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Business

BOC collections hit record high of P70.7 billion in March

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star
BOC collections hit record high of P70.7 billion in March
Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said BOC employees continue to show their unwavering commitment and dedication to service despite the ongoing pandemic.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) surpassed its monthly target for the third straight month as collections hit a record high of P70.73 billion in March, partly due to soaring global oil prices amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said BOC employees continue to show their unwavering commitment and dedication to service despite the ongoing pandemic.

Data released by the agency showed the revenue take last month was 22.6 percent or P13.04 billion higher than the P57.69 billion set for March.

In a statement, the BOC said that the positive revenue collection performance is attributed to the improving volume of importation in the country, the improved valuation, and the intensified collective efforts of all the collection districts.

Based on the preliminary report from the BOC-Financial Service, 14 of the 17 collection districts including the ports of San Fernando, Port of Manila, MICP, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Batangas, Iloilo, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, Davao, Subic, Clark, Aparri, and Limay hit their respective targets.

For the first quarter, the BOC said collections amounted to P188.51 billion, accounting for 27.8 percent of the P679.23 billion target set for 2022.

Last year, the BOC surpassed its P616.75 billion target by four percent, as collections reached P643.6 billion, 20.5 percent higher than the P533.88 billion collected in 2020 mainly due to an improvement in global trade.

The agency continued to strengthen its enforcement operations against smuggled goods resulting in enhanced compliance of brokers and importers to customs law.

It also lifted border restrictions here and abroad to increase the import volume and boost the agency’s collections.

Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed the country’s trade deficit widened by 63.2 percent to $4.69 billion in January from $2.88 billion in the same month last year.

This as imports jumped by 27.5 percent to $10.74 billion from $8.42 billion, while exports went up by 8.9 percent to $6.04 billion form $5.55 billion.

Despite soaring oil prices, the Department of Finance (DOF) has strongly opposed the imposition of excise tax  and value added tax on fuel imports under Republic Act 10693 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law as this could lead to revenue losses amounting to P138.8 billion or 0.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

The department said the losses could reach as high as P1.5 trillion if the suspension is implemented for the next 10 years.

For 2022 alone, the DOF aims to collect a total of P147.1 billion in taxes from oil products. This consists of P15.8 billion in VAT at the previous baseline estimate of global oil costing $70 per barrel, plus P131.4 billion in fuel excise tax.

Based on its latest assessment, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) raised its Dubai crude oil price assumption to $102.23 per barrel instead of $83.33 per barrel for this year and $88.21 per barrel instead of $75.69 per barrel for next year.

The Monetary Board also raised its inflation forecasts to 4.3 instead of 3.7 percent for 2022 and to 3.6 instead of 3.3 percent for 2023 due to soaring global oil prices.

The BSP expects a breach in its two to four percent target at 4.4 percent if global oil prices average $120 per barrel and 4.7 percent if it hits $140 per barrel.

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