By Chino S. Leyco
The Duterte administration’s economic managers are considering of further raising the Bureau of Customs’ collection target this year to a record P600 billion level, a ranking finance official said.
Finance Undersecretary Antoinette C. Tionko said the inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) is considering a P600 billion collection goal for the Customs bureau in 2018.
But Tionko, who head’s the DOF’s revenue cluster, was quick to clarify that the new figure was “tentative,” admitting P600 billion is “a bit high” for Customs, the government’s second largest revenue generating agency.
“That’s what the DBCC said,” Tionko said in an interview at the DOF headquarters referring to the P600 billion target. “But that’s tentative, there will be another DBCC meeting, and their computation continues,” she added.
Based on the DOF’s latest medium term revenue program submitted to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, the BOC is expected to generate P581.3 billion this year, higher by 29 percent against the emerging estimate for 2017 of P450.3 billion.
According to Tionko, the economic managers believe the Customs bureau has additional legroom to increase collections owing to the new measures under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN).
The finance official also pointed out that President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s economic team factored in the Customs’ 97.81 percent collection target attainment registered in 2017.
“That’s what I saw temporarily [on the DBCC report], but that’s a bit high. They based [the proposed target] on the tax measures, which is too hypothetical,” she said.
Asked if she will accept the P600 billion goal for Customs, Tionko said “I haven’t thought about it yet because we’re still compiling the 2017 data.”
Dominguez on Thursday said that preliminary data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed the Customs bureau already raised P457.63 billion in cash revenues last year, shy by only 2.1 percent to meet its full-year goal of P467.9 billion.
“The 2017 target is not low, Customs collections in the last four-months just accelerated because they’re very efficient and we have our revenue monitoring system here in the DOF,” Tionko said.
Under the department’s revenue monitoring scheme, the Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue are required to submit a weekly and detailed report about their collections to the DOF’s Revenue Operations Group headed by Tionko.
“It [collection report] is what they have to provide on a weekly basis and I manage it. They report and we monitor what they collect and where they’re weak. Before there was none, because they head of the revenue cluster before was not the head of the revenue operations,” Tionko said.
To ensure collection efficiency, Tionko said the DOF may soon issue a department order institutionalizing the revenue monitoring system.
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