MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Customs (BOC) collected P26.969 billion in June, 16 percent lower than the P33.292-billion target for the month, according to data from the agency obtained by The STAR.
However, the month’s collections were 14.1 percent higher than the P23.627-billion collection in June last year.
The BOC booked lower-than-target collections in June despite increasing volume of imports.
Of the different collection districts, those under the Luzon Cluster collected P10.256 billion, slightly below its P10.763-billion target.
The National Capital Region (NCR) Cluster, which consists of the Port of Manila, the Manila International Container Port and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) collection districts, generated P14.130 billion, significantly below its target of P19.223 billion.
The Visayas Cluster, on the other hand, had a target of P1.116 billion, which it met while the Mindanao Cluster collected P1.466.5 billion, higher than its target of P1.276 billion.
The June collections brought the BOC’s six-month take to P172.217 billion or P26.731 billion below the target for the period of P198.949 billion.
The Customs Policy Research Office (CPRO) of the Department of Finance earlier urged Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima to look into the declining monthly collections of the BOC.
In a July 1 memorandum to Purisima, the CPRO said while there has been a reported increase in the growth factors – average tariff rate, foreign exchange and value of imports from January to May, “the growth in the BOC’s collection effort has been on a steady decline since January 2014 with a negative growth of -14.38 percent in January 2014 and further down to -16 percent in May.”
“Considering all the growth factors versus the actual percentage growth for January to May 2014 compared to the same period in 2013, there is definitely a decline in collection effort,” the memorandum noted.
“Imports in the first quarter of 2014 grew by 24.7 percent in January, 1.7 percent in February and 9.6 percent in March with the total imports during the first quarter of 2014 amounting to $16.168 billion, a 12 percent increase from the $14.436 billion recorded during the comparable period last year,” the CPRO added.
Furthermore, the CPRO said there was a noticeable increase in non-dutiable import goods.
“Noticeable from the data is the increase in the volume of imports classified as non-dutiable for January to March 2014 by 36.3 percent compared to the same period in 2013 while the volume of imports assessed by the Bureau of Customs as dutiable/taxable decreased by 4.5 percent. Further study or analysis should be conducted on this data to determine the glaring discrepancy in the volume of dutiable imports vis-a-vis non dutiable imports,” it said.
The BOC is the government’s second largest revenue agency. It is currently under the leadership of Customs Commissioner John Philip Sevilla, a former Undersecretary at the Department of Finance.
Sevilla said the agency expects collections to improve as it continues to improve sources of revenue leaks.