Diokno lists proposed measures to accelerate PH economic recovery – Manila Bulletin

On Wednesday August 17, the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance (DOF), Benjamin Diokno, listed the measures suggested by the agency to accelerate the country’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, underlining the agency’s support for the framework Medium Term Budget (MTFF) of the Marcos administration. ) and tax reforms on digital properties and assets.

DOF Secretary Benjamin Diokno speaks via Zoom during the House Ways and Means Committee hearing, Wednesday, August 17, 2022. (House of Representatives screenshot)

Diokno, who was governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) during former President Rodrigo Duterte’s tenure, praised the previous administration for “the strong macroeconomic fundamentals” it left behind.

However, he admitted that the “operating environment remains uncertain and challenging” due to the pandemic, inflation and the “unpredictable” global political economy.

“But we are fully prepared for the current risks and challenges,” Diokno told lawmakers during the House Ways and Means Committee hearing chaired by its chairman, Rep. Albay, Joey Salceda.

The CFO listed several measures proposed by the DOF.

These include: the Property Valuation and Valuation Reform Bill, the Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation (PIFITA) Bill, the imposition of the on value added (VAT) on digital goods and services and on single-use plastic bags, and streamlining the mining tax regime.

The DOF also supports the passage of the Military and Uniformed Personnel Pension Reform Bill, Capital Market Development Bill, Livestock Development and Competitiveness Bill and bills introducing amendments to the land bank and the charter of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp.

Diokno, who was appointed to the DOF by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., assured lawmakers that “the economic team is committed to implementing a medium-term fiscal framework.”

He noted that the MTFF “will serve as a blueprint for reducing the fiscal deficit, promoting fiscal sustainability and enabling robust economic growth.”

“The framework proposes measures that will improve tax administration, strengthen the fairness and efficiency of our tax system and promote environmental sustainability to combat climate change,” he said during his presentation to the panel. from the room.

During his first State of the Nation (SONA) address in July, Marcos stressed the need to digitize revenue collection, which Diokno agreed to as it “will boost our tax effort, improve tax administration and eliminate discretionary power”.

Meanwhile, the Treasury Secretary took the opportunity to thank lawmakers for passing critical tax reform laws in the previous 18th Congress.

“The tax reform laws you have enacted have propelled the Philippines into the company of the fastest growing economies in the world,” he asserted, sharing that the total tax contribution of the enacted tax reform measures is amounted to 575.7 billion pesos.

“When the pandemic hit and stunted our economic growth, these laws were a critical factor in maintaining fiscal sustainability. The Philippines’ strong macroeconomic fundamentals, bolstered by structural reforms, have enabled us to weather the harsh effects of the pandemic and chart a clear path to recovery,” Diokno added.

He said the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law had raised 476.1 billion pesos since 2018 and increased revenue to fund infrastructure, social and development programs. government health.

He also hailed the tax amnesty law for allowing “errant taxpayers to more cheaply settle their outstanding tax debts while providing the government with more revenue for its priority programs.”

From 2019 to 2021, total additional collections from the law reached 14.6 billion pesos, while excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco products generated a total of 85 billion pesos in additional revenue from 2020 to 2021.

Excise taxes, which were imposed to discourage the consumption of unhealthy products, provided funding for the country’s universal health care program.

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