DTI, DOF to Limit Incentives G

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The finance and trade and industry departments are crafting a two-phased approach unified version on the proposed Fiscal Incentives Harmonization Bill as both agencies seek to limit the grant of tax perks to deserving investments only.

Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo said at the Economic Managers Briefing held yesterday at the Philippine International Convention Center that the unified version will be submitted in the next Congress come June this year.

Domingo said that both agencies have already agreed on a two-phased approach on how to craft their unified version. The first approach is to determine "Who should get the incentives" and the second approach on "What is the incentive structure".

"We have over 50 laws that grant different sets of incentives to investors. We need to simplify these laws for our investors," said Domingo, who has been cooperating with the DOF move to limit incentives to investors.

He, however, refused to address the question if the first approach would address the issue on the granting of incentives to non-deserving projects.

Who should get the incentives is an issue that both the DOF and DTI would be determining he said after which they would be discussing the second approach.

The evasive Domingo even said that the annual Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) would be one option to address those who should get the incentives saying the IPP is a mechanism to allow industries that have not been anticipated under the law to avail of incentives.

At present, the IPP has been widely used by government agencies in the grant of incentives to investors.

Meantime, the Board of Investments has started consultation for the 2013 IPP, which is a list of government preferred areas of activities that are entitled to government tax perks.

The crafting of the IPP is a widely accepted process that involves nationwide public and inter-agency consultations. The IPP is the country's blueprint for investment promotions and a platform to attract strategic investments with impact, particularly in countryside development as well as in generating employment.

Under the Omnibus Investments Code or EO 266, the BOI is mandated to encourage investments through tax exemption and other benefits in the preferred economic activities specified in the IPP. …