Business World


- — Beatrice M. Laforga

from value-added tax (VAT), based on 75 million doses of vaccines priced at P1,545 each.

Importers applying for the Mabuhay Lane perks would have to pay a filing fee of at least P200 for imports worth at least P100,000 and up to P1,000 for imports valued at more than P1 million.

Finance Undersecre­tary Antonette C. Tionko, head of the Revenue Operations Group, recommende­d the inclusion of COVID-19 vaccine imports in the Mabuhay Lane, “regardless of the applicable legal basis… to allow for the expedited processing of the tax and exemption of such applicatio­ns.”

The Finance secretary is allowed to include more sectors that may be processed at the Mabuhay Lane under a Department Order No. 54-2000, issued in December 2000.

“We add that the Mabuhay Lane currently processes all Relief Consignmen­t under Section 120 in relation to 121 of the Customs Modernizat­ion and Tariff Act (CMTA). The Lane is expected to process all COVID-19 vaccines which may qualify as relief consignmen­t,” she said, referring to goods donated to the government.

Under CMTA’s Section 121, relief consignmen­t imported during a state of calamity and intended for the use of calamity victims will be exempted from the payment of duties and taxes.

Presidenti­al Spokespers­on Herminio “Harry” L. Roque, Jr. on Thursday said 600,000 doses of Sinovac Biotech’s vaccines will arrive on Sunday, paving the way for the rollout of the government’s vaccinatio­n program the next day (Read related story “COVID -19 vaccinatio­n drive may start next week” on S1/11).

The Philippine­s is the last country in Southeast Asia to take initial delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, even as it has the secondhigh­est number of cases.

Economists warned that the slow vaccine rollout and continued quarantine restrictio­ns will hurt the Philippine­s’ recovery this year.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday rejected the proposal of the economic team to ease further the lockdown restrictio­ns until the vaccinatio­n program starts.

In light of this, Acting Socioecono­mic Planning Secretary Kendrick Karl T. Chua said the Developmen­t Budget Coordinati­on Committee will be reviewing its current economic forecasts and targets.

The government aims to grow by 6.5-7.5% this year from last year’s 9.5% contractio­n which was the worst on record.

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