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CEZA pays P83.3 M in taxes as of Sept

By: Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Manila Bulletin

State-owned Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) has paid P83.316 million in taxes to the Bureau of Internal Revenue for the first nine months this year, a huge turnaround for the agency that went into deficit in 2017.

Secretary Raul L. Lambino, administrator and CEO of the agency, said CEZA incurred a big net loss of P64.925 million in 2017 after losing its major revenues from online gaming.

The CEZA leadership went into new ventures, one of them the pioneering blockchain technology in the country that drove CEZA’s revenue earnings to P521.011 million after three quarters this year, Lambino, who took over the agency in mid-2017, said.

“The idea of setting up the first cyrptocurrency and blockchain technology center in the country has paid off handsomely,” Lambino said.

The agency’s current revenue earnings represent a hefty 132 percent increase from CEZA’s 2017 revenue of P224.548 million.

But CEZA, he said, will not only rely on Fintech companies’ regulatory fees and the huge revenues generated from agency shares in the cryptocurrency exchange trading and initial coin offering (ICO) of the digital tokens and other blockchain products.

“Growth in the economic zone will be investment-driven. CEZA will diversify,” he said. A major Chinese company, Shanghai Juncheng is building an integrated $100-million leisure resort in the economic zone that will feature luxury hotels, malls, duty-free shops and BPO offices.

Lambino secured this project during his recent investment campaign in China.

CEZA also got Hunan Goke Maglev Technology Ltd.’s commitment to set up a research and development (R&D) center in Santa Ana town for training and production line of model units.
Another large-scale foreign company is looking to build an integrated resort at the Cagayan Freeport while a leading global apparel and clothing company is already scouting for a site to set up its factory.

The diversified investments, Lambino said, could generate more than 50,000 job opportunities in the next five years.

The FDIs are expected to create a bullish market with the lowest foreign investment pegged at $1 million for Fintech operators alone, he said.

FDIs of companies that will secure a master licensor for online and land-based gaming is pegged at $100 million spread over 10 years in order to secure the establishment of the needed infrastructure, including hotels, theme parks and a golf course, among others.

Meanwhile, Lambino said two big foreign companies are all set to acquire the remaining two slots for a master license in online and land-based gaming, raising the possibility for a far larger annual revenue by the end of the year.

The offshore firms that are interested to operate an online and land-based gaming at the Zone would be required to pay more than P300 million in application and license fees alone not counting the multi-tiered shares from gross gaming revenues.

Photo credit to: Manila Bulletin


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