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PIA Press Release

PGMA assures no new taxes as she underscores need to enhance tax administration

Dumaguete City (30 October) -- Stressing that the country's economic strength is largely attributed to the various financial and economic reforms, including the Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT), President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said yesterday there is no need to implement new tax measures but rather enhance tax administration so as to generate more revenues for socio-economic projects.

Speaking at the first international conference here of over 500 government executives, the country's donor funding institutions, governors, assessors, treasurers, finance experts, IT experts and computer programmers on "iTAX a Milestone for Local Government Finance", the President also noted that the Integrated Taxation System has contributed much to the surge in government's revenue collection.

"There is no need for new taxes. We have plenty of room to increase revenues by enhancing tax administration," the President said in her message at the International Conference on the Integrated Taxation System (iTAX) held this afternoon at the Negros Oriental Convention Center here.

The President noted that the EVAT (Law) was the "single biggest act that led to the surge in our economy."

"In one bold stroke it raised enormous amounts of new revenue. That act also sent an unmistakable signal that we are serious about moving the nation forward," she said.

But the President stressed that her focus on improving the economy, fiscal discipline, a balanced budget and investments in human and physical infrastructure all contributed to the improving economy.

The President also said that because of the painful tax measures she initiated, revenue collection increased, thus the government would be on track on its target of balancing the budget by 2008 or two years ahead of the earlier target date of 2010.

"Our budget deficit so far is significantly lower than the ceiling," the President said adding that: "We are on track to achieve our target."

"We have demonstrated that we have the ability to keep our budget under control; we have lowered our deficit and raised unprecedented amounts of revenue," she said.

The President recalled that although the government was short of its revenue collection target during the first half of the year, she expressed optimism for "collections to get back on track" in the second half of the year.

She said the appointment of new Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Lilian Hefti and the more aggressive campaign against tax evasion and corruption have been paying off as shown in the July to September revenue collections already exceeding targets.

"We do not want to and will not go back to the days of unbridled deficit spending," the President stressed. (OPS/PIA) [top]

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