With big projects in the pipeline, ARMM expects more investments, jobs in 2016

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - News -

COTABATO CITY – The Regional Board of Investments in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RBOIARMM) is expecting to draw more investments this year.

Atty. Ishak Mastura, RBOI-ARMM chairperson, said the agency is targeting to generate at least P900 million worth of investments and 900 new jobs in 2016, conservative figures considering what the regional government has achieved last year.

RBOI-ARMM posted P6.5 billion worth of new projects in 2015, way over its original investments target of only P700 million announced early last year. Within this month, RBOI is expecting to approve a P1.3 billion oil palm plantation in Maguindanao, thus the year’s targets could be topped within the first quarter.

There are also new ventures in the pipeline including a P45 million industrial waste treatment facility in Polloc, Maguindanao and an P80 million water facility. The region’s economic potentials – rich in raw materials and an emerging market for goods and services – have been generally overlooked by the business sector in previous decades but this has changed significantly in recent years.

Investors, Atty. Mastura said, continue to put money in the region because of their trust in the good governance initiatives of the present ARMM administration. Moreover, he added the ongoing peace process augments investors’ confidence in the region.

Atty. Mastura said “2015 was the best year so far because the region has posted the highest value of investments in the 26-year history of ARMM.” Last year, RBOI recorded an increase of 70% in the total value of investments registered compared with P3.867 billion in 2014. Likewise, 4,894 jobs were created, 43% higher compared with 3,433 new jobs registered in 2014.

RBOI-ARMM approved eight major investment projects in 2015 led by Al-Sahar Agri Ventures Inc., a Cavendish banana plantation in Maguindanao with a P3.7 billion project. It was the largest single investment in the history of the ARMM.

Chan C. Mining Inc. also invested P742 million for a nickel ore project in Tawi-Tawi, Lamsan Power Corp., meanwhile, had a 5.5-megawatt power plant expansion project worth P687 million in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

Other investors in the region are:

– Tawi-Tawian Petroleum Trading Corp. in Panglima Sugala. Tawi-Tawi; DS3 Fuel Tanking and Services Inc., a petroleum project operating at Polloc Free Port, Parang, Maguindanao; Maguindanao Enegry Farms Inc. based in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao for a 474 hectare-napier grass plantation; Matling Industrial and Commercial Corp.,, a cassava starch milling plant in Malabang, Lanao del Sur; and Southsea Industrial Energy Corp, an oil refinery project in Simunul, Tawi-Tawi.

Sixty-five percent, or P4.3 billion, of the combined value of the new projects approved by RBOIARMM in 2015 are agri-based while 24%, or P1.5 billion, are energy related. The rest, or P742 million, is on mining and quarrying.

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