British firms eye Mindanao; seek better gov’t regulations

BRITISH companies are setting their sights to locate in Mindanao, which has been positioned as the country’s new investment destination, an official of British Chamber of Commerce Philippines (BCCP) bared.

To heighten the companies’ education on the investment opportunities in the island, Chris Nelson, executive chair of BCCP, said yesterday in Sector Briefing and Business Networking at SGV Seminar Hall in Topaz Tower, Damosa IT Park that they initiated a trade mission.

The trade mission that kicked off yesterday, he said, was joined by 30 companies based in United Kingdom. A Mindanao Trade and Investment Forum will also be conducted today at Marco Polo Davao Hotel.

“We, as the chamber, are setting up a network. We want to be the match maker in business,” Nelson said. The companies from the United Kingdom, he said, are interested in infrastructure development, energy, agribusiness and information technology.

There, he said, are a total of 1,000 British companies that bared interest to venture in the country.

To entice investors, British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad said reforms on tax and land holding issues specifically on 40-60 ownership have to be addressed by the national government.

He said there is also a need to improve the logistics and services especially of the tourism industry to attract British tourists.  As of last year, he said there were 150,000 British tourists that visited the country.

Mindanao Development Authority Assistant Secretary Romeo Montenegro said the national government is keen on pursuing the necessary reforms. In Mindanao, he said infrastructure development is also booming as the national government has now allocated an increase in budget to build the necessary linkages in the island.

Mindanao’s power rates, he said, are also cheaper compared in Luzon and Visayas at about less than P10 per kilowatthour amidst its abundant supply with energy surplus at about 600 megawatts now.

“Definitely, we are open here for business,” Montenegro said. (By Kristianne M. Fusilero)

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