Zu­biri backs ac­tion on ‘non-in­fla­tion­ary’ tax re­form

Business World - - Theeconomy - Char­maine A. Tadalan

SE­NATE Ma­jor­ity Leader Juan Miguel F. Zu­biri said the Depart­ment of Fi­nance (DoF) needs to fo­cus on tax mea­sures that will have min­i­mal in­fla­tion­ary im­pact.

“I think we should sus­tain the mo­men­tum in con­tain­ing in­fla­tion be­fore we tackle an­other tax pro­posal that would scare in­vestors or cause in­vestors to pull out,” Mr. Zu­biri said in a brief­ing on Thurs­day.

The re­marks come af­ter Se­nate Pres­i­dent Vi­cente C. Sotto III said that the sec­ond pack­age of the Com­pre­hen­sive Tax Re­form Pro­gram (CTRP) is not among the pri­or­ity mea­sures of the cham­ber in the 17th Congress, which ends on June 7.

Mr. Zu­biri pro­posed to put off Pack­age 2, which will cut cor­po­rate in­come tax rates and stream­line in­cen­tives, and in­stead pass other pack­ages of the CTRP.

“We are ap­peal­ing to the Depart­ment of Fi­nance to study first this mea­sure. We can pass the other mea­sures like TRAIN (Tax Re­form for Ac­cel­er­a­tion and In­clu­sion) 3 and 4 that are not in­fla­tion­ary,” he said.

Pack­age 3 of the CTRP seeks to cen­tral­ize val­u­a­tion and as­sess­ment of real prop­er­ties; while Pack­age 4 will sim­plify cap­i­tal in­come and fi­nan­cial in­ter­me­di­ary tax­a­tion.

The sen­a­tor also cited Pack­age 1B, the Gen­eral Tax Amnesty bill, which is pend­ing sec­ond read­ing in the Se­nate and is set to be in­tro­duced to the ple­nary at the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives when it re­sumes ses­sion on Nov. 12.

Sought for com­ment, Fi­nance Un­der­sec­re­tary Karl Ken­drick T. Chua said is a sep­a­rate press brief­ing the “first thing I’ll do next week is to ap­proach them to see how much we can move it to­gether,” re­fer­ring to Se­na­tors Sotto and Zu­biri.

De­spite the lack of sup­port, Mr. Chua re­mained pos­i­tive the en­act­ment of the sec­ond pack­age still stands a chance within the 17th Congress.

“This year I think it’s very dif­fi­cult, but I think within this Congress the chances are still good,” he said.

He noted that while he does not see the mea­sure hur­dling Se­nate by year’s end, he hopes it can at least get ap­proval at the com­mit­tee level.

“It would be good if it passes out of com­mit­tee this year, which I would con­sider good progress,” he said.

Mr. Chua said con­cerns of the busi­ness sec­tor over un­cer­tainty brought about by the tax mea­sure are due to its progress through the leg­is­la­ture rather than the bill’s con­tents.

“A lot of in­vestors are wait­ing for this bill to pass and that is for them the num­ber one un­cer­tainty; it’s not the con­tents of the bill. It’s just that if it is not passed, they do not know what the fi­nal in­cen­tive pack­age will be,” he said. —

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