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Fintech venture helps Ceza address deficit, pay taxes

By: Elijah Felice Rosales

THE venture into financial technology (fintech) is proving to be a right move for the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza), as it was able to turn around its deficit from last year and pay its taxes of P83 million after three quarters.

Ceza Administrator and CEO Raul L. Lambino said on Friday that his agency has paid a sum of P83.31 million to the Bureau of Internal Revenue for its January to September taxes. This, he added, was “a huge turnaround for the agency that went into deficit in 2017.”

The Ceza incurred a net loss of P64.92 million last year after surrendering its major revenue stream from online gaming. Under Lambino, the agency ventured into attracting fintech firms to operate in its economic zone.

“The idea of setting up the first cryptocurrency and blockchain technology center in the country has paid off handsomely,” Lambino said. “Financial technology is proving to be the new high tech of the future.”

Ceza’s revenue stands at P521.01 million after three quarters. This represents a 132-percent increase from its total revenue last year of P224.54 million.

Further, Lambino reiterated the Ceza will not rely on fintech firms alone to oil its revenue stream, as it expands its offering to industrial and tourism investments.

“Growth in the economic zone will be investment-driven. [The] Ceza will diversify,” the Ceza chief said.

The Ceza has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Shanghai Jucheng Supply Chain Management Group for the construction of a seaside integrated resort in Northern Luzon akin to South Korea’s tourism jewel, Jeju Island. The firm will invest $100 million over the next years to develop the tourist destination.

The Ceza also signed a $1-billion project with Eminova Asset Management Ltd. and Hunan Goke Maglev Technology Development Ltd. for the establishment of a manufacturing facility for magnetic levitation, or maglev, trains in Santa Ana, Cagayan. These trains are considered the world’s fastest.

In addition, Lambino said a large foreign firm is planning to build an integrated resort around the economic zone, while a top apparel brand is scouting for a site to set up its factory. The diversified investments, he estimated, could generate more than 50,000 jobs in the next five years.


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