The robust growth in the construction industry has made a Japanese cement manufacturing company based in San Fernando town south of Cebu to expand its capacity by 15 percent this year investing at least $3 million or P150 million.

In an interview last Friday, Taiheiyo Cement Philippines, Inc. president and chief executive officer Satoshi Asami said their existing capacity is 1.5 million tons every year, which is 103 percent more than their capacity in 2011.

With their expansion, Asami said their capacity by middle of 2014 should be 150 percent more than their level two years ago.

The Philippines' total demand for cement is 18.4 million tons a year, 117 percent higher than the demand in 2011, which he said is fueled mostly by public and commercial construction.

"In the last two years, our company has already poured in P250 million in investment and we expect to invest an additional $10 million in the next two years to cater to the growing demand of cement in the country," he said.

According to Asami, the country's fast-growing economy, aggressive investments from government and private sectors on infrastructure, the positive image of the country in the global investment community aided by the positive ratings from rating organization like Moody's will fuel more growth in construction; and so, create more demand for cement.

"We aim to help in the development by making cement available that is why we are embarking on the expansions now."


Asami, however, said that the Philippines can do better if only the conditions for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) are improved.

He said there are so many areas in the investment policies that the government can improve that will encourage more foreign investors to come and invest their money in the Philippines.

Areas like taxation, support system, customs policies, security and more should be stabilized according to Asami in order to get the same level of FDIs as Vietnam and Indonesia.

"I have been in Vietnam for two years and they are fast developing because of the FDIs. The Philippines can also get the same with a more improved investment policy. Vietnam and Indonesia should be the benchmark," he said.

Asami said that Cebu is among the fastest-growing markets for their products and should continue to be so with many investments from outsourcing, retail, accommodations and more coming here.