FIRB has monitoring system for CREATE-incentivized investors

The Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) has put up its Fiscal Incentives Registration and Monitoring System (FIRMS) as one of the major accomplishments of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act since it was signed into law last year by President Duterte, according to Finance Assistant Secretary and FIRB Secretariat Head Juvy Danofrata.

FIRMS is an online registration and incentives application portal on the FIRB website that investors or enterprises can access once they submit or monitor their applications for tax incentives with any of the government’s investment promotion agencies (IPAs).

“The development of FIRMS is a representation of our efforts to ensure uniformity and organization in the FIRB processes, specifically for a more transparent, automated and easier tax incentive application, approval, and monitoring of our stakeholders,” Danofrata said during a Department of Finance (DOF) briefing in which she presented the milestones in the CREATE Law since its enactment on March 26, 2021.

Pursuant to the CREATE Act, the FIRB is mandated to oversee the grant of incentives for projects with investment value amounting to more than P1 billion each.

The FIRMS was actually launched in June last year for the benefit primarily of investors whose projects have been granted incentives by the FIRB in keeping with the provisions of the CREATE.

Under CREATE, the FIRB approved the grant of tax incentives for the construction and operations of the railway of the Makati subway project, which was the biggest project investment amounting to P81 billion accorded with tax incentives in 2021.

The project is set to begin operations in 2026, and is expected to contribute to the development of Metro Manila’s transport system, particularly in the country’s premier financial district.

For this year, the biggest project approved thus far and granted tax perks by the FIRB was for the establishment of connectivity facilities for high-speed broadband services of the Converge ICT Solutions, Inc.

The investment value of Converge’s multi-phased project is P151 billion.

To date, the FIRB has approved and granted incentives to 11 big-ticket projects with a combined investment capital of P368 billion.

These projects involve cement manufacturing activities, construction of mass housing units, shipbuilding, rail operations of a subway and communications infrastructures.

“Most of these incentivized investments are located outside the National Capital Region (NCR), thereby energizing rural development and generating more jobs in the countryside,” Danofrata said.

Danofrata also mentioned the FIRB Secretariat’s continuous initiatives to assist its stakeholders, especially the IPAs and their registered business enterprises (RBEs).

She reported that the FIRB Secretariat has been conducting regular town hall meetings as well as releasing monthly e-newsletters to all IPA heads and relevant staff to proactively relay updates on FIRB resolutions, policies and activities.

At the end of her presentation at a recent DOF executive committee (ExeCom) meeting, Danofrata mentioned the success of the Secretariat’s on-site IPA Workshop Series that has trained a total of 152 IPA staff in doing cost-benefit analysis (CBA) and in navigating FIRMS.

“The various engagements led by the Secretariat are aligned with our commitment to assist our stakeholders on the implementation of the CREATE Act and its IRR,” Danofrata said.

“We recognize our stakeholders’ crucial role in effectively carrying out the provisions of the CREATE Act. Our joint effort with all stakeholders is important for us to establish a performance-based, time-bound, targeted and transparent tax incentives regime in the country,” she added.