The Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) is further strengthening its collaboration with the Department of Finance-Bureau of Local Government Finance (DOF-BLGF) as it signed recently (November 27, 2017) a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) relative to extending assistance to BOI registered firms seeking for local business tax (LBT) exemption and other investment-related concerns.

Under Section 133(g) of the Local Government Code, business enterprises certified by the BOI as pioneer and non-pioneer for a period of six and four years respectively, are exempted from paying LBT from the date of registration. However, despite this provision, the agency has received issues and concerns from BOI-registered enterprises and their difficulties in getting LBT exemption.

To address the issue, the BOI held discussions with the BLGF in December 2016. BLGF then, serving as the focal agency and an authority in local finance that aims to be at the forefront of local economic growth, issued Memorandum Circular No. 01-001-2017 on January 5, 2017 reminding all Provincial, City, and Municipal Treasurers and Assistant Treasurers on the assessment of the LBT and registration and renewal of business permits and licenses and payment of community tax.

The discussions between the two agencies levelled up further with the signing of a MOA aimed at further collaborating to better assist investors.

Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said the MOA is expected to further ease the cost of doing business in the country. “It is important that we offer a conducive environment to investors, a place where they could easily transact with government agency requirements,” he said adding that the move will further entice existing investors to expand operations in the country and attract more prospective investors as well.

The agreement with DOF-BLGF is the eight among the MOAs signed by BOI to complement its efforts in promoting the ease of doing business in the Philippines. The BOI, through its Investment Assistance Service (IAS), has seven other MOAs with Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Tourism (DOT), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Department of Health (DOH)-Health Facilities Regulatory and Services Bureau (HFRSB), Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).

BOI signs MOA with BLGF on investor assistance
In photo: BOI Director Domingo Bagaporo (left) signing the MOA on behalf of BOI Executive Director for Investments Assistance Raul Angeles. He is joined by DOF-BLGF OIC Executive Director Nino Raymond Alvina (right).

Under the MOA, BGLF will provide BOI with copies of all relevant local finance and memorandum circulars, local tax opinions and rulings, and real property tax opinions and rulings on all matters dealing with local treasury and assessment at the provincial, city, and municipality level. BOI, in turn, will assist BLGF in disseminating such information to all its clients.

BLGF will also authorize BOI representatives or personnel to assist its clients in the submission and follow up of its concerns and queries with the LGUs on matters dealing with local treasury and assessment at the provincial, city, and municipal level.

BOI meanwhile will also provide BLGF a list of BOI-registered enterprises for validation purposes, especially those requesting or issued with certification of local business tax exemption that needed data, information, or document through proper channels and coordination relative to the request for assistance, concerns, or queries of BOI firms to assist the prompt disposition of issues.

BOI will also regularly coordinate and enhance linkages with BLGF to better facilitate pending investment-related issues, concerns, and queries.

“Clearly, the sustained economic growth of the country benefitted from policy reforms and increased collaboration to improve the ease of doing business in the country. The country’s current investment climate should benefit not only firms – whether foreign and domestic, large or small – but society at large,” Undersecretary Rodolfo said.♦