15 business groups back tax reform bill

February 10, 2017 News

Big business and foreign chambers have expressed support for the Department of Finance's proposed bill aimed at bringing down personal income tax rates while increasing levy on consumption.

In a statement, the DOF said that 15 foreign and local business groups had said in a recent letter to Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea that "they believe the comprehensive tax reform program and the other economic reform measures they have recommended for swift approval by the legislature are all in line with the lo­point socioeconomic agenda of the Duterte administration."

Besides tax reform, the DOF quoted the letter of the Philippine Business Groups­Joint Foreign Chambers (PBG­JFC) as saying that their 11 other priority bills "will improve the country's investment climate, create more jobs, sustain the growth momentum and clear the way to economic inclusion."

The other pieces of legislation that the PBG­JFC were pushing included the following: lifting of the constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership limits; Bank Secrecy Law amendments; reforms in the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority's apprenticeship program; Build­Operate­Transfer Law amendments; passage of the Freedom of Information bill; Corporation Code amendments; reforms in the telecommunications sector; passage of the Water Sector Reform Act; Public Service Act amendments; the grant of emergency powers to address the traffic and transportation crises, and the Retail Trade Liberalization Act amendments.

"All constitute reforms that will improve the business and economic climate in the Philippines and result in more investments, jobs, and inclusive growth," according to the PBGJFC letter, a copy of which was received by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III.

The business groups wanted these priority legislation discussed during the next Legislative­Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) meeting.

The 15 business groups that signed the letter were: Alyansa Agrikultura, American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc., Australia­New Zealand Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc., Bankers Association of the Philippines, Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc., European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc., Financial Executives of the Philippines, Foundation for Economic Freedom, IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines, Japanese Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc., Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc., Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Inc., and Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc.

HB 4774, filed in the lower house in January, contained the DOF's proposal to lower personal income taxes, broaden the valueadded tax base by cutting down on exemptions, increase excise taxes on petroleum and automobiles, as well as reduce the estate and donors' tax rates, INQ

-“15 business groups back tax reform bill” of Philippine Daily Inquirer ny Ben O. de Vera