GOVT  NEEDS  P274 MILLION  A  DAY  TO  BALANCE  BUDGET

MANILA, July 21 , 2004 (STAR) The government needs to raise P274 million a day, or P100 billion a year, in revenues in the next five years if it intends to avert a looming financial crisis and balance the country’s beleaguered budget, a congressman said yesterday.

Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., chairman of the House committee on appropriations in the last Congress, said the government’s assumption of the National Power Corp.’s debt of almost P600 billion is expected to worsen the country’s financial situation.

Before imposing new tax measures, Andaya urged Malacañang and Congress to review the country’s tax system and exert all efforts to improve revenue collection.

"For as long as tax collection is inefficient and loopholes in our tax system are unplugged, no amount of new taxes will be enough (to bridge the budget gap)," he said.

Andaya said new taxes or adjustments to existing tax measures are definitely needed, but even projected revenues from new tax measures will not be enough.

Improving revenue collection and widening the current tax base are needed to achieve the goal of erasing the budget deficit, he said.

Andaya said the Department of Finance should be able to convince Congress that its efficiency in the collection of new revenue measures is close to 100 percent. Otherwise, he said there is no point in imposing new taxes if concerned agencies cannot do their job due to inefficiency or corruption, or both. — Paolo Romero


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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