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ADB assisting PHL tax administration efforts

THE Department of Finance (DoF) said that it is working with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to improve tax administration and ramp up infrastructure investment.

“The ADB will provide support for Finance Secretary Ralph G. Recto’s core enhanced tax collection strategy of using digital technology for a more efficient and aggressive tax administration,” the DoF said in a statement.

Mr. Recto met with ADB officials on Tuesday, where he called for “more unified inter-agency coordination among national and local agencies to harmonize records of registered taxpayers and optimize tax collection efficiency.”

In November, the ADB approved a $400-million loan for the Domestic Resource Mobilization Program Subprogram 1, which is focused on reforms for revenue mobilization.

It aims to address the discrepancies in Philippine tax policy frameworks to improve tax compliance, reduce tax avoidance, and raise additional revenues from activities and products that impact the environment or contribute to climate change.

The DoF said that a second subprogram is slated for 2025.

The bank is also providing technical assistance for the Bureau of Internal Revenue as part of its digitalization program, in preparation of an investment project in 2025.

“The ADB affirmed its commitment to likewise strengthen cooperation with the Philippine government on infrastructure modernization, particularly on public-private partnerships (PPPs),” the DoF said.

The DoF also said that the ADB is working with the government to accelerate infrastructure projects through the Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility, which is a technical assistance loan from the bank to help prepare and implement infrastructure investments under the Transportation and Public Works and Highways departments.

“Both sides also agreed to work on developing pipeline projects and programs, particularly in green infrastructure and clean energy, under the $10 billion climate financing commitment of the ADB for the period 2024 to 2029,” it added.

As of the end of September, the ADB committed $9.67 billion of official development assistance (ODA) to the Philippines, equivalent to 28% of the country’s ODA portfolio.

In 2022, the ADB was the country’s top provider of active ODA, accounting for 33.47% of the total or $10.85 billion. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson