By Jovee Marie de la Cruz, August 2 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to Philippine Star

THE chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means said the lower chamber will fast-track the deliberation of the Corporate Income Tax and Incentive Rationalization Act (Citira) bill that lawmakers said would help remove uncertainties for investors.

Albay Rep.  Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda said Congress was encouraged by the overall positive view of the business groups and foreign chambers that view the Citira bill as beneficial to the country’s economy.

Salceda said the measure is, at best, “revenue neutral” and the key to this reform is to get it done quickly and remove any uncertainty from the business ecosystem.

“Congress considers the measure as a structural reform to make the tax system more efficient, more performance-based and fairer to all sectors,” he said in a statement.

“We have heard all views and, since it is viewed as overwhelmingly more positive then, the better strategy for the House of Representatives is to remove any further protracted deliberations as a source of business uncertainty,” he added.

The measure seeks to encourage investments by bringing down the corporate income tax rate from 30 percent to 20 percent, and modernize tax incentives to enhance fairness, improve competitiveness, plug tax leakages and attain fiscal sustainability,
according to Salceda.

The bill, which is the second package of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, also aims to ensure that the grant of fiscal incentives helps bring in the greatest benefits, such as higher and more dispersed investments, more jobs and better technology.

According to Salceda, the bill is projected to generate 1.4 million new jobs from domestic enterprises during the said period.

Wish list

SALCEDA said the Lower Chamber will consider the wish list submitted by the business chambers.

“The driving force, however, for the legislative effort of the 18th Congress, will be the President, as the country’s Chief Executive, in his articulated imperatives in the State of the Nation Address,” he said.

According to Salceda, some of the bills listed in the wish list will benefit from House Rule 10, Section 48, which requires only one committee hearing for bills approved on third reading in the previous Congress.

He said the “one-hearing only” rule will be applied to the amendments in the Excise Tax on Alcoholic Beverages law, Foreign Investment Act and Retail Trade Act. The rule will also be applied to the Public Service Act, Citira and the proposed National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority Act.

Meanwhile, included in the wish list of businessmen are the amendments to the Agri-Agra law, the build-operate-transfer law, the Philippine Airports Authority Act, the Commonwealth Act 541, Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board, the Peza Act and the Bank Secrecy Law. Included, too, are the proposed Freedom of Information Act, lifting of foreign equity restrictions, the property Valuation and Assessment bill, Capital Income and Financial Taxes bill, Open Access in Data Transmission Act and the Water Department Act.

Also in the business sector’s wish list are the following proposed laws on Farm Entrepreneurship, Holiday Rationalization, National Land Use, National Traffic and Congestion Crisis, for a Water Regulatory Commission and the National Transportation Safety Board.