BOC exceeds 2021 goal, pre-pandemic collections
MANILA, Philippines—With importation recovery and the return to economic growth last year, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) not only exceeded its 2021 collection goal but also surpassed its tax take in 2019 before the pandemic.
In a statement on Monday (Jan. 3), the BOC said a preliminary report of its revenue collection monitoring group showed end-2021 import duties and other taxes generated at the country’s 17 ports reached P645.8 billion, 4.7-percent bigger than the P616.8-billion target.
The BOC’s collections in 2021 grew by a fifth from P537.7 billion in 2020, when the Philippines slid to its worst post-war recession due to the most stringent COVID-19 lockdowns imposed to contain the deadly virus. Domestic and global pandemic restrictions had hampered import and export trading across borders.
Last year’s rebound from the pandemic-induced slump also lifted the BOC’s tax take 2.4-percent higher than the P630.3 billion collected in 2019.
The Cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) expected goods imports to have ended 2021 with a 30-percent growth given a low base in 2020, while gross domestic product (GDP) likely expanded by 5 to 5.5 percent in 2021.
The BOC said 13 of the 17 ports overshot their 2021 targets: Manila International Container Port (MICP), Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), as well as the ports of Manila (POM), Batangas, Clark, Davao, Iloilo, Legazpi, Limay, San Fernando, Subic, Surigao, and Zamboanga.
In December alone, the BOC collected P62.5 billion, 20.8-percent larger than the P51.7-billion goal.
For 2022, the BOC had been tasked with collecting P671.1 billion — an achievable goal, according to Customs Assistant Commissioner and spokesperson Vincent Philip Maronilla.
Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said in a text message that international trade trends and sustained enforcement activities will allow the country’s second biggest tax-collection agency to hit its collection target this year.
“Provided the uptrend continues and the assumptions used in the determination of the target remain valid,” Guerrero said the BOC can continue its upward collection trend in 2022.
The DBCC had projected imports to grow 10 percent this year, alongside faster GDP growth of 7 to 9 percent.
The Philippines is a net importer as it sources for domestic consumption more products overseas than the locally made goods it sells abroad.