MANILA, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Philippines in the first quarter of this year rose to 2.2 billion U.S. dollars, or an increase of 43.5 percent compared to the same period last year, the government said on Sunday.
Citing data from the central bank Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Finance Assistant Secretary Paola Alvarez said that in March 2018 alone, FDI net inflows reached 682 million U.S. dollars, or an increase of 27 percent from 537 million U.S. dollars recorded in the same period in 2017.
"These are actual investments that flowed into our economy that helped create jobs and fueled growth. We should be more concerned with FDIs that are delivering economic benefits to the people, rather than pledges," Alvarez said.
Alvarez said the increase in FDI inflows "is testament to the strong vote of confidence by investors in the economic strategy of the Duterte administration, which is anchored on an aggressive spending program on infrastructure and human capital development to achieve inclusive growth."
In 2017, she said foreign businessmen also brought a record amount of investments into the country. FDI inflows reached a record high of 10 billion U.S. dollars last year, up by 21.5 percent from the previous year.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez has said that this high volume of FDI inflows indicate a "broader and sustained increase of investment inflows into our economy."
The BSP said the 43.5 percent increase in FDI net inflows in the first quarter "reflected investors' continued positive outlook on the Philippine economy on the back of sound macroeconomic fundamentals and robust growth prospects."
The BSP said FDIs were invested mostly in manufacturing; real estate; art, entertainment and recreation; and financial and insurance activities.
Dominguez earlier said the increasing volume of FDIs supports the Duterte administration's efforts to shift the economy from consumption-led to investments-led growth, which would then help create decent, well-paying jobs for the country's young, well-trained Filipinos entering the workforce in the coming years.
Moreover, Dominguez said the government is revisiting its Foreign Investments Negative List (FINL) to open more areas for joint ventures and direct investments, reviewing its procedures to reduce red tape and shorten approval time for business start-ups, and exploring possibilities for expanded e-governance using digital technologies.
President Rodrigo Duterte recently signed the Ease of Doing Business Law, which creates a unified business application form and a central business portal to make it easier for investors to open or renew businesses, and mandates a zero-contact policy to reduce official corruption.
Dominguez said Duterte has also made the country a safer place for investors, with his campaign against corruption and criminality, leading to a decrease in crime volume by 21.86 percent since the start of the Duterte administration on June 60 , 2016.