Aquino 'cool' to oil eVAT suspension proposal

03/12/2011 - PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III is cool to the proposal of temporarily suspending the imposition of expanded value added tax (eVAT) on fuel products after pump prices have increased in the world market.

In an interview aired over government-run Radyo ng Bayan, the President said the measure would only do more harm than good with P5 billion expected to be lost in the nation's coffers.

In turn, the government will have to deal with a ballooning deficit as it scrambles to look for money that will support numerous programs and projects.

The country's budget shortfall last year was recorded at P314.4 billion due to improved tax collection and prudent government spending.

President Aquino also said the proposal would result in lower credit ratings from credit watchdogs such as Standard and Poor and Moody's which would deem the suspension of eVAT as a "fiscally imprudent" move.

Instead of suspending VAT on fuel prices, President Aquino said the government is more focused on ensuring sufficient oil supply in the country.

"We are targeting at least 60 days on hand," he said.

Describing his business trip as brief yet productive, President Aquino arrived late Friday in Manila after a four-day state visit to Indonesia and Singapore this week.

The President, together with his 53-man delegation, deplaned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2.

Meantime, President Aquino thanked Singaporean President S.R. Nathan for his country's continuous investments to the Philippines and "graceful hosting" of more than 177,000 overseas Filipino workers there.

He also praised Singapore's economic success, which transformed itself from a small fishing village to Southeast Asia's wealthiest nation in just three decades.

Besides being the Philippines' fourth largest trading partner last year, Singapore also invested some $4.2 billion in the Philippines, as of 2009.

The President also enticed Singaporean businessmen to participate in his massive infrastructure projects, saying the country is now more conducive to business and investment under his watch.

"Partnering with us holds both tangible and intangible rewards; it means also a commitment to lifting the lives of people who only recently had learned how to dream again," he told business leaders.

Malacaรฑang earlier said the government will spend P12.27 million for the two state visits.

(Sun Star)


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