De Venecia to tell IMF: No new taxes

By Norman Bordadora
Last updated 01:32am (Mla time) 07/29/2007

MANILA, Philippines—Speaker Jose de Venecia on Saturday reiterated the commitment he made earlier that the House of Representatives would not pass new tax measures and to guarantee this, he would tell no less than the head of the International Monetary Fund about his agenda.


De Venecia is scheduled to meet with IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato on Tuesday to discuss the government’s implementation of tax reform measures. De Rato is the first IMF top executive to visit the country in more than a decade.


“The government must raise new revenues not by imposing more taxes but by extracting greater zeal and efficiency from our revenue agencies, and by tightening up on stand-alone incentives to business,” De Venecia said in a statement.


“There should be a full mobilization of collection in the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue by dramatically reducing smuggling,” he said.


A few years ago, the IMF had asked the Philippines to come up with new taxes to raise enough revenue. This contributed greatly to the recent passage of the Expanded Value-Added Tax law.


De Venecia said he would formally inform the IMF managing director that no new tax measures would be enacted by the government at this time.


The Speaker’s statement came in the wake of a warning of a possible credit rating downgrade from Hong Kong-based Fitch because of a recent shortfall in government revenues.


De Venecia said a high-powered economic team from the House would join him in the meeting with De Rato.


De Venecia said it was De Rato who requested the meeting to get “first-hand knowledge of the recent success with reforms, as well as to discuss how the IMF can be supportive of the Philippines going forward.”


Joining De Venecia at the meeting will be Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, Quirino Rep. Junie Cua and Antique Rep. Exequiel Javier.


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