BOC misses September collection goal
The Bureau of Customs again fell short of its monthly collection target in September, staying further off track of its full-year revenue goal.
Nonetheless, collections for the month marked a double-digit pace of increase from a year ago on the back of latest measures attempting to reform the bureau, which has been highly criticized for corruption and its failure to curb smuggling.
The Department of Finance reported Thursday that the BOC collected P25.84 billion in September, short by 11.8 percent of its goal for the month. However, the collection in September was up by 11.3 percent from September last year. It was the third consecutive month that the BOC registered a double-digit pace of increase in monthly collection compared to the previous year’s levels.
The faster pace of increase came amid an ongoing reorganization in the agency. In particular, new deputy commissioners were appointed and some port collectors were reassigned to research jobs. Moreover, the agency is also reviewing profiles of employees to determine whether they are fit for their current posts or have to be reassigned as well.
The latest collection performance brought the BOC’s total collections for the first three quarters of the year to P224.45 billion, short by 10.3 percent of its goal for the period. The collection for January to September, however, was up 5.1 percent from last year.
The BOC was criticized by President Aquino during his latest State-of-the-Nation Address in July as one of the most corrupt agencies that his administration intended to reform.
An earlier proposal to abolish the BOC and create a new one was raised, but questions about the legality of such a move prompted the administration to simply attempt at reorganizing the agency.
For this year, the BOC is tasked to collect P340 billion, which is 17-percent higher than its collections last year.
Customs officials had said that the full-year goal was difficult, if not impossible, to achieve given the monthly collection shortfalls.
Some officials blamed lower-than-target imports as well as declining tariffs on imported goods from Southeast Asia for the collection shortfalls.
Under a regional trade agreement, members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) are continually reducing tariffs on goods coming from member countries until the taxes on most goods reach zero by 2015.
However, observers said there was a huge room to boost collection of the BOC given the substantial leakages arising from smuggling. According to estimates, the government loses about P200 billion in potential revenue collection a year due to smuggling.
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