By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Inflow of information technology (IT) projects continued to drop, but the sector failed to drag overall committed investments approved by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) which grew 7.9 percent in the January-August period compared to the same period last year.
Data showed that PEZA approved investments reached P83.524 billion from P77.406 billion in the same period last year. These investments represent the cost of the approved 374 projects or 6.55 percent higher than the 351 approved in the same 8-month period last year.
PEZA data also showed a 16.06 percent decline in foreign equity investments to P34.103 billion from P40.628 billion last year. Local capital, however, posted a dramatic 34.38 percent to P49.420 billion from P36.777 billion last year.
In terms of employment, PEZA reported a decline of 9.68 percent to 58,032 jobs from 64,253 in the January-August period 2018.
Exports of PEZA enterprises also posted a modest 2.71 percent growth to $3.195 billion from $3.111 billion in the same period last year.
The IT sector, however, posted significant drop of 19.59 percent in investment pledges to P9.152 billion from P11.382 billion in the same 8-month period last year as the number of projects in this sector also was down by 5.93 percent to 111 from 118.
Likewise, exports from the IT sector decreased by 33.49 percent to $487.572 million from $733.069 million in the January-August period last ear.
The sector also employed lesser people in the period at 31,964 or 7.44 percent below the 34,532 hired last year.
In terms of ecozone developments, PEZA has approved 26 as of August including four for manufacturing locators, 20 IT Parks/Centers, and two tourism ecozones.