FIRB convenes members under new admin, tackles rationalization and streamlining guidelines

The Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) convened its new members under the Marcos administration to discuss the rationalization of investor fees and streamlining of the FIRB’s monitoring and evaluation processes, among other matters.

The FIRB is chaired by Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Benjamin Diokno and co-chaired by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Alfredo Pascual.

Other members include the Office of the President (OP) Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Arsenio Balisacan.

The powers and functions of the Cabinet-level inter-agency body were enhanced and expanded by the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises or CREATE Act.

“The mandate of the FIRB is crucial in our efforts to strengthen the government’s economic recovery initiatives and to implement sound fiscal management in the country,” said Secretary Diokno on Thursday (August 4) after the 15th FIRB meeting.

Secretary Diokno underscored the importance of leveraging the CREATE Act to realize the country’s huge potential as an investment destination, in line with the economic priorities of the Marcos administration.

In the meeting, the FIRB approved the designation of the FIRB Technical Committee, which named DOF Undersecretary Antonette Tionko as the chairperson.

The members of the committee include DTI Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba, DBM Undersecretary Joselito Basilio, NEDA OIC-Undersecretary Carlos Abad-Santos, Bureau of Customs (BOC) Deputy Commissioner Vener Baquiran, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Deputy Commissioner Marissa Cabreros, Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) OIC-Chairperson Johannes Bernabe, and a representative from the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES).

Meanwhile, in line with its efforts to streamline processes and reporting requirements, the Board adopted a new set of guidelines for the submission of reports by the investment promotion agencies (IPAs).

Previously, the FIRB required the submission of 10 reports, which is now reduced to eight. This aims to capture the outcome of the cost and benefits of incentivized projects and the compliance on performance commitments by the registered business enterprises.

The overall impact and realization of CREATE’s target outcomes such as productivity enhancement, job generation, and countryside development are also measured through the reduced number of required submissions.

The Board also approved the rationalization and formulation of guidelines on the fees collected by the IPAs.

“This initiative of the FIRB to harmonize the fees set by the IPAs relating to the business enterprises’ application and availment of tax incentives ensures uniformity and promotes equity, which in turn serves the best interest of our stakeholders and potential investors,” said Secretary Diokno.

Consultations with the IPAs are scheduled in the last quarter of the year, with the final guidelines, including the final rates, targeted to be approved and published by December 2022.