The local government which is undertaking information education campaign on investments intends to implement this year the investments and incentives code passed in 2017.
The purpose of the passage of the code is to attract new investors and sustain existing investments and encourage their expansion to create and maintain a business-friendly environment that will boost economy as it creates job opportunities, increase revenue and income, provide employment, and also a way to alleviate poverty.
Local Investment Officer designate Valred Olsim who also is the current Municipal Tourism Action Officer presented to entrepreneurs the concept, processes and details of the incentives for investors during the Micro Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (MSME) Development Week held from August 10-16, 2019.
Incentives underscored in the code are categorized into fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for new and likewise existing investors that have plans to modernize, diversify or expand their business ventures.
Fiscal incentives include local business tax holiday for two to five years depending on the critera which they fall. They will also be exempted from permit fees except those that defray municipal services like garbage fees.
Non-fiscal incentives are general assistance which includes networking, identification of suppliers and partners, participation in business promotion events, assistance in the provision of general services including the provision of relevant data, assistance in site validation among others.
In encouraging investors, Olsim has this to say, “If money is idle, it does not accelerate economic growth but if invested it produces repercussions in the local economy as it creates livelihood and employs people.”
Covered in the incentives packages are identified investment priority areas (IPA) such as agricultural production, infrastructure, tourism facilities, manufacturing and assembly, agri-business and food processing, property development, financial institutions such as banks among others.
In order to be entitled to the incentives, they need to be accredited, said Olsim. The first step an investor needs to do is to register with the Local Investment Board (LIB) through the Investment Assistance and Promotions Office.
Requirements include a duly accomplished and notarized form; certified true copy of primary registration of the applicant such as those issued by the Department of Trade and Industry, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Cooperative Development Authority; if started operation, latest available comparative audited financial statements received by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the SEC for corporations; proof of proposed place of business; payment of P1,500.00 non-refundable fee except for micro enterprise; and publication of application in newspapers of general circulation.
Investor application will yet be evaluated and approved by the LIB prior to the issuance of a certificate of registration which spells out the fitting incentives.
Upon grant of registration, the applicant has to pay a processing fee amounting to P15,000.00 for small enterprises or P15,000.00 for big enterprises.
There are conditions to comply with in order to avail of the incentives such as adherence to the implementing regulations and terms and conditions. The board has a visitorial power or an inspection and supervision powers to validate such that if it does not comply with the conditions, it would be a sufficient basis to revoke the issued registration.
But there are yet some relevant provisions that need to be incorporated to the code prior to its implementation. Olsim said the council is looking into the approval of the amended code within two months. One provision is synchronizing the new policy on ease of doing business timeframe.
To date there are a total of more or less 8,000 entrepreneurs in the municipality categorized as micro to medium.
In the 2018 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI), the town placed 4th in economic dynamism and landed 18th in the overall most competitive municipality. The CMCI results serve as benchmark for government agencies and investors for budgeting or investing. (SCA-PIA-CAR, Benguet)
By Susan C. Aro