Published : Saturday, May 26, 2012 00:00 [ manilatimes.net ]
Written by : MADELAINE MIRAFLOR REPORTER
The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) has restarted discussions with industry and investment stakeholders to address the current issues on the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).
PSE organized a public forum, where Sen, Edgardo Angara, author of Republic Act No. 9856 or the REIT Law, as well as representatives from the industry and investment community participated, to discuss the various issues on the REIT and confirm the benefits of the investment trust to the country.
“Based on the feedback that we received during the forum, as well as the various queries from potential REIT investors, we gathered that there is still overwhelming interest in investing in REITs in the Philippines,” PSE President and Chief Executive Officer Hans Sicat said.
He said that if they get the REIT listings going, they estimated that the Philippines could generate at least $2.4 billion in new investments from the private sector.
“It is quite unfortunate, however, that all the potential issuers have decided to defer their REIT plans indefinitely,” Sicat added.
The REIT law was passed in 2009 and its implementing rules issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) last year.
The interest in participating in the REIT from any of the industry players have been dampened by the stringent rules related to the minimum public ownership, as well as the imposition of value added tax or VAT and the requirement of escrow.
“While we understand the need of the national government to protect its revenue streams, we believe that over the long term, the benefits of the REIT to the whole economy will far outweigh its perceived negative short term effects on the government’s revenues,” Sicat said.
He said that the PSE believes that given the improved ratios of the country, any perceived reduction in upfront revenues should not significantly impact on the objectives of the government at the fiscal front.
“We hope we can find a reasonable middle ground that addresses the concerns of both sides,” Sicat added.