Diokno orders BIR to fast-track digitalization

Published August 2, 2022, 6:00 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Department of Finance (DOF) ordered the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to fast-track its digitalization program to enable the government exceeds its revenue targets.

Speaking at the BIR anniversary celebration, Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said the bureau, which contributes about two-thirds to government coffers, should strengthen tax collection through digitalization.

Diokno pointed that the BIR plays a key role in achieving the fiscal goals of the Marcos administration.

“The Bureau must quicken the digitalization of our revenue systems to boost our tax effort, enhance tax administration, and eliminate discretion,” Diokno said.

“I urge the BIR to fast-track its modernization projects as well as strengthen the tax collection and enforcement programs it has set in place to enable us to meet and even exceed our revenue targets,” he added.

Diokno said that the Marcos administration will implement a comprehensive 8-point socioeconomic agenda to decisively steer the economy back to its high-growth trajectory.

Among the initiatives under this agenda are measures that will enhance the fairness and efficiency of the country’s tax system, while putting sharper focus on efficient tax administration through digitalization.

In the near term, the plan seeks to address the most urgent issues confronting the Filipino people, such as rising prices of essential commodities, and the lingering economic scars from the pandemic.

In the medium term, the plan aims to drive the creation of more jobs, quality jobs, and green jobs. The Marcos administration aims to achieve this through massive investments in infrastructure, human capital development, and digitalization.

Diokno said that the goals of the government are ambitious but achievable with the right fiscal tools and right people.

He said that the government’s economic team is committed to implement a Medium-Term Fiscal Framework (MTFF) that will support the country’s growth targets with fiscal prudence.

The MTFF serves as the government’s blueprint to reduce fiscal deficit, promote fiscal sustainability, and enable robust economic growth.

“Our strategy aims to bring down our debt-to-GDP [gross domestic product] ratio from the current 63.5 percent to less than 60 percent by 2025, and cut the deficit-to-GDP ratio from the current 6.4 percent of GDP to 3.0 percent by 2028,” Diokno said.

“Expanding our fiscal space will allow us to maintain our high investment in infrastructure at 5 to 6 percent of the country’s economy annually,” he further explained.

Diokno said that the country’s economic prospects are promising and that the economy is expected to return to, and even exceed, its pre-pandemic growth rates beginning this year.

He said that the government’s structural reforms, including enhancements in tax policy and tax administration, allowed the economy to weather pandemic-induced shocks and chart a clear path to a sustainable recovery.

“Now, we must sustain our gains and propel the economy to greater heights. We must turn our bright economic prospects into reality for the Filipino people,” the finance chief said.

Diokno acknowledged how the BIR has always stood ready to support the needs of the Filipino people both through periods of growth and times of crises.

He urged the agency to inspire broader trust in the Philippine tax system by continuously upholding the highest standards of responsiveness, integrity, and accountability in the fulfillment of its duties.

“You, our revenuers, are essential workers pumping life-giving revenues into our coffers. Hence, this patriotic duty must be fulfilled with utmost fairness, efficiency, and integrity,” Diokno said.

Diokno said that the Filipino people depend on the BIR to achieve an inclusive and sustainable economy and to keep the country’s fiscal vitals in fighting shape.

“A strong BIR means a secure fiscal future and economic prosperity for the Filipino people,” Diokno said.