Congress urged to fast track important economic measures

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014


THE Department of Finance (DOF) urged lawmakers on Wednesday to prioritize the passage of several important economic measures to increase government's revenue, as legislators start hearing the proposed national budget for 2015.

In Wednesday's hearing, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima told the House committee on appropriations that measures on fiscal incentive rationalization, tax incentive management and transparency, customs modernization and tariff, valuation reform, and fiscal regime for mining industry will highly address economic concerns of the government and private sectors.

Purisima said that the fiscal rationalization bill seeks to institute structural reforms and policy to enhance transparency and accountability in the grant and administration of tax incentives.

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Several bills on fiscal rationalization remain pending in the committee on ways and means in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Marikina City Representative Romero Quimbo, House committee on ways and means chairperson, said a consolidated fiscal rationalization bill might be approved in the committee level this August.

Purisima noted that a Tax Incentive Management and Transparency Act is needed to foster transparency and accountability in the grant of tax incentives and to institutionalize a system of monitoring and reporting tax expenditures.

He said that a monitoring and accountability mechanism through this bill will effectively account for the utilization of public funds, including those that are "spent" through the grant of tax incentives to businesses and activities.

The said bill is under deliberations in both houses of Congress.

Purisima also mentioned the importance of the passage the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, which aims to protect government revenue as well as promote and secure international trade and modernize customs and tariff administration by adopting customs policies, rules and procedures, which are clear, transparent and consistent with international agreements and customs best practices.

He added that the government also needs the Valuation Reform Act and Fiscal Regime for Mining industry.

The Valuation Reform Act, pending in the Senate committees on ways and means and local government and House committee on government reorganization, is seeking to institutionalize reforms in land and real property valuation, which will translate into improved real property and related taxes.

The Fiscal Regime for Mining Industry seeks to design a scheme, which adopts a single fiscal regime and a simple formula in determining the sharing arrangement.

Purisima said that the Mining Industry Coordinating Council has submitted the draft bill to the Presidential Legislative Office. (Sunnex)

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