Pernia: 'Least essential' spending may be cut with fuel tax hike suspension

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 25 2018 09:50 AM

Customers fill up their vehicle's tank at a gas station in Quezon City on October 8, 2018. Petroleum companies are set to increase oil prices the next day, marking the 9th consecutive week of oil price hikes. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- Least essential expenditures may be sacrificed to make up for the suspension of increases in the excise tax on fuel, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said Thursday.

If the tax increase is suspended for the entire 2019, it could result to P41.6 billion in foregone revenues, but this could be offset by P14 billion in value added tax collections, according to the Department of Finance.

"If we have to cut expenditures it will be on the least essential items first and then going up," Pernia told ANC's Market Edge.

"When we cut something from the revenue side we have to sacrifice some items in spending. That is to be expected," he said.

The government suspended the P2 per liter excise tax increase on diesel and gasoline that was supposed to take effect in January, as inflation held at its highest levels in nearly a decade.

Fuel subsidies may be reduced but unconditional cash transfers for the poor will proceed as scheduled, finance officials said.

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