Friday, August 23, 2019

City to cut market entrance fee

LOWERING FEES. Cebu City Councilor Margot Osmeña presides over a budget hearing with some department heads. (SunStar photo/Amper Campaña)

SO THAT vendors will not increase their prices, the Cebu City Government will lower entrance fees by up to 50 percent in all City-owned public markets.

Mayor Tomas Osmeña wrote about the matter in a Facebook post dated Nov. 5.

The pronouncement also came 13 days after the City Council approved a measure lowering the entrance fees of several commodities, including rice, meat, fish, chicken, fruits and vegetables.

Under the new Section 11.5 of City Ordinance 2486, or the City Market Code, a market entrance fee will be collected from transient vendors and/or consignees of any commodity or merchandise, brought into the premises of public markets owned and operated by the City, for sale.

“To help combat the increasing price of goods, the City Government will be reducing the vendor market entrance fees in all Cebu City-owned market spaces by up to 50 percent. By doing this, vendors will not have to raise their prices to compensate for the increasing cost of goods. We will absorb the costs so they don’t have to be passed on to you,” wrote Osmeña.

Councilor Alvin Arcilla, chairman of the committee on markets and author of the amendatory ordinance, said that just like his approved measure, the mayor’s move is in response to the letter-requests of some vendor associations to lower the rates.

But how will this affect the funding of the P8.1 billion proposed budget of the City next year?

According to Assistant City Administrator Annabeth Cuizon, market revenues are not part of the City’s general fund proper.

This would mean that whatever income is generated from all City-owned markets will go back to the market’s operations.

“The market income is for the market only,” Cuizon said.

Aside from reducing the entrance fees, the City Government will also soon start a program that will help the public save more, Osmeña said.

“We will ship produce directly from farms around the country and sell them at cost in Cebu. By doing this, we can hopefully help people who are looking to lower their daily expenses,” he added.

Meanwhile, the City is expected to increase its tax collection next year to fund a portion of the annual budget for 2019.

For 2019, the executive department of the City is proposing an P8.1 billion annual budget.

The Local Finance Committee has identified a total of P3.5 billion in local taxes that will be collected by the City Treasurer’s Office (CTO) as part of the sources of the 2019 annual budget.

The target collection of local taxes next year is higher compared to the P3.1 billion actual and estimated collection this year.

The bulk of the expected local tax collection of the CTO by 2019 is from the business taxes, which are expected to reach close to P2 billion.

It is higher compared to the P1.7 billion actual and estimated business tax collection this year.

CTO is also expected to collect around P1.1 billion in real property tax next year, which is higher than the actual and estimated collection this year, which is at P1 billion only.

The City’s collection in other local taxes next year is expected to reach P382 million.

Apart from the local taxes, the Local Finance Committee also identified non-tax revenue, like the collection of regulatory fees, service and user charges and other income amounting to some P1.1 billion, as other sources of fund.

During the budget hearing Monday, Nov. 5, City Treasurer Veronica Morelos said they are confident that they can meet their target as they will continue to intensify their tax collections including the effort to go after those who are tax delinquents.

The CTO now has yet to estimate the collection they will get out of the tax delinquents.

By 2019, the City is also expected to receive a P1 billion share from the Joint Venture Agreement with Filinvest Land Inc., which is also part of the sources of funds. (RTF, RVC)


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