Biz leader to SP: Bukidnon needs new investment code to compete

Website of the Bukidnon Kaamulan  Chamber of Commerce and Industy

Print screen capture of the website of the Bukidnon Kaamulan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc.(BKCCII)

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/19 March) The Province of Bukidnon needed 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 Bukidnon Sangguniang Panlalawigan Monday as they opened committee hearings on the proposed amendments.

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

Bioco cited that a new investment code creates 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 parallel 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 board with more members from the business sector.

Bioco said in the proposed amendment, the chamber president will become vice chair of the board, which should usher greater participation of the chamber.

The board also proposed that from the P500,000 budget provided in the 1995 Provincial Ordinance No. 95-03, be increased to P5 million. The board, however, decided to raise it only to P2 million.

“(We are still hoping though with the pleasure and wisdom of the body (SP) to raise it to P5 million. We need more investments,” he added.

Bioco cited that the LGU will reap more investments than how much it is asked to give.

He added that that there has been a need also to identify investment priority areas based on investment directions of the national government and the capability and potentials of the province.

Bioco stressed, however, that the national government investment thrusts puts emphasis also on food security.

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

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

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

He said over the years, the investment board only merited a job order employee.

Merla said in 2011, Gov. Alex Calingasan decided to revive the board and hire and assigned  regular employee to the office.  He added that in the proposed amendment, they pushed that the board should have at least three technical staff.

The provincial board, which composed itself into a committee as a whole to facilitate a committee hearing, is expected to render a “committee report” on their take on the proposed amendments in the regular session next week. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News)