Gov’t keen on retaining one-stop-shop service for investors

By Kris Crismundo

January 31, 2019, 8:11 pm

MANILA -- The government wants to maintain the one-stop-shop service provided by Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), and even adopt this in all of government's investment promotion agencies (IPAs).

During the economic briefing of Nordic Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines on Thursday, Department of Finance (DOF) Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua said the government understands the troubles investors face when dealing with many local government units (LGUs); hence, the need to provide investors more efficient services.

“I hear and understand your concern on dealing with so many local governments, and the potential rent seeking that might have been happening. So, we are very keen on preserving as much as possible the one-stop-shop [service],” Chua said.

Investors have expressed their preference for PEZA’s services, providing ease of doing business among its locators as they only need to process all their business transactions with the IPA.

However, Chua said that this needs to be addressed as the present version of the Tax Reform for Attracting Better and Higher Quality Opportunities or TRABAHO Bill preserves local business taxes, while LGUs have different valuation on property taxes.

“Unfortunately, it’s not very easy to do because the property valuation differs very significantly across LGUs. But we are looking at a way in which we can, for instance, tax the property but not the machineries, equipment, or building, or capital inputs that put into that. So, that at least reduces the burden of investors. We try to avoid tax in the capital as a general principle,” he added.

On the other hand, NordCham President Bo Lundqvist told reporters that Nordic businesses now have clearer understanding on the second package of the administration's Comprehensive Tax Reform Program.

“For those who have invested in the Philippines, for those that have running business here, for certain sector there, there has been a little bit of worry in terms of incentives that may have been part of investment plan in the very beginning will that have now changed the basic reason for investing in the Philippines,” Lundqvist said.

“The other part of that is that the companies that are considering the Philippines, I think we need to be very clear to those businesses in terms of what can they expect,” he added.

The NordCham president noted that interests of Nordic businesses in the Philippines remain.

“We have not seen any decline in interests in doing in businesses in the Philippines... We still see a lot of interest in the Philippines. Yes, there’s a bit of worry with any change in administration,” Lundqvist said. (PNA)