The Bureau of Customs (BoC) has set another milestone after achieving more than P42 billion in revenue collection last month, according to the Bureau of Customs-Financial Service (BoC-FS).
It was the second month in a row that the BoC exceeded its collection target since Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña took office in September.
Customs records showed that it is “the highest monthly collection in the agency’s history,” although the BoC is still P124 billion away from meeting its 2017 assigned collection target of P468 billion.
Based on initial report, the agency improved its cash collection for October to P42.006 billion, beating the earlier P40.182 billion posted in September.
The amount is equivalent to 98 percent of the target cash of P42.54 billion based on Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing (BESF).
Prior to Lapeña’s assumption as Customs chief, the average monthly collection was only at P35 billion.
“Although the month of October was marked with [a fewer]number of working days and volume of imports, growth was still achieved because of increase in the value of imports brought by the higher exchange rate, oil price and improved valuation and classification,” he said.
“Slowly, the reforms we have started are gaining ground,” Lapeña added.
The BoC is on a seven-year collection slump, which started in 2010 or during the incumbency of the Aquino administration that resulted in four changes in the BoC leadership.
Lapeña expressed confidence that this time around, the bureau would be able to meet its target for the year despite the odds.
“Our latest revenue performance only shows that if we work together, nothing is impossible,” he pointed out.
Upon his assumption on August 30, one of Lapeña’s five priorities is to discontinue the benchmarking of duties and taxes and to strictly adhere to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Valuation Code and classification of goods.
The WTO valuation provides a system primarily anchored on the transaction value of the imported goods, which is the actual price paid or payable for the goods when sold for export to the country of importation with certain adjustments as incorporated in Section 700-706 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
Lapeña said the bureau is coming up with a uniform application of the rules in valuation to provide a fair playing field among stakeholders, which is seen to boost confidence of the business sector, leading to more investment and more employment opportunities.
The Customs chief has issued a marching order to everyone in the bureau and among the stakeholders to do away with tara or grease money.
This order aims to shorten business processes and lower business costs.
“I believe that if there is difficulty and [there are]slow processes, people look for faster service, that’s why there is tara, and there will always be corruption. I am ensuring faster service and reduced requirements in doing business with the bureau,” Lapeña said.