New NEDA chief Chua says won't change views on tax reform


Posted at Apr 21 2020 06:54 PM

MANILA - Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said Tuesday he would not change his views on tax reform after his transfer to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) from the Department of Finance (DOF). 

Chua, who was appointed to helm NEDA following the resignation of economist Ernesto Pernia, helped draft the DOF's tax reform packages and defended them in legislative hearings. 

The new NEDA chief dismissed suggestions that he would change his stance on tax reform because he was no longer with the Finance Department. 

Chua said that even when he was still an economist at the University of the Philippines, up until he became part of the World Bank, he advocated tax reform to fix "a broken complex, inefficient and inequitable system."

His views on the issue will not change just because he was transferred to NEDA, Chua said. 
"The reason is I have studied and understood this objectively, so with that you can rest assured that my stint in NEDA will be based on evidence, objective assessment of the trade-offs of any economic decision," Chua said. 

Since 2018, the Duterte administration has pushed Congress to approve a bill that would bring down corporate income taxes while removing some fiscal incentives for select industries. 

But the bill languished in Congress as an earlier measure called the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law was blamed for causing faster inflation. 

Several business groups, including members of the BPO industry, said removing fiscal incentives would make the Philippines less attractive to foreign investors, and may even lead to companies moving out of the country.