Immediately following the Annual General Membership Meeting held last 22 September 2017 at the I’m Angus Steakhouse in Yakal Street, Makati City, the Council had its networking luncheon in the same venue.
The guest speaker for the event was former World BankEconomist and currently Department of Finance’s (DOF ) Undersecretary, Mr. Karl Kendrick T. Chua.
Usec. Chua shared very interesting details of DOF’s current banner program, the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), which is envisioned to raise a part of the required funding for the 10-point socio-economic agenda of the Duterte Administration. As a backdrop, he explained that the Philippine economy has already achieved stability in economic fundamentals as shown by significant and sustained growth rate in the last medium term, and is now prepared for a take-off. The economy is now shifting from a consumer-led to investment-based growth, and the government has unwrapped a program to propel this by way of a massive infrastructure spending (~Php1.8 Trillion) target) under the “Build, Build, Build” battlecry.
The tax reform program envisions a more fair and equitable system by having a broader tax base. Specifically, the tax reform package touches upon, among others, value-added tax (VAT), excise tax on petroleum products, excise tax on automobiles, and will also introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (currently under deliberation in Congress).
The key takeaways from Usec. Chua’s presentations are:
1. The tax reform when seen as a package will provide benefits to 99% of Filipinos.
2. More important than the tax is how the money raised is spent to benefit poor Filipinos.
3. The tax reform is an investment for the future. No investment is easy. There are short term challenges but everyone benefits in the long term.
A very vibrant Q&A session ensued, with PNBC Director Rodolfo T. Azanza, Jr. acting as moderator.
The event was attended by 50 PNBC members and guests, and was graced by the presence of Norwegian Ambassador Erik Forner, and the Embassy’s Charge d’affaires Kristian Netland.