New investments in the country’s 306 special economic zones jumped 21.7 percent to P135 billion in the first eight months from a year ago, boosted by the entry of new manufacturing projects, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority said over the weekend.

Peza director-general Lilia de Lima told reporters the approved investments in the January-August period this year increased from P110.820 billion worth of projects registered in the same period last year.

Peza is one of the government’s investment promotion agencies. Investments approved by Peza are granted tax incentives such as six-year income tax holiday and duty-free importation of raw materials and capital equipment.

“I see the growth in investments to continue especially with our positive credit ratings from all major credit rating agencies and the lure of the Philippines is its workers who are the best in the world,” said De Lima.

Exports by economic zone locators also increased 28.9 percent in the eight-month period to $4.511 billion from $3.795 billion a year ago while direct employment generated by Peza-registered enterprises as of July hit 1,108,367, up from 986,526 in the same period last year.

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