THE Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) failed to collect close to P50 million in tonnage fees in a span of three years.
The Commission on Audit (COA) discovered that P49.77 million of fees due from shipping companies and operators were not paid, including the interest and surcharges from 2010 to 2012.
According to its circular, Marina is tasked to collect tonnage fee for a minimal worth of P25 per gross tonnage or P150 per ship, whichever is higher, for administration and regulation of domestic ships.
The base rate increases by P5 pesos when late payment has been made on top of surcharges and interests on unpaid tonnage fees.
However, audit of revenue disclosed that in a span of three years, Marina could have generated P49.77 million had it industriously followed up collections from shipping firms.
Particulars showed that uncollected fees from 2012 to 2012 added up to P23.39 million. Dues preceding 2010 amounted to P10.89 million.
Meanwhile, surcharges for 2010 and 2011 totaled P12.42 million, while those for 2008 and 2009 is at P59,715.02.
All in all, the total revenue for Marina could have been P49.77 million.
“Due to failure of Marina-Central Office to intensify collections of annual tonnage fees and the corresponding surcharges and interests, the government was deprived of additional revenues,” auditors said.
COA told Marina to mind the surcharges and interest posted at 2012 yearend due from ships docked in three homeports.
Manila port had the biggest amount of unpaid dues at P12.33 million at 2012 yearend. Rizal trailed at P77,523.72, while Zambales had P7,107.97 million.
Since the surcharges and interests on the unpaid annual tonnage fees for 2012 was only demandable in 2013, “these were not yet considered as uncollected revenues.”
The audit team told Marina to be wary of the deadline of the vessels’ payment to avert the increasing dues, considering that auditors had a hard time pinpointing the specific port of an erring shipping company “due to incomplete documentation.”
“Specific due dates of the final payments of the annual tonnage fees due could not be readily determined due to incomplete documentation, hence, the corresponding surcharges and interests to these fees could not be established,” the audit team lamented.
For one, figures from Marina’s Domestic Shipping Office registered 26,293.31 recorded gross tonnage of various shipping vessels. In another office, at the Management Information Systems Office, the figure climbed to 27,647.20 or a difference of 1,353.89.
“As a consequence, possible errors have been made in the assessment and collection of annual tonnage fees,” COA said, adding that auditors were not able to determine which data is correct due to unavailability of documents.