REVENUES collected by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) increased 6.6 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier but missed the target for the period by 10.7 percent due to lower collections from oil products as oil prices fell.
In a statement on Monday, the BOC said total collections amounted to P92.2 billion in the first three months as revenue from non-oil imports offset lower collections from oil products.
The BOC’s January to March collections were P5.7 billion higher than the P86.5 billion collected a year earlier but 10.7 percent below the P103.3 billion target for the month.
Cash collections stood at P87.3 billion in the first quarter, up 1 percent from P86.5 billion in the same period of 2014.
Non-cash collections, which represent collections from imports of government agencies paid through credits to the BOC’s account, reached P4.9 billion from zero in 2014.
However, collections from oil products during the three-month period dropped by 38 percent to P14.9 billion from P24.1 billion a year earlier.
The bureau said lower collections from oil products were due to the sharp decline in oil prices and shifts in the import mix toward higher crude oil imports at the expense of higher-value finished products.
“The 53-percent decline in oil prices from the first quarter of 2014 to the first quarter of 2015 was the main factor in the slowdown in collection growth,” it stated.
Nonetheless, the BOC noted that collections from imports excluding oil products continued to grow strongly, partly offsetting the fall in collections from oil.
Collections from non-oil imports grew by 24 percent to P77.2 billion in the first quarter from P62.3 billion in the same period in 2014, as imports of motor vehicles, food, iron and steel, machinery, and chemical compounds all showed very strong growth.
Customs Commissioner John Sevilla said developments in global oil markets are obviously out of the BOC’s control, but noted that the bureau remains confident that collections from non-oil imports will remain robust.
“However, it is difficult to imagine a scenario under which oil prices will recover sufficiently to restore collection growth to last year’s levels of 20 percent and above,” he said.
The BOC’s collection target for this year has been set at P436.5 billion.