Gov’t ‘open’ to suspending fuel excise tax: SAP Go

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MANILA — Suspending excise tax on fuel is an option being considered by the government to tame inflation, Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go said Sunday.

In a statement released to the media, Go said while the Duterte administration is “open” to suspending the excise tax on fuel, lawmakers and other stakeholders should take into consideration the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

Go issued the clarification after he quoted in an earlier interview on the same day that President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an order suspending the second tranche of the excise tax “to arrest the rising price of oil and its effects on the inflation rate.”

“Binabalanse rin namin ang interes ng lahat. Kinokonsidera na ang pagsuspend ng pagsingil ng excise tax increase would lead to maybe about PHP40 billion sa gobyerno (We are balancing everyone’s interests. We are considering that suspending excise tax increases would lead to maybe about PHP40 billion loss to the government),” he said.

He assured that the government’s “primary consideration” is the suspension’s effects to Filipinos.

Go said the Department of Finance, National Economic and Development Authority, the Department of Energy, and even the Office of the President, are monitoring the trend of prices in the world market, especially in the next three months — October until December.

Go said the DOF earlier noted that suspension of excise tax increases levy on petroleum products under TRAIN law is possible only if global crude prices average USD80 per barrel in the last quarter of 2018.

“Rest assured na binabantayan ng Pangulo ang presyo ng langis at iba pang commodities para ma-mitigate ang epekto ng inflation at maalagaan ang kalagayan ng mga Pilipino lalo na ang mga mahihirap (Rest assured that the President is closely watching prices of oil and other commodities to mitigate the effects of inflation and to address the needs of Filipinos especially the poor),” Go said.

In 2018, the government imposed a PHP2.50 tax per liter of diesel and PHP1 on liquefied petroleum gas under the first tranche of excise tax on fuel.

The TRAIN law levies a total of PHP6 per liter on oil products, spread over three years starting 2018 up to 2020. –PNA

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