TODAY’S AGENDA | Excise taxes on fuel will likely be suspended, DOF official says

4 months ago

(OCTOBER 11, 2018) – Despite the repeated pronouncements of the Department of Finance that the government cannot just suspend a provision in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, Finance Assistant Secretary Tony Lambino has expressed belief that the second wave of increase in fuel excise tax will be halted.

“If things continue the way they are, the next increase will be suspended. I actually don’t think the next tranche (of TRAIN LAW) will be implemented. I think the suspension mechanism in the law will kick in,” Lambino said in an interview with One News’ Agenda.

Under the TRAIN law, the suspension of the increase in fuel excise tax will be allowed when Dubai crude oil price based on the Means of Platts Singapore (MOPS) averages $80 per barrel for three consecutive months before the next increase.

The price of Brent crude touched $83.32 in early October, its highest level in almost four years.

The Finance official, meanwhile, maintained that the looming suspension would be an “overpromising relief” to consumers.

“I think there’s a lot of misinformation around the fuel excise tax of the TRAIN law. [F]uel does have a contribution to inflation but it’s not as big as most people think,” Lambino said.

Minority senators on Wednesday filed a joint resolution seeking to suspend the excise taxes on fuel to lessen the burden of consumers amid the soaring prices of basic goods.

Inflation skyrocketed to 6.7 percent in September, with food products still the biggest driver.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senators Francis Pangilinan, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Risa Hontiveros, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Leila de Lima filed Senate Joint Resolution No. 15 which also seeks a roll back on fuel taxes to rates as of December 30, 2017, or before TRAIN law was implemented.

President Rodrigo Duterte in an earlier speech said he would look into the proposal.