By Paolo Romero, October 23 2018; Philippine Star
Image Credit to Business Mirror
MANILA, Philippines — The suspension of the scheduled increase in excise taxes on fuel next year will still push through even if the trigger price of $80 per barrel will not be met, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said yesterday.
Dominguez issued the statement after some of his officials announced that the Department of Finance (DOF) said the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) on the next round of increases on the excise taxes on gasoline and diesel in 2019 are already being drafted, and that prices of crude may fall below $80 per barrel before the end of the year.
“The decision for us to recommend the suspension (of the excise taxes to President Duterte) was based on a particular week in October, the first week, where the futures (market) were over $80, and on that basis we made that recommendation and we will stick to that recommendation,” Dominguez told reporters.
Under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, any scheduled increase in the excise taxes may be suspended if the three-month average price of Dubai crude immediately preceding the planned hike breaches $80 per barrel.
Malacañang officials, however, indicated last week that Duterte might announce the suspension even if the three-month reckoning is not yet finished.
“What will trigger the suspension is the decision of Malacañang,” Domiguez said.
He added that the DOF is trying to find a way to legally justify the suspension, probably through the issuance of a revenue regulation order.