The Duterte economic team has slashed the Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) target collection of import duties and other taxes for 2020 to P706.9 billion in light of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on external trade.

In a text message on Thursday (April 30), Assistant Customs Commissioner Vincent Philip C. Maronilla said the Cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) in March reduced the Customs collection target for 2020 by at least P50 billion.

Maronilla said the adjustment took into consideration “macroeconomic assumptions into the effect of COVID-19.”

The Inquirer earlier learned that the DBCC reduced growth projections for merchandise exports to 0.5 percent from 4 percent and for goods imports to 3 percent from 8 percent.

Budget Undersecretary Laura B. Pascua had explained that the revised but preliminary exports growth target for this year “was due to both the reduction of global growth as well as the high dependence of our exports on China.”

Pascua attributed the gloomier imports outlook to reduction of projected 2020 GDP growth from 6 to 7 percent “to a worst case of negative 1 percent to zero and lower global oil prices.”

At the weekend, the Department of Finance (DOF) reported initial data showing that Customs collections by mid-April was P160.9 billion, down 2.1 percent from P164.4 billion in 2019 and 17 percent below the P193.9 billion target.

In the first half of April, Customs take reached P15.6 billion, down 30.9 percent from 2019’s P22.5 billion and lower by 42.8 percent from the P27.2 billion target.

In 2019, Customs collection was a record-high P630.3 billion.

The DBCC had also reduced Bureau of Internal Revenue target to P2.26 trillion from P2.576 trillion.

Combined collection of the BIR and Customs as of mid-April reached P641.6 billion, which was 40 percent below target of P1.1 trillion.

The DBCC had projected 2020 tax and non-tax revenues to amount to P3.173 trillion, barely up from P3.138 trillion in 2019 and lower than the original P3.492-trillion program for 2020.

Edited by TSB


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