June 13, 2019
FINANCE department officials were directed to actively engage with new lawmakers who will assume office when the 18th Congress opens on July 22 to speed up the approval of the agency’s priority measures.
“We have to improve our engagement with the legislature, and we have to get it more organized. We have to get our tax-reform packages passed by the end of this year,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd was quoted in a statement released by his department on Wednesday.
These packages are Package 2, also known as House Bill 8083 or the “Tax Reform for Attracting Better and Higher-quality Opportunities” (Trabaho) measure, which aims to lower corporate income taxes from 30 percent to 20 percent in 10 years and rationalize fiscal incentives; Package 3, which institutes reforms in the property valuation system; and Package 4, which rationalizes capital income taxation.
The first package, Republic Act 10963 or the “Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion” (Train) Act — which reduced personal income taxes and raised excise taxes on selected items, including automobiles, petroleum products and sugar-sweetened beverages — was implemented at the start of 2018.
Dominguez also instructed the officials to hasten the full implementation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and the fuel-marking program, and to assist in the proper implementation of RA 11203 or the Philippine Rice Tarrification Act.
He also directed them to study the feasibility of liberalizing imports of certain agricultural products, including sugar; the government’s plan to buy the stake of the
Philippine Stock Exchange in the Philippine Dealing System Holdings Corp.; the privatization of the United Coconut Planters Bank; strengthening disaster-risk financing programs to help communities become climate-resilient; the future of the Al-Amanah Bank under a new Bangsamoro region; and the transfer of the Credit Information Corp. to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
The Finance chief also listed the department’s other legislative priorities: increasing tax collections by, among others, collecting the right amount of taxes from Philippine offshore gaming operators and their foreign employees; ensuring that the Bureau of the Treasury is functioning well; privatizing idle state assets; collecting unpaid obligations due the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.; and further increasing the dividend contributions of government-owned and -controlled corporations.
For his part, Finance Undersecretary and Chief Economist Gil Beltran was said to have cited the Warehouse Receipts bill as another priority measure to help expand the access of farmers to credit and improve the ease of doing business in the rural sector.
Finance Assistant Secretary Antonio Lambino 2nd, meanwhile, mentioned the completion and full implementation of the National Single Window to facilitate trading and speed up the processing of regulatory requirements here and with the country’s regional neighbors.
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