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DTI wants tax perks included in Bayanihan 2

/ 05:10 AM August 17, 2020

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) wants the Bayanihan 2 bill to include tax perks that would encourage businesses to keep at least 90 percent of their workforce, a copy of the agency’s letter to the House of Representatives read.

It remains to be seen, however, if this and other DTI recommendations will be included during the bicameral committee that will reconcile both versions of the bill passed by both chambers of Congress.

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Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez wrote a letter to Rep. Raneo Abu, Deputy Speaker and 2nd district representative of Batangas on Aug. 9, a day before the House of Representatives passed the P162-billion stimulus package.

“Respecting the budget ceiling level being notionally observed under the Bayanihan 2 bills, we would like to instead reiterate proposed policy interventions, which could be most helpful for the heavily impacted sectors by COVID-19, and to the whole economy in general,” Lopez said.

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One of the proposed policy interventions is to provide one-year tax breaks on companies that either had no layoffs or retained 90 percent of their workers.

Among others, he recommended a one-year income tax holiday in the first year an eligible company would be able to make profit after 2021.

He also recommended to allot “a modest budget allocation of P50 million” to help industrial sectors respond to the pandemic, P15 million of which should be used to establish a testing laboratory for personal protective equipment (PPE) to help local manufacturers get the required certifications to make PPE and to ensure the quality of imported PPE.

About P30 million is recommended to subsidize RT-PCR testing for construction workers hired by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in public infrastructure projects. An RT-PCR test stood for reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, which the Department of Health considers the gold standard for COVID-19 testing.

Finally, Lopez said P5 million should be allotted so that the Board of Investments—which he chairs—could offer free PCR-based testing and sponsor two-day hotel quarantine (while waiting for test results) to top-level executives and technical officials of prospective foreign investors. —Roy Stephen C. Canivel

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TAGS: Bayanihan 2 bill, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), tax perks
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