BIR, BoC ordered to fast-track modernization

FINANCE Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno has ordered the country’s revenue collection agencies to accelerate their digitalization transformation programs to improve the Philippines’ tax effort.

“My marching order to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) the Bureau of Customs (BoC) is to fast-track their respective modernization programs to increase our tax effort,” he said at an event organized by FinTech Alliance.ph on Thursday.

The BIR and BoC began implementing digital programs to facilitate trade and make the filing and payment of taxes easier amid the pandemic in 2020. These efforts helped sustain tax collection efforts despite the lockdowns.

“The government expects to collect more revenues on the back of a faster and more broad-based economic growth. Thus, efficient and effective tax administration will be critical in funding our socioeconomic priorities,” Mr. Diokno said.

The BIR aims to collect P2.43 trillion this year, while the BoC set a collection target of P671.66 billion.

Earlier, Mr. Diokno said he was not inclined to seek new taxes, preferring to improve tax administration instead.

On Thursday, he said digitalization would widen financial inclusion in the Philippines.

“We will accelerate the rollout of the Philippine Identification System to bring us closer to the goal of achieving e-governance and widen access to financial products and services among our people,” he added.

When he was Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) governor, Mr. Diokno said he set the goal to digitize half of all retail payments and onboard 70% of Filipino adults into the formal financial system by next year.

“Under President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s administration, we will put greater emphasis on pursuing technological innovations to build new industries, enhance the delivery of public services, and create many employment and investment opportunities,” he said.

“All these will allow us to bounce back stronger from the pandemic and ensure the long-term recovery of our economy.”

The government aims economic growth of 6.5-7.5% this year, and 6.5-8% next year to 2028.

‘ROADMAP’
Meanwhile, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will take the lead in crafting the “First 100-day Roadmap on Digitalization,” which will improve bureaucratic efficiency and ensure sound fiscal management.

“Digitalization is our way forward. Like what President Marcos said, it is the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We are entering an age of rapid technological advancement. And so we have to adapt,” Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman said in a separate statement.

The First 100-Day Roadmap “will explore the capabilities of cloud infrastructure and Application Programming Interfaces for real-time processing of government service, as well as blockchain technology for decentralized transparency,” the DBM said.

The roadmap will include updating the Government Integrated Financial Management Information Systems. A Budget and Treasury Management System (BTMS) will be developed by the DBM, together with the Department of Finance and Commission on Audit.

“BTMS will be a centralized database to facilitate the generation of vital information on all aspects of government financial transactions. Through the platform, all transactions are mapped real-time from purchase to payment,” the DBM said. — DGCR