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BOC still tallying collections for ’12

By: Jerry E. Esplanada, January 8th, 2013 02:26 PM

Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Customs has yet to disclose the Department of Finance-attached agency’s total revenue collections for 2012.

Asked why, BOC Commissioner Ruffy Biazon on Tuesday explained “the figures are still being finalized.”

In a text message, Biazon also told the INQUIRER “some collections from various ports nationwide are still coming in.”

He was referring to, among others, the major ports of Manila and Cebu, as well as the Manila International Container Port.

But some agency insiders, citing the BOC’s preliminary collection report, have disclosed the bureau failed to meet its 2012 collection target of a little over P347 billion.

So far, agency collections totaled only close to P288 billion, or a shortfall of nearly P60 billion, they said.

However, the same sources pointed out that the collections are already higher by over P22.5 billion than the 2011 revenues, which totaled P265.1 billion.

Biazon earlier described as “stretched” the Bureau of Customs’ collection target for 2012.

The goal was “increased by almost 30 percent compared  to 2011 … So while we missed the target during the first 11 months of 2012, it’s really because it was high to begin with,” he said.

Late last year, a study conducted by the House of Representatives’ Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department disclosed that the BOC would most likely miss its revenue collection target for 2012.

Citing the bureau’s collection figures during the first seven months of that year, the CPBRD said the BOC was expected to raise only P290 billion.

With a 2013 collection target of P397 billion, the BOC head said this year would be a “more challenging year” for agency personnel.

Despite the bureau’s repeated appeals to the Development Budget Coordination Committee, which sets collection targets for top revenue-generating agencies like the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the BOC, the latter’s target this year “has been retained,” noted Biazon.

That is why, he stressed the need to “explore other means to cover the gap between our revenue performance in 2012 and our 2013 target.”

The BOC is considering implementing, among other revenue-raising measures, an amnesty program for imported vehicles with unpaid duties and taxes.

“For that alone, our rough estimate is about P500 million (in additional revenues),” said Biazon.

Despite the bureau’s revenue collection woes, he expressed confidence BOC officials and employees would “outperform themselves, not only in revenue collection, but also in trade facilitation and our intensified campaign against smuggling.”

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