By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez has offered the old National Steel Corporation (NSC) complex to Japan’s Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., which is expanding its existing Cebu operations.
Lopez made this special pitch to Tsuneishi Shipbuilding President Kenji Kawano during a roundtable meeting with the Imabari Shipbuilding Companies. Lopez was in Japan on a series of meetings with Japanese firms as part of the government led 2018 Investment Roadshow in Japan. Lopez was also accompanied by top level executives from local companies.
Lopez said there have been no more hurdles for an investor to locate in the old NSC site stressing all that Tsuneishi must do is negotiate with the local government of Iligan, which he said now owns the abandoned former steel manufacturing plant. NSC’s last owners were the Indian firm Global Ispat Holdings Ltd., but which ran into a legal tussle with the government over land titles of the sprawling property.
NSC had piled up huge property tax arrears with the local government as well as electricity bills from then National Power Corp.
“No, it’s okay now. They just have to agree on the terms with the local government of Iligan,” said Lopez. The former NSC complex has a strategic location for a shipbuilding operation because it has also an existing pier.
According to Lopez, Tsuneishi has already considered Negros as a location for its shipbuilding expansion plans, but had encountered some problems.
“They encountered some difficulties in Negros so I am pointing to them Iligan and to even consider the site of the NSC,” he said.
During Lopez recent investment roadshow to Japan, he specifically invited Japanese shipbuilder Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. to expand its existing operation in Cebu to Iligan to create more jobs near the Marawi area.
Lopez also met with Chairs and delegates from various Chamber of Commerce and Industry from Nagoya, Osaka, and Ehime Prefecture.
The trade chief underscored the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program and reforms to foster investments and generate more jobs in the country during his meeting with Kansai Economic Federation Chairman Masayoshi Matsumoto and its members.
The roadshow aims to encourage leading Japanese companies as well as small and medium enterprises – involved in auto parts, electronics, manufacturing, and shipbuilding – to invest in PH and participate in its growth story.