BAGUIO CITY – Concerned government agencies are now working together in crafting the appropriate rules and regulations that will guarantee the timely release of the share of host local governments from the operation of extractive industries in their areas of jurisdiction.
Finance Assistance Secretary Teresita Habitan said efforts are now being done by the concerned government agencies involved in the issue to finalize the required guidelines in streamlining the procedures that will make sure that the share of host local governments from the operation of extractive industries in their areas will be released to the host communities to be used to fund the implementation of their priority development projects and improve the delivery of basic services to the people.
Habitan, who was one of the resource persons during the Annual National Conference of the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI) held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) Summit Hall Wednesday., explained that if current plans will push through, local governments hosting extractive industries will be given their share for 2018 by the first quarter of 2019 to make sure that the funds will be appropriately used by the local officials in the implementation of their desired priority development projects and enhancement of basic services in their areas.
“We hope that concerned government agencies will be able to finalize the rules and regulations that will guarantee the timely release of the share of local governments from the operation of extractive industries in their places so that LGUs will truly enjoy the benefits of hosting extractives,” Assistant Secretary Habitan stressed.
Under existing laws, rules and regulations, local governments hosting the operation of extractive industries are entitled to 40 percent share from the excise taxes paid by the companies to the government while 60 percent will remain with the national coffers.
The DOF official explained that one of the primary reasons that result to the delayed release in the share of local governments from the national wealth tax paid by extractive companies is the issuance of the joint certification by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Treasury (BOT) on the actual payments remitted by the company in relation to their excise taxes.
Earlier, local officials complained to ranking officials of concerned government agencies regarding the reported serious delays in the release of their 40 percent share from the excise taxes remitted to the national government by companies operating extractive industries in their areas of jurisdiction that affect their budgeting of the funds, especially for their priority projects beneficial to the people living in host and neighboring communities.
Habitan belied the allegations of some local chef executives who attended the PH-EITI Annual National Convention that extractive industry companies are allegedly delayed in the remittance of their payments for the excise taxes to the national coffers, saying that they have been aware of the plight of concerned local governments that is why efforts are now being done to correct the fault of the system for local governments to maximize the utilization of their benefits from the hosting of the operation of extractive industries.
Local chief executives present during the gathering expressed optimism that concerned government agencies will be able to craft the appropriate rules that will guarantee the timely release of their share from the operation of extractives in their places. By HENT