PEZA backs review of foreign ownership limit

By , on June 20, 2014

Makati buildings
Ayala Avenue / Wikipedia Photo

MANILA – The Philippine Ecomic Zone Authority said that in order to keep investors coming, there might be a need to review the country’s constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership for capital-intensive investments.

“I agree with (UK) Ambassador (Asif) Ahmad. For capital-intensive investments, we have to revisit the 60-40 foreign ownership restrictions,” PEZA director general Lilia de Lima during the Shareholders’ Association of the Philippines Summit held yesterday.

Ahmad earlier said that loosening the Constitution’s economic restraints on foreign ownership would entice more investors.

“A whole lot more could come from foreign investment if the restrictions on ownership are lifted. For big projects and investments, it is difficult for a foreign investor to accept a minority shareholding especially if they carry the bulk of the risk, provide the management expertise and the technology,” he said.

De Lima agreed to this, and noted how the country has become an attractive location for investors because of the positive economic prospects adding that the country must take advantage of the opportunity while its’ there.

“Since we are on the radar screen, we have to grab the opportunity. Carpe diem. Grab the day. Otherwise, this opportunity may not come again,” she said.

The Constitution provides a 40-percent limitation on foreign ownership of certain sectors.

Though a resolution was already filed in Congress seeking to amend this restriction and to provide flexibilities on foreign investments, it might still be impossible to make amendments during President Aquino’s term.

The president earlier said that he would not allow any changes in the Constitution during his term.

Despite this, De Lima still encourages foreign firms to invest in the country citing other good reasons, such as the young, English speaking talent force, which can be the country’s biggest competitive advantage.