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Speaker to BIR: Economic growth rests on hitting targets

MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Martin Romualdez urged the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to ensure that the tax agency hits its targets this year, emphasizing that “hitting revenue targets means the government can fund its spending program, which will enable growth.”

“Year on year, the BIR’s revenue collections grew by 17 percent this year. That’s welcome news, and I credit the BIR for that,” Romualdez said.

“But 17 percent growth from total collections last year will mean the BIR will fall short of the P3.05-trillion target set by the economic managers,” the Speaker added.

The BIR collected P2.516 trillion in 2023. An increase of 17 percent will bring total collections this year to P2.944 trillion, still slightly below the target.

“It’s a high bar to clear. That’s why Congress has given the BIR the tools to collect more effectively from taxpayers,” Romualdez said.

“We enacted the Ease of Paying Taxes, effective this year, to digitalize most of BIR’s transactions and encourage taxpayers to comply voluntarily. The law will also broaden the base of taxpayers, since we made registering as a taxpayer simpler, more convenient and above all free.”

The Speaker pointed out that the country’s economic growth this year “depends in large part on government carrying out the budget President Marcos proposed and Congress authorized. Of course, the sooner the BIR can collect the cash, the faster the government can fund its programs.”

“Government final expenditure grew by only 1.7 percent during the first quarter, so I’m hoping that the BIR will be able to collect more in the second quarter so government spending can also catch up. We need to fund both programmed spending and as much of the unprogrammed appropriations as possible to meet our growth targets this year,” Romualdez said.

“Tax is the lifeblood of government, and the vitality of economic growth this year depends on whether the BIR can supply that lifeblood.”