THE National Economic Development Board (Neda) Board approved the reduction to zero the tariff for gypsum and anhydrite, which are used for cement and plaster board production. Currently, the tariff for both construction materials is 3 percent.
“With the reduction in tariffs, we anticipate a decrease in production cost and an improvement in the industry’s competitiveness as we ramp up our infrastructure drive,” Neda Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said in a news briefing at Malacañan Palace.
According to Balisacan, the Neda Board chaired by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. made the endorsement during its meeting last Thursday.
The measure, Balisacan said, is part of the administration’s “aggressive advance in infrastructure development in order to enable social and economic transformation and support the attainment of our development goals in the medium term.”
Also part of the said initiative was the Board’s confirmation of the proposed executive order (EO) that will enable the expeditious processing of licenses, clearances, permits, certifications and authorizations for the government’s infrastructure flagship projects (IFPs).
“The primary goal of this proposed EO is to minimize, if not, eliminate delays in the implementation of IFPs,” Balisacan said.
“The simplified requirements will be applicable to both pending and new applications within the NEDA Board approved list of IFPs as well as any additions to the updated IFP list,” he added.
Balisacan said the draft EO is now being finalized and will soon be issued. He added the Neda and the Anti-Red Tape Authority (Arta) will establish a reporting framework for the implementation of the EO.
The Neda chief added that the Board also decided to reconstitute its Committee on Infrastructure to include the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Information and Communication Technology.
The NEDA Board also confirmed the proposed national government-local government unit (LGU) co-sharing schemes for financing infrastructure projects.
“This aims to delineate the roles of the national government [and] the LGUs particularly in resourceful areas or for resources may be needed to carry out the devolved functions and shared between the national government and LGUs,” Balisacan said.
In another matter, the Neda chief said the proposal of the government economic managers to reduce the tariff for rice from 35 percent to zero percent has yet to reach the level of the President.
The government’s chief socio-economic planner said the Neda Board will “have a meeting soon on that where we will present the options.”
The proposed measure aims to help stabilize the price of rice, however, it was heavily opposed by some lawmakers and groups since it can negatively affect the income of farmers.
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