FINANCE Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III is optimistic the government will start hitting its revenue targets toward the end of this year as he expects the country’s economy to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dominguez on Monday said the Philippines has a “very resilient economy” and the government had a strong financial position when it entered the health crisis.
Moreover, Dominguez said the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law and the fuel marking program helped the government raise revenues.
“By the last quarter of this year, we expect to start hitting the targets on our revenues. You know, we have a very resilient economy. You have to remember that we entered this virus situation with very strong finances. We conducted a series of tax reforms, which boosted our revenues, as well as our credit rating, which incidentally, our credit rating has not been affected by this virus,” he said in an interview with CNBC.
He said the rice tariffication law also “moderated” the country’s inflation rate.
“So our tax administration has also improved greatly. And we did all of this, because we were doing our ‘Build, Build, Build’ program, which, incidentally, we are continuing, but this year these reforms helped us weather the financial impact of this Covid virus,” he added.
Last year, the government had to significantly revise downward its revenue targets given the economic impact of Covid-19-induced lockdowns.
To recall, the government had cut the combined collection target of Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) for 2020 to P2.187 trillion, down by 32.8 percent from the original revenue goal of P3.255 trillion.
For 2020, BIR and BOC collected a total of P2.43 trillion, or 11.23 percent above the downgraded revised collection goal.
Dominguez earlier said the country’s emerging budget deficit last year was P1.36 trillion or 7.5 percent of the government’s projected GDP.
While this is slightly below the government’s projected budget deficit for the year at P1.38 trillion or 7.6 percent of GDP, this is also a new record high and more than double the country’s budget deficit in 2019, which only stood at 3.4 percent of GDP or P660.2 billion.
A budget deficit occurs when expenditures exceed revenues.
In the same interview, Dominguez said the government hopes to vaccinate majority or 57 million to 60 million Filipinos by the end of this year given the initial doses of vaccines are scheduled to arrive in February.
As for the remaining 13 million people whom he said also need to be vaccinated, Dominguez has since explained that the NG expects them to be covered by local government units and the private sector, noting that there may also be those who don’t want to be vaccinated.
He reiterated that the national government has allocated P82.5 billion for the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines this year.