July 24, 2018 | By: Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat – Manila Bulletin

The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) yesterday reported that its revenues as of the second quarter this year have reached P340.625 million, exceeding the agency’s P224.548 million earnings for the entire of 2017, propelled by contributions from offshore financial technology (fintech) locators.

In a statement, CEZA Administrator and CEO Sec. Raul L. Lambino said revenues from fintech firms of P205.976 million raised its total revenues to P340.625 million by the end of the second quarter, already exceeding by 51.70 percent its P224.548 million full-year income in 2017.

“The overwhelming interest by offshore firms in financial technology solutions and crypto currency trading wanting to locate at the Cagayan Special Economic Zone has surpassed all our expectations,” Lambino said, adding inquiries about the CEZA project are mounting every day.

“It’s only the end of the second-quarter, and we have already exceeded our target for the entire twelve months of last year,” he added, referring to the P116.077 million increase over CEZA’s 2017 income of P224.548 million, mostly from online gaming operations.

Lambino said the P205.976 million income from FinTech firms planning to conduct offshore virtual currency exchange, initial coin offering (ICO), blockchain development and financial technology solutions at the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport, among others, only cover their application and license fees as principal licensees.

He said CEZA stands to earn P3.6 billion from an initial batch of 25 principal licensees, including their investment commitment of one million dollars each but excluding the 0.1 percent shares from every transaction value generated from the offshore virtual currency exchange services.

Aside from giving CEZA a new source of income, Lambino said the FinTech operations would also initially create more than 20,000 new jobs for high-paying and highly-skilled IT (information technology) employees plus the needed highly technical and managerial positions.

He said twelve of the 17 Fintech and OVC (offshore virtual currency) firms, led by Golden Millennial Quickpay, have fully paid their application and license fees as Principal Licensees, five paid their application fees and 19 more have already signed up to bring to 39 the registry total.

The first three FinTech and OVC principal licensees are Golden Millennial Quickpay, Ultra Precise Investment Ltd. and Liannet Technology Ltd., the last of which is set for a high-level marketing launch on Thursday with participants from China, Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia.

Lambino, who concurrently serves as Presidential Adviser for Northern Luzon, said CEZA would authorize principal licensees to operate in its designated offices in Metro Manila but they will have to course all trading transactions of digital assets through LR Data, its accredited cyber park located in Sta. Ana, Cagayan.

He said the back offices of all FinTech firms will eventually be installed in Sta. Ana after a two-year incubation period at a 10-hectare property that would be developed as a modern FinTech hub that could rival the best in Asia.

The others that have already paid the required fees are Formosa Financial Holdings, Sino-Phil Economic Zone Agency Development and Management Corp., Asia-Pacific Intl. Ltd., Hongkong Yuen Shing-Hong Ltd., Tanzer Inc. and Rare Earth.

Also in the list that have paid their applications are BitVentures Inc., Rare Earth Asia Technologies Corp., I-Dragon Science Development Corp., CR8TIV Solutions, Seryna Coin Metrics Inc., and BCB Global Trading Corp. Ltd.