BARMM okays P14-M internet investment

– The Regional Board of Investments in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RBOI-BARMM) has approved the registration of Community Wireless and Power Corporation (CWPC), a community internet service provider, to operate in the region.

In a statement on Thursday, the RBOI-BARMM said the PHP14-million worth of investment will initially serve the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao.

“The town of Wao in Lanao del Sur will be its first project site,” RBOI chair Ishak Mastura said.

Due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, he said that there was a notable dip in investments that could be registered in the BARMM for this year.

He added that RBOI registered firms were struggling to survive the economic crisis brought about by the lockdowns instituted by the government to contain Covid-19.

“Most RBOI registered investors are in agriculture allowing them to survive and continue operating amid the crisis,” he said.

Mastura said one major achievement of the RBOI this year was advocating for the inclusion of investment operations under the newly passed Republic Act No. 11439 or the Islamic Banking Act of the Philippines, in the Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) 2020 that was just signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last month.

The IPP is the list of industries and sectors, investments in which the government allows for fiscal incentives, such as income tax holiday and reduced duties and tariffs for capital equipment, to be given by the National Board of Investment, as well as, by the RBOI.

Despite the pandemic, Mastura remained optimistic for next year.

He said together with other investment promotion agencies, his office will be heavily involved in popularizing the recently enacted Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act or CREATE law.

“Hopefully, the impact of CREATE in the BARMM is minimal in terms of our incentive-giving powers because the BARMM can still craft its own list of priority industries and sectors to be incorporated with the Strategic Investment Priorities Plan to be adopted by BOI-Manila and promulgated by the President under CREATE,” Mastura said.

Last week, the RBOI convened after its composition was revamped under the recently passed Bangsamoro administrative code.

However, Republic Act No. 11054, more popularly known as the Bangsamoro Organic Law, retained the original RBOI set up due to the devolved powers it was already enjoying, such as the administering of fiscal incentives to investors in the interest of stability of the investment policies in the region.

Source: Philippines News agency

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