Bukidnon needs new investment code – biz leader

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/19 March) — Bukidnon needs to revise its 18-year old investment code for it to be more competitive, Roderico Bioco, president of the Bukidnon Kaamulan Chamber of Commerce and Industry told the provincial legislature Monday at the opening of committee hearings on the proposed amendments.

Bioco cited the need to be competitive “given the environment of stiff competition” where Bukidnon enterprises need to compete with those in other provinces.”

He said a new investment code would create proper environment for enterprises to prosper, create more jobs, earn revenues, and push for development in general.

He explained that the goal of the amendments is to come up with realigned investment plans akin to that pushed by the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Interior and Local government, and the business sector.

Bioco cited three highlights of the amendments proposed by the Bukidnon Investment and Export Promotion Board: the composition of the board, funding for the board, and details of the investment priority areas.

The business community through the investment board pushed to reconstitute the body to include more members from the business sector.

Bioco said that under the proposed amendment, the chamber president will become vice chair of the board, ushering greater participation of the chamber.

The board also proposed that the P500,000 budget provided in the 1995 Provincial Ordinance No. 95-03 to be increased to P2 million.

But he said he hopes the provincial board would raise it to P5 million, claiming it is a small investment that will earn more investments fort the province.

He cited the need to identify investment priority areas based on investment directions of the national government and the capability and potentials of the province.

Bioco, stressed the national government investment thrusts emphasize on food security.

Manny James Cudal, chair of the Micro-Small Medium Enterprise Development Council, stressed that the investment code is an equally important policy of the province.

“It is very important for peace and progress,” he said, adding that for 18 years, the code was “not well appreciated.”

But Junar Merla, senior trade and industry development specialist at DTI-Bukidnon, said the major reason why investment and export promotion did not take off despite a provincial ordinance was lack of personnel.

He said over the years, the investment board only had one job order employee.

Merla said in 2011, Gov. Alex Calingasan decided to revive the board, hired and assigned a regular employee to the office.

He said they propose at least three for the technical staff in the amended code. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)