Aquino administration urges private sector to pay taxes

19:18, June 30, 2010      

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The administration of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III is sticking with its promise of not raising new taxes but reiterated that the private sector has to do its part in addressing the country's ballooning budget shortfall.

The private sector, especially the business community, should not sit by idly and should work hand-in-hand with the revenue collecting agencies like the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BoC), Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima told reporters on Wednesday after the first Cabinet meeting.

"The goal of the finance department is to reduce deficit and bring it down to 2 percent of (Philippines') gross domestic product (GDP) over a three-year period. We will be sitting down with the National Economic Development Authority and the Department of Budget and Management to coordinate this (goal)," Purisima said.

The Aquino administration is seen inheriting a huge budget deficit of 340 billion pesos (7.34 million U.S. dollars) this year or about 3.6 percent of the country's GDP from its predecessor. The shortfall is among the biggest problems faced by the Aquino administration.

Because of this, Purisima said aiming for a balance budget is " not necessary" at this point since the will need the funds to support the social programs of President Aquino such as the conditional cash transfer, improving the education, among others.

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