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Business

GOCC dividends decline 66% to P53 billion in 9 months

Elijah Felice Rosales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — With only three months left in the year, dividends remitted by state-run firms to the government barely reached a third of what they contributed to national coffers in 2020.

According to the Department of Finance (DOF), government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) handed over P53.1 billion in dividends from January to September, down 66 percent from the P157 billion infused to the Bureau of the Treasury last year.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) accounted for around 30 percent of total at P15.9 billion, followed by the National Transmission Corp. with P8.32 billion and the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) with P7.1 billion.

Likewise, the Treasury obtained dividends worth P6 billion from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) and P3.76 billion from the Philippine Ports Authority. It also collected P1.72 billion from the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, as well as P1.7 billion from the Philippine Reclamation Authority.

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority added P1.21 billion to the government’s resources, based on records from the DOF. On the other hand, the Philippine National Oil Co. remitted P1 billion, while the National Power Corp. chipped in P900 million.

Some GOCCs like PAGCOR expect their dividends to the government to drop, as revenues also decline due to business restrictions placed by authorities.

PAGCOR, for instance, posted a more than 82 percent plunge in its net income to P1.55 billion last year from P8.84 billion in 2019 and projects its financials to only recover by next year once border controls  are lifted.

Under Republic Act 7656, GOCCs are mandated to declare and remit at least 50 percent of their net earnings as cash, stock or property dividends to the government.

In 2020, GOCCs doubled the dividends they remitted to the Treasury to a record P156.97 billion from P69.17 billion in 2019, inclusive of forgone dividends. Over a fourth, at P119.1 billion, was used by the government to finance its social amelioration program.

According to the DOF, just 10 state-owned firms contributed at least 87 percent of the dividends. The BSP and PDIC posted the largest shares at P40.53 billion and P17.98 billion, respectively.

The DOF, for its part, plans to sustain its measures on instilling fiscal discipline among GOCCs to make sure that they deliver their commitments under the law.

Further, the agency took in the web-based GOCC Debt Recording and Management System, as it demanded GOCCs to report on time their financial obligations.

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