A BUSINESS chamber has recognized the need for local government units (LGUs) in Negros Occidental to initiate immediate interventions in order to keep the economy afloat through one, preserving jobs and creating news ones.
Frank Carbon, chief executive officer of Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), reaffirmed the need to mitigate the impacts of the lockdown and steer the local economy.
"If we go under water it will be much harder to revive the economy," he added.
So, the business has laid down measures that can be done for the rest of the year which include passing a tax amnesty ordinance.
Carbon earlier told SunStar Bacolod that the measure will generate the much-needed cash and give reprieve to a much-burdened populace.
The MBCCI has recommended such move to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Bacolod through the office of Councilor Al Victor Espino, chair of the committee on ways and means.
Under the proposed tax amnesty ordinance, those who were not able to pay their real property tax (RPT) for 2019 and previous years have the option to pay on or before July 31, 2020, without surges and penalties.
The group suggested that those who were not able to pay their first quarter due March 31, 2020 and second quarter due June 30, 2020 have the option to pay on or before July 31 this year without surcharges and penalties.
Those who would like to pay in full their 2020 RPT will enjoy a 10 percent discount provided they will pay in full before July 31 this year, it added.
In terms of business tax, the MBCCI recommended that those who were not able to pay their 2019 and previous years' business tax have the option to pay in full on or before July 31, 2020 without surcharges and penalties.
For those who were not able to process and pay their business tax due on January 20, April 20 and July 20, 2020 have the option to pay on or before July 31, 2020 without surcharges and penalties.
Also, the chamber recommended that those who were able to process their business tax and paid on January 20, 2020 but were not able to pay their April and July 2020 have the option to pay on or before July 31, 2020 without surcharges and penalties.
In a related development, the City Council passed an ordinance extending the payment deadline of all local taxes and fees.
Based on the approved ordinance, the deadline of payments of all taxes, fees and charges imposed by the city for the succeeding quarters of the year 2020 is extended without surcharges, interests or penalties.
The deadline of payment is supposed to be on April 20, 2020 for second quarter; July 20, 2020 – third quarter; October 20, 2020 – fourth quarter.
Through the ordinance, the deadline is extended until June 25, 2020 for the second quarter payment; August 20, 2020 – third quarter; and November 20, 2020 – fourth quarter.
For the business chamber, however, the deadline for payment of business tax is a good move but it's better if the city government could prepare a bundle of measures to mitigate the adverse effects of the quarantine due to coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Other measures that the group is urging LGUs to initiate are amending the curfew ordinance to increase the night business hours. For Bacolod City, it should be 12 midnight instead of the 10 p.m.
Carbon reiterated the need to provide micro grants and market space to micro businesses like rolling stores, night market and weekend market.
Food-for-work program, restarting infrastructure projects, passing anti-hoarding ordinance and price freeze ordinance on rice, fish, vegetables and meat, among other staple food, and distribution of food packs for the most vulnerable sector are also seen to help steer the local economy.
Carbon said there's a need to take advantage of the liquidity support from government banks to build up labor intensive industries and those that have export potential.
"The goal of these interventions is to prop-up the fast declining purchasing power of the populace and to keep the economy afloat," he added.