Business groups welcome Marcos’ economic promises, online VAT

By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, Reporter

LOCAL BUSINESS GROUPS welcomed President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s plans for economic recovery, as well as the proposed legislative measures that include the imposition of a value-added tax (VAT) on digital transactions.

“We are glad his proposal to tax online transactions which will put online merchants on equal footing with in-store retailers on tax burdens. Big opportunity for new government revenue source and will level the playing field with traditional retailers,” Roberto S. Claudio, Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) vice-chairman, told BusinessWorld via mobile phone message.

In his first State of the Nation Address, Mr. Marcos pushed for a VAT on digital services, which he said would initially generate P11.7 billion in revenues if implemented in 2023.

British Chamber of Commerce Philippines Executive Director Chris Nelson said in a mobile phone interview that they are “very satisfied” with the plans of Mr. Marcos, adding this is a “good start.”

He said they welcomed Mr. Marcos’ pronouncement that there will be no further lockdowns to curb the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections.

“I think it is very good to hear that there will be no further lockdowns. It’s clear that those lockdowns had a significant impact on the economy. It’s good to hear that,” Mr. Nelson said.

Jose Maria A. Concepcion III, Go Negosyo founder and member of Mr. Marcos’ Private Sector Advisory Council, said in a Viber message that the private sector will be able to recover from the pandemic if there are no more lockdowns, which have disrupted business activity.

“We are grateful to President Marcos for his assurance that there will be no more lockdowns that will be imposed in the country. This is what the private sector and MSMEs need as it will allow for full recovery from the pandemic,” Mr. Concepcion said.   

The government’s implementation of a strict and prolonged lockdown to curb COVID-19 infections has been blamed for the Philippine economy’s record 9.6% contraction in 2020.

Makati Business Club (MBC) Executive Director Francisco “Coco” Alcuaz, Jr. said in a Viber message that the plans of Mr. Marcos for the agriculture sector are most welcome and long overdue.   

“Boosting loans, affordable inputs, and research and development will help end the plight of our disadvantaged farmers and fisherfolk,” Mr. Alcuaz said.   

Meanwhile, Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) President Jose C. Clemente III expressed support for Mr. Marcos’ plan to build additional international airports.

“We support this statement and we do hope that with the plan to create and upgrade airports more effort and resources can be given to entice more international carriers to fly in while also making conditions more favorable for our country’s carriers to mount more flights,” Mr. Clemente said in a text message.