To remain competitive, PH urged to match India’s WFH policy | Inquirer Business

To remain competitive, PH urged to match India’s WFH policy

/ 12:31 PM September 15, 2022

The IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines Inc. on Wednesday said the Philippines should adopt India’s system that allows registered businesses in economic zones to adopt work-from-home (WFH) policies without losing their tax incentives.

“It’s high time the (Philippines) follows India at the risk of losing more ground, market share and the opportunity to add more IT-BPM jobs for more Filipinos. The future of work is here… and it’s hybrid,” Madrid said in his post at the professional networking site LinkedIn on Wednesday.

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Madrid was referring to a news article quoting India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, who said on Sept. 13 that their government has decided to allow WFH arrangements in all special economic zones.

Goyal said a WFH culture would create employment opportunities in small cities and increase the export of services.

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Supportive Peza

The head of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) supported the idea, drawing similarities between India’s situation and the predicament faced by local businesses operating in economic zones.

“It’s very timely as we are facing the same issue on WFH affecting our valued IT (information technology) locators in Peza. India happens to be our closest competitor in the IT global outsourcing industry,” Peza officer-in-charge and deputy director general for policy and planning Tereso Panga said in a message sent to reporters on Wednesday.

Panga reiterated his statement that the government could be more proactive and responsive to the needs of ecozone locators if it would extend WFH privileges under a hybrid work set-up.

Such a policy direction on tax incentives would also put the Philippines on par with India and other “forward-thinking” economies that have adopted such work flexibility, added Panga.

The Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) and Peza are set to meet today (Sept. 15) to decide on whether or not the WFH policy would be extended.

Since April of this year, businesses registered under Peza have been given leeway in their work arrangement. They continue to enjoy tax incentives despite having 30 percent of their employees working from the comfort of their homes.

The FIRB earlier expressed hesitation to extend the WFH policy past the deadline of Sept. 12, reasoning that such an extension lacked legal basis.

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FIRB secretariat head and Finance Assistant Secretary Juvy Danofrata had said back then that neither the Cabinet-level FIRB nor the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act had given Peza the mandate to unilaterally adopt WFH arrangements for their locators.

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, who is also the FIRB chair, announced Friday last week a temporary extension that would last until such time that a conclusive decision has been made. INQ

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TAGS: India, IT-BPO industry, Philippines, work from home
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