The Philippines joined Addis Tax Initiative (ATI) partner countries and organizations to renew the global momentum in financing for sustainable development during the ATI General Assembly in Lusaka, Zambia on June 20, 2023.
ATI is a multi-stakeholder partnership between 71 countries, development partners, and supporting organizations that aims to promote fair and effective domestic revenue mobilization (DRM) through partnerships and knowledge building, fostering collective action to improve tax systems.
With the theme “Stepping up financing for sustainable development,” the 2023 ATI General Assembly gathered ATI members for high-level discussions on progress and challenges towards DRM.
Due to geopolitical factors and the effects of the pandemic, as well as the climate crisis, countries have found it difficult to advance their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
“We at the Philippine Department of Finance are one with the ATI in pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals by boosting tax collection through enhanced taxation and efficient domestic revenue mobilization,” Secretary Diokno said in a recorded statement.
On March 1, 2023, the Philippines served as the host country for the 2023 ATI Regional Workshop on Tax Expenditures, which was held in collaboration with the Council on Economic Policies (CEP), the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Department of Finance (DOF).
The event convened international tax experts to engage in productive discussions on the reduction of unnecessary tax expenditures and its critical role in tax systems around the world.
Secretary Diokno shared the Philippines’ strategy of broadening the tax base in order to boost revenue collection, ease the tax burden on Filipinos, and maintain fiscal sustainability.
The government has pursued revenue-enhancing policies and game-changing reforms that enhance fiscal consolidation efforts and improve revenue generation mechanisms.
The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act and the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act are landmark reforms that provided significant relief to taxpayers while generating much-needed revenues.
“These efforts made the Philippines one of the economic leaders in the region, growing over 6 percent annually before the pandemic struck. The same reforms helped us gain the financial strength to weather the worst of the COVID-19 crisis,” Secretary Diokno said.
For proper DRM, the government has been expediting its digitalization efforts in order to eradicate corruption and improve the efficiency of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BOC).
As a result of these efforts, both revenue agencies were able to sustain their operations throughout the pandemic and exceed their collection targets.
According to Secretary Diokno, the government will continue to pursue structural reforms in tax administration through the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework (MTFF), which is the country’s blueprint towards fiscal sustainability.
“The Philippines believes that enhanced domestic revenue mobilization and sound fiscal management are vital requirements for inclusive and sustainable growth,” he said.