Customs misses 1st half collection goal

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 13 2011 12:06 PM | Updated as of Jul 14 2011 12:51 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Customs said Wednesday it missed its first-half cash collection goal of P137.9 billion due to the strong peso, reduced tariffs, and partly as a result of slow auto imports following the disasters in Japan.

The country's second-largest revenue agency generated cash revenue of P126.1 billion in January to June, 8.6% below target, but 15% higher than its collections last year.

Customs chief Angelito Alvarez said nearly 2,000 products such as petroleum, cereals, plastics, iron and steel -- which are considered as traditional revenue sources of the agency -- now come in duty-free or with reduced tariff as a result of free-trade deals.

"The earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan last March 11 also caused a drastic slowdown on the imports of completely built units from Japan," he added.

The customs bureau accounts for nearly one-fifth of government tax collections.

Despite slow revenues, the government has said it was confident it could trim the budget deficit to 3.2% of gross domestic product this year, from 3.9% in 2010.