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Ill-conceived, half-baked tax policy won’t do

“The time for change is well past due. This time, let me say, let’sjust do it.” This is the most cited, most applauded phrase of GloriaMacapagal Arroyo’s (GMA) first State of the Nation Address (SONA) asthe 14th President of the Philippines.

Yet, days have passed, and she has wasted precious time in her attemptsto tackle the most serious problem—the fiscal deficit and the swellingpublic sector debt.

An Alternative View on Investment Climate

The latest buzzword in the multilateral agency scene, particularly the
World Bank, is “investment climate.” In March 2001, then Chief
Economist of the Bank, Nicholas Stern, identified the task of improving
investment climate as “the central challenge in reaping benefits from
globalization.” By the next year, the Bank, through its Private Sector
Development Strategy program, embarked on surveys and assessments of
investment climate conditions in most countries. Today, the World Bank
is set to release the World Development Report 2005, (WDR2005)
preliminarily entitled “A Better Investment Climate – For Everyone,” by September 2004.

Thinking of Takenaka and the others

Certain opinions are misplaced regarding certain types of people and
their capacity for decision making and implementation. At least from
the point of view of some “accomplished” individuals in business and
government, there is a tendency to underestimate, on a wholesale-basis, people from the academe.

BIR reforms: welcome success story for 2003

The much-maligned Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is fashioning a newimage: that of a professional, efficient, transparent and innovativeinstitution. This image is becoming a reality under the leadership ofCommissioner Guillermo Parayno, Jr. The good news – amid all theuncertainty, jitters, and antagonism in the pre-election period – isthat BIR achieved its collection target for 2003.

Damaging control

Six months into the year, the government has already incurred a deficit of P119.7 billion or 92% of its P130-billion target for the whole year. This is unfortunate, as the current administration has staked its
credibility on a fiscal discipline platform. Its pronouncements
encourage the market to herd around expectations generated by deficit ceilings; unfortunately, breaches would then be perceived as signals of fiscal irresponsibility, leading to a weakening of capital inflows.