Lawmaker prescribes cures vs worst recession in years
MANILA, Philippines — The government should expedite spending, accelerate the vaccine rollout, and be open to more private investments as the country posted its worst recession in 2020, House tax panel chief Joey Salceda said on Thursday.
In a statement, Salceda suggested that the government prioritize three solutions and avoid what he called “temptations” on policy.
According to Salceda, the most important is the vaccine rollout, adding that the country needs herd immunity before this year ends.
“There can be no ifs, ands, [or] buts here. I urge the government to support the Bayanihan sa Bakuna Act (House Bill No. 8285) because it will expedite procurement, rollout and administration of vaccines. No point in the gradual reopening of the economy if we will not give people the confidence to go out,” he said.
Salceda added that the second most important solution “is to make sure we spend the 2021 budget and exhaust the 2020 budget completely this year.”
“No toleration of delays in spending should be tolerated. I sternly warn implementing agencies that Congress will hold you accountable for the budget requests you submitted but cannot spend,” he said.
“Finally, we need to signal to the domestic and international investing communities that we are serious about being open for business,” Salceda added.
He said Congress should now pass the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act, economic Charter change and be “more open to public-private partnerships that are fair.”
Salceda warned that the government should not “deplete the revenue base by making redundant incentives too generous, or by making unreasonable or impulsive tax exemptions.”
“The second temptation is to build credit barriers. I find the tightening of rules on borrowing recently issued by the Bangko Sentral objectionable. It does not make sense to impose a one-size-fits-all restriction when you also want to attract credit,” he said.
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