A joyful Christmas and a blessed 2015 to all. PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 02 January 2015 14:54

By CHRISTOPHER ARNUCO

 

Today is the last working day for the year 2014 here at Zamboanga Ecozone. We close 2014 with so much gratitude for all the positive developments that our Team at the Zamboanga Ecozone experienced. We accomplished much because of the much given support and confidence we enjoy from those who believed in all that we do, and that is YOU.

This is not to say that Zone did not have any setbacks in the year 2014. We had our fair share of setbacks. For instance, the Zone has yet to realise the construction of the Zamboanga Ecozone Seaport Complex. We have taken some steps to complete the challenging task of constructing a seaport. We are not yet there, but we are moving towards the right direction. Thank you to the Regional Development Council, NEDA and the leaders of the City of Zamboanga led by Mayor Beng Climaco for helping us in every step of the way. We have yet to ensure a reliable power supply for our locators. The Zone has been slightly affected by intermittent power interruption. However, registered companies in the Zone have contigency plans during power shortage. Nevertheless, we still foresee this as a major challenge when there will be an increase in the number of the Zone’s locators with their respective expansion activities from their current state.

Despite all of these challenges, our initial data indicate that the Zamboanga Ecozone and its locators experienced a POSITIVE SURGE in business activities. For instance, 2014 export figures posted a significant increase of sixty-two (62) percent from January-December 2014 against the same period in 2013. This amounted to five million eighty three thousand eight hundred seventy three million US dollars and eighty-four cents (USD $5,083,873.84) in January-December 2014 against the three million one hundred twenty eight thousand eight hundred forty three US dollars and ninety-seven cents (USD $3, 128,843.97) of January-December 2013. The export figures surpassed our estimates by 12% in 2013 of only 150% by end December 2014 to 162% actual figures as of December 29, 2014, to include the 2013 export figures.

The positive growth in the export sector of Zamboaga Ecozone also drove registered companies in the Zone to increase their domestic spending. They source much of their raw materials from the provinces and municipalities mostly in Mindanao. For instance, the buying of raw materials for processing of animal feeds, rubber and seafood products posted a fifty eight point nine (58.9) percent increase this year against 2013. This amounted to one billion one hundred fifty four million eight hundred fifty two thousand three hundred twenty pesos (PHP 1,154,852,320.00) against 2013 figures of seven hundred twenty six million nine hindred seventy two thousand six hundred forty nine pesos and two centavos (PHP 726,972,649.02). The boost in domestic spending by our registered locators are but proof of confidence in the economic viability of their enterprise in the Zamboanga Ecozone.

These figures also supported the Zone’s assertion with regard to the momentum of interest of some business groups to locate in Zamboanga City and inside the Zamboanga Ecozone. The Zone registered 20 locators of various business activities from power, water, raw material processing, food processing to food concessionaires and manpower/service providers. The Zone is currently reviewing and assessing application for registration of another 19 prospective locators. It is the hope of the Team Zamboanga Ecozone to reach 40 registered locators by 2016.

Admittedly, the Zone is still a heavily subsidised organisation by the National Government. Notwithstanding, the Zone’s income performance has proved to be skewed towards positive growth due to improvements introduced in the operation of the Zone and personnel empowerment instituted to managers and field officers. The Zone’s income performance grew by 42.1% in 2014 compared to 2013. While the government’s budgetary support to the Zone dropped from 60 million pesos in 2012 to 50 million pesos in 2013, the Zone experienced some hope when government inceased its support to 82 million pesos in 2014 and to 100 million pesos in 2015. Although the budgetary support has yet to improve significantly, it is sufficient to say that the Zone is steering towards the right direction given the government support has also been very positive. The Corporate Operating Budget (COB) of the Zone will increase by 33.2 percent this 2015 compared to previous years. In 2012, the COB of the zone was only PHP 109,912,000.00. In 2013, the COB of the zone was only PHP 111,919,000.00. The significant change in the COB started this year, 2014, in the amount of PHP 150,112,000.00 and next year, 2015, the Board of Directors of the Zone supported and approved a COB of PHP 200,000,000.00.

Indeed, these numbers and growth indicators are but moral boosters for our Team Zamboanga Ecozone to continue to work hard and effect positive change in the economic outlook of the Zone. With your continued support, we are bullish about the economic outlook for the Zone this 2015.

The Zone’s target is to generate 4000 direct employment by 2016 from its current state of roughly 1000 jobs, although the buying of raw materials in the nearby provinces and municipalities already created thousands of indirect jobs in the domestic labour market. We expect to increase the number of the Zone’s registered locators by another 20 by 2016 and expand land development in the Second Industrial Park and the Zone’s Highlands. We envision to be a self-sustaining Zamboanga Ecozone in the coming decade.

All of these are made possible because of you. You journeyed with us in difficult times and supported us in our vision to make our Zamboanga Ecozone an active economic organisation in the city, the peninsula and in the island of Mindanao. For your confidence and support, we, the Team Zamboanga Ecozone, respectfully wish to express our heartfelt gratitude. We pray that you will continue to keep your confidence and trust in us.

In return , the Team Zamboanga Ecozone, your team, will remain faithful to our joint aspiration for our City, our Peninsula, and our Nation’s progess and transformational development as our constant inspiration in doing what is right and better our commitment to the Filipino in becoming one of the economic centres in the Southern Philippines.

Once again, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR ALL THE SUPPORT! 2014 has been a successful and blessed year because of you and we will achieve much more this 2015.

God bless you and have a blessed and prosperous new year.

Dios te bendiga!  — Christopher Arnuco is chairman of the ZamboangaEcozone