Qatar realty firm explores leasing Philippine islands: officials

Al Nitaq explores opportunity for eco-zones and tourist destinations

Gulf News

Manila: Representatives of a Qatar-based real estate firm will be in Manila in December to explore expansion in Asia, officials said.

Executives of Al Nitaq, a Qatar-based real estate company that offers apartments and villas to expatriates, intend to lease different islands in the Philippines to set up agroforestry and agro-industrial zones, energy centres, and tourist destinations, Charito Plaza, Director General of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) told Gulf News.

“The Shaikh of Qatar has pushed the real estate company to take advantage of the Philippines’ strong economic growth and attractive investment scheme,” said Plaza.

The arrival of the Qatar-based businessmen has inspired PEZA to offer lease agreements with investors who want to build landmark areas of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Tokyo on Philippine islands, said Plaza, adding her office is preparing for an international roadshow for this kind of “new investment in tourism”.

PEZA has asked the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) to finish a map that will identify the 7,500 Philippines islands, said Plaza, adding, “This will help the Philippine government identify islands where foreign investors can build economic zones, industrial cities, and tourist destinations.”

PEZA incentives include tax holiday of four to eight years; five per cent tax of gross income (21 per cent of which go to local governments where zones are based); free importation; tax-free custom duties for spare parts; and foreign investors’ multiple visa, said Plaza.

Leasing

The arrival of representatives of the Qatar-based real estate company was finalised when Plaza participated in the Philippines’ property investment show at the Splash Water Park in Katara, Qatar on October 28, said Mel Cortez, of PEZA’s information centre.

Earlier, Plaza told Gulf News that her office has been holding talks with real estate business entities in the UAE. She did not give further details.

Apart from PEZA’s plan, since 1992, the Philippine government has been leasing for commercial use, through the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), the  Clark Air Base, a 244.3 square mile government property in Angeles, Pampanga, central Luzon; and the Subic Naval Base, a 262 square mile government property (the size of Singapore) in Olongapo, Zambales, also in central Luzon.

Clark was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Pinatubo volcano in the Zambales Range in June 1991. The Philippine Senate rejected the US-proposed 10-year extension of the now defunct US-Philippine Military Bases Agreement (MBA) in September 1991. This resulted in the closure of the Subic Naval Base.

The Philippines is proud of the 25.78 square kilometre Bonifacio Global City in Metro Manila’s suburban of Taguig — a successful urban conversion that began in 1995.

It was built on the site of the former Fort William McKinley which the US government took possession of in a 100 hectare territory in the early 1900s. It still houses the Philippine Army, the Southern Police District, and the marine base of the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Marine Corps.

For information on the real estate sector, within the UAE, please visit our sister site, GNProperty.com.

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