MANILA, October 4, 2005
 (STAR) By Donnabelle L. Gatdula - The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) surpassed by P600 million its target collection for September, the countryís top finance official said yesterday.

Finance Secretary Margarito Teves told a press conference that based on preliminary data, the BIR collected P39.1 billion compared to a target of P38.5 billion for the period.

But the Bureau of Customs (BOC), he said, continued to fall short of its target. For the month of September, BOC reported a collection of P12.6 billion as against target of P13.6 billion.

The finance chief attributed the BOCís lower collection to lower imports and collection loopholes due to misclassification, undervaluation and smuggling.

The Bureau of Treasury, on the other hand, has been consistently exceeding its targets. From a target of P2.6 billion for September, the BTrís revenues stood at P3.8 billion.

Together, the three agencies surpassed their combined target for September by P700 million.

However, National Treasurer Omar Cruz hinted that the National Government is likely to incur a budget deficit for September. "September is a seasonally high expenditure month," he said.

In a related development, Teves said some multilateral institutions have indicated during his three-week trip to the US and London, that they are willing to extend financial and technical assistance to improve the countryís tax collection and administration efficiency; and develop the capital market infrastructure and regulatory framework.

Furthermore, private investment banks are interested in providing liability management products and services and issuing peso-denominated bonds, he added.

At the same time, Teves said the US government is eager to support efforts by the BOC to counter technical smuggling through data sharing technology.

In his trip, Teves met with officials of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and OPEC Fund for International Development.

He also talked with investment banks: Credit Suisse First Boston, JP Morgan, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, UBS Warburg and Nomura.

Teves said they have assured the investor communities that the Philippine government is working hard to gradually improve its fiscal position through the implementation of vital fiscal reform measures such as the expanded value-added tax (EVAT).

"We hope to implement the EVAT by Oct. 15. We expect the Supreme to come out with a decision within this week," he said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved