Thu. Sep 23rd, 2021

MANILA – Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has dismissed as an option a supplemental budget to finance the government’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response.

In a briefing Wednesday, Dominguez said “we have been very careful about asking for (a) supplemental budget because actually, we don’t have supplemental revenue.”

“So we will strive to live within the PHP4.1-trillion budget this year and so far, we’ve been okay. It’s difficult because we have to reallocate from past priorities to new priorities but that’s the reality of the situation,” he said.

Aside from re-allocated budget and government savings, Dominguez said they are also in talks with multilateral agencies and have bilateral discussions to help finance the additional expenditures.

“We are continuing negotiating our financing packages from three multilateral agencies and we are making very good progress with ADB (Asian Development Bank), WB (World Bank) and AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank),” he said.

The government has inked a loan agreement with the ADB that allows the current administration to access up to USD1.5 billion in budgetary support to enhance its ability to finance measures targeted to address the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Also, the government has signed a USD100-million loan agreement with WB for its Covid-19 response program.

Dominguez said authorities are also in talks with their counterparts from Japan, Korea, China, and France for “project-based bilateral financing”, with the pact from France amounting to between USD200-USD300 million.

He said they are also thankful for the help from various sectors to improve the government’s Covid-19 response.

On Wednesday, Dominguez and Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa held a ceremonial turnover for the PNP’s PHP228.445-million donation for the government’s Covid-19 response.

In terms of revenues, Dominguez said income tax collections, for one, will have the same trend although collections have been delayed because of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

The law has set the deadline for the filing of income tax returns (ITRs) on April 15 of every year.

However, the Department of Finance has postponed this, both for individuals and corporations, until June 14, 2020 because of the various levels of quarantines nationwide.

The deadline for the filing of other documents like audited financial statements and quarterly value added tax (VAT) returns have also been postponed.

For revenues from sin taxes, Dominguez said these will definitely go down because of the liquor ban and the prohibition for manufacturing of cigarettes for domestic consumption during the community quarantines. (IA/PNA)

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