Business groups support Palace-backed sin tax reforms
MANILA, Philippines - Private business groups expressed support on a pending legislation reforming the sin tax structure on alcohol and tobacco products.
In separate statements, the Makati Business Club and the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) said they support the the restructuring of the excise tax system from a multi-tiered structure to a unitary excise tax structure.
The also called for the swift passing of the Department of Finance-backed House Bill 5727 authored by Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya.
The bill is positioned to improve the government's fiscal health -- through an additional annual revenue of P60 billion -- and to reduce health care costs associated with the ills of smoking and drinking.
"This reform is long overdue," noted Henry Schumacher, vice president for external affairs of the ECCP, which “strongly backs the principle of non-discrimination, simplicity and transparency” in the tax structure.
He also reiterated the group's position on the current structure that discriminates between local and imported products.
“The Abaya bill is merely addressing a long standing violation of WTO (World Trade Organization) principles by equalizing the rates on alcohol and creates a more level playing field for tobacco products,” Schumacher said.
"It will also demonstrate the country’s commitment to open and fair competition, as well as its respectful compliance to international agreements," the Makati Business Club said.
We further push for the elimination of the price classification freeze so the government is free to levy competitive excise tax rates on tobacco and alcohol products. We believe that the current system has eroded the tax base, costing the Philippine government a substantial amount of foregone revenue," it added. - Rappler.com