H.E. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi of the Ministry of Economy, Arqaam Capital, Maybank Islamic Berhad Dubai, Investment Corporation of Dubai, among others.

In Doha, Qatar, 51 guests attended the dialogue, which includes officials of the Qatar government, senior executives of Qatar-based funds and corporates, as well as representatives of business groups, industry associations, financial community, and the media.

The Economic Team also met with Qatar’s Ministry of Finance, Qatar Investment Authority, Qatar Cool, Qatar Insurance, and Qatar National Bank, among others.