CITIRA un­likely to be passed in March

Business World - - Front Page - — Char­maine A. Tadalan and Beatrice M. Laforga

THE MEA­SURE low­er­ing the cor­po­rate in­come tax and stream­lin­ing fis­cal in­cen­tives is not likely to hur­dle the Se­nate be­fore the March 13 ad­journ­ment, ac­cord­ing to the Se­nate pres­i­dent, even as the Ex­ec­u­tive branch pressed the cham­ber for prompt ac­tion on the key tax re­form.

“Mal­abo ’yung CITIRA (Cor­po­rate In­come Tax and In­cen­tives Ra­tion­al­iza­tion Act) at PIFITA (Pas­sive In­come and

Fi­nan­cial In­ter­me­di­ary Tax­a­tion Act),” Se­nate Pres­i­dent Vi­cente C. Sotto III said in a ra­dio in­ter­view aired on Thurs­day.

Mr. Sotto said Senator Ju­liana Pi­lar S. Cayetano, chair of the Ways and Means com­mit­tee, dis­cussed the tax re­form mea­sures dur­ing a Se­nate cau­cus.

“Si­nasabi niya sa amin ’yung mga in­tri­ca­cies, me­dyo maram­ing ques­tions (She told us the in­tri­ca­cies, there are many ques­tions),” he said.

Mr. Sotto said the Se­nate lead­er­ship is sched­uled to meet with the Ex­ec­u­tive de­part­ment on Mon­day even­ing (Feb. 17), and later with Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Car­los G. Dominguez III on Wednesday (Feb. 19).

“Sig­uro matata­lakay din namin ‘yan (Maybe we can also tackle this),” he added.

The De­part­ment of Fi­nance (DoF) re­cently came out with a news­pa­per ad­ver­tise­ment that

quoted Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo R. Duterte’s fourth State of the Na­tion Ad­dress (SoNA) on July 22, 2019, in an ap­par­ent pub­lic plea to the Se­nate.

“I im­plore Congress to im­me­di­ately pass Pack­age 2 of the Com­pre­hen­sive Tax Re­form Pro­gram, which will grad­u­ally lower cor­po­rate in­come taxes, and im­prove fis­cal in­cen­tives,” the ad, which was pub­lished in the Feb. 11 is­sue of The Philip­pine Star, read in part.

Sought for comment, Fi­nance As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary An­to­nio Joselito G. Lam­bino II ex­plained the news­pa­per ad forms part of its in­for­ma­tion drive.

“We are do­ing all we can to sup­port our leg­isla­tive cham­pi­ons. This in­cludes var­i­ous forms of en­gage­ment — me­dia in­ter­views, ex­plain­ers, briefers, speak­ing at pub­lic events, face-to-face meet­ings. We also pro­vide leg­is­la­tors and their staff data and anal­y­sis on our tax re­form pack­ages upon re­quest,” Mr. Lam­bino said in a phone mes­sage, Wednesday.

The Se­nate ver­sion of the mea­sure is still be­ing fi­nal­ized by the com­mit­tee; while its coun­ter­part, House Bill No. 4157 was ap­proved on Sept. 13, 2019. Ms. Cayetano on Wednesday said she is close to spon­sor­ing the mea­sure in the ple­nary, but no time­line was given.

Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Car­los G. Dominguez III ear­lier said he ex­pects the CITIRA to be passed into law by March.

The gov­ern­ment is hop­ing the CITIRA will spur more for­eign in­vest­ments in the coun­try, as it pro­poses to cut cor­po­rate in­come tax to 20% from the cur­rent 30%.

How­ever, the un­cer­tainty over the bill’s pro­vi­sions on tax in­cen­tives has been iden­ti­fied as one of the rea­sons for slow­ing for­eign in­vest­ments.

For­eign di­rect in­vest­ments fell by 29.9% to $6.413 bil­lion in the Jan­uary to Novem­ber pe­riod last year. Data pro­vided by Philip­pine Eco­nomic Zone Au­thor­ity showed that ap­proved in­vest­ments in 2019 dropped 16.19% to P117.54 bil­lion, from P140.24 bil­lion in 2018.

The Se­nate panel is also cur­rently de­lib­er­at­ing on the pro­posed PIFITA, in an at­tempt to meet the Fi­nance De­part­ment’s year-end tar­get for its pas­sage.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.