By Chino S. Leyco
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez has admonished “insensitive” businesses for asking tax incentives and urged them to instead help government in addressing the current needs of the Filipino people and frontliners fighting the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Dominguez said that it is too early for the national government to give out tax credits and other funding aid to businesses while threat of COVID-19 pandemic remains in the country.
“What is required right now is the ability of the government to move funds around to meet the new imperatives,” Dominguez told reporters in a video conference, noting the call of business groups is “totally distracting [the government] from the primary goal.”
According to Dominguez, there is no point to discuss incentives and other privileges for business owners while work limitations are prescribed under the enhanced community quarantine measures.
“You know this stimulus package, we don’t even know [the required amount]. What’s the point of giving tax credits and giving stimulus package now when you have no workers? What’s the point? The workers are in quarantine,” the finance chief pointed out.
Dominguez, however, assured that the DOF is willing to discuss alleviation measures for the private sector once the COVID-19 crisis has subsided.
“I have told the people who had come out with that proposal to do a stimulus package. That is not our priority at the moment… Let’s talk about that later,” Dominguez said.
“Our priority now is support the people who have lost their daily livelihood. Number two, protect the people who are the frontliners and expand our capacity to deal with this on a physical basis,” he added.
Last week, 32 of the country’s largest business organizations urged the national government to adopt a “fiscal stimulus” program which would raise the budget deficit-to-gross domestic product ratio close to fiver percent.
They said the government should commit to a “more forceful action on the fiscal front in order to mitigate the suffering of Filipinos and reduce damage to the society and economy.”