GMA TO GRILL BIR OFFICIALS ON MEETING REVENUE TARGETS
MANILA, AUGUST 13, 2007 (STAR) By Paolo Romero - President Arroyo will put Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) officials under intense grilling today in a command conference to check whether the agency is on track in its revenue targets for the year as the government remains committed to wipe out the financial deficit in 2008.
The government failed to meet its P31.3 billion deficit target for the first half of the year, posting a P41 billion shortfall.
The BIR, which accounts for two-thirds of government taxes, collected P334.7 billion pesos in the first half, compared to the projected P373.3 billion collection.
Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, however, earlier said the government is standing by its P63 billion deficit ceiling for 2007 as proceeds from sale of government assets would ensure the target would be met.
The command conference will be held at the BIR main office in Quezon City. Earlier this year, Mrs. Arroyo fired former BIR commissioner Jose Ma. Buñag owing to the agency’s poor collection performance.
Mrs. Arroyo led a similar meeting at the Bureau of Customs (BoC) in Manila on Friday where she sternly warned Customs officials that they face dismissal if their poor performance continues amid reports of rampant smuggling in many ports all over the country that is depriving the government of revenues.
BoC Commissioner Napoleon Morales, who has been criticized for failing to curb smuggling of oil, luxury cars, and even used garments, was reportedly warned on Friday that he could be fired if he cannot whip his agency into shape.
She also directed Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group head Undersecretary Antonio Villar to intensify his campaign to be able to collect taxes due the government.
Trade Secretary Peter Favila, Presidential Management Staff chief Secretary Cerge Remonde and Teves are also expected to attend the command conference, apart from BIR officer-in-charge Lilian Hefti and other revenue district officers.
The BIR has been tasked to raise P730 billion while the BoC was given P228 billion to meet this year to enable the government to achieve its P1.1 trillion revenue target.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
© Copyright, 2007
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