• Customs gets zero capital outlay

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    The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has been allocated zero budget for its capital outlay under its P2.16 billion budget for 2014, Customs Commissioner Rozzano Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon said on Wednesday.

    Biazon made the disclosure when the Customs bureau sought the approval of the House Committee on Appropriations for its 2014 budget in the House of Representatives.

    Without a budget for its capital outlay, the bureau cannot purchase equipment, machineries, and office furniture. Last year, the BOC was provided P211 million for capital outlay.

    “It is a setback because we need to acquire x-rays, CCTVs for better performance,” Biazon told reporters.

    The bureau’s 2014 funding for maintenance and other operating expenses and personnel services was reduced by P289 million and P40 million, respectively.

    Biazon, however, refused to attribute the budget cut to failure of the agency to meet its tax collection targets which prompted President Benigno Aquino 3rd to scold them in his State of the Nation Address.

    The BOC chief claimed that the bureau has been increasing its tax collection and recording the highest tax collection since President Aquino assumed office in July 2010.

    He said that from P220 billion tax collection in 2009, the BOC collected P259 billion in 2010, P265 billion in 2011 and P289 billion in 2012.

    “It would be irrational to attribute the budget cut to that [failure to meet tax collection targets]. We have been informed that the DBM decided not to give us Capital Outlay because we still have big ticket projects ongoing, and the DBM expressed concern over our absorptive capacity,” Biazon said.

    The Bureau of Customs’ target collection for 2013 is P347 billion but it has only collected P173 billion for the first seven months of the year.

    “It is hard for us to meet the target because the foregone revenue alone is worth P19 billion. Foregone revenue means the value of goods that arrived as expected but we weren’t able to collect as much import duties because of free trade agreements,” Biazon said.

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