Tuesday, January 17, 2017

PEZA pushes 3 Mindanao regions for lower power rates from hydro

Posted on January 13, 2017

THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) said it will recommend three regions in Mindanao for a scheme allowing the payment of lower power rates by economic zones, involving the allocation of low-cost power generated by the southern island’s hydropower plants.

PEZA Director-General Charito B. Plaza told reporters in a recent briefing that she would recommend the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Caraga Administrative Region, and Davao region for the scheme.

When asked when the subsidy is to be implemented, she said that a memorandum of agreement (MoA) has yet to be signed. She said that the Department of Energy (DoE) is currently “improving” the Agus and Pulangi hydroelectric complexes

“We are due to sign a MoA. The DoE is also improving the Agus-Pulangi source. That’s where the subsidized power will be sourced. The Energy secretary wanted me to recommend three areas first because there are existing industries there, and all other regions in Mindanao will follow.”

President Rodrigo R. Duterte is from Region 11.

According to Ms. Plaza, the power rates are P2.75 per kilowatt-hour.

This forms part of PEZA’s objective to attract more investment in Mindanao by reducing the cost of doing business.

PEZA plans to conduct an investment roadshow in the first quarter, pitching to Middle Eastern firms that may be interested in locating in the southern Philippines

The investment roadshow will visit Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Qatar; Dubai; Bahrain; Kuwait; and Oman.

Mr. Duterte is scheduled to visit the region also some time in the first quarter. In preparation for this, PEZA is in the process of formalizing investment proposals for the region.

Based on her initial talks with Middle Eastern investors, Ms. Plaza said the interest is in tourism, agriculture, and the halal industry, which can cover food, cosmetics, and clothing.

She said the roadshow delegation will include representatives of the Departments of Trade and Foreign Affairs as well as local governments seeking to promote economic zones. -- Roy Stephen C. Canivel

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