Panel approves tax provisions of Sugar Cane Industry Development Bill

THE House Committee on Ways and Means chaired by Rep. Isidro Ungab (3rd District, Davao City) approved two tax provisions contained in a bill strengthening the development of the sugar cane industry in the Philippines.

Approved by the Committee on Ways and Means were the tax provisions Section 3 (A) (2) on the industry-wide development of the sugar cane industry and Section 3 (B) (4) on the regulation of the sugar industry.

Prior to its referral to the Committee on Ways and Means for discussion of the tax provisions, the unnumbered substitute bill to House Bill 6113 principally authored by Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez (3rd District, Negros Occidental) was approved in principle by the Committee on Agriculture and Food chaired by Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza (4th District, Batangas).

Section 3 (A) (2) provides for “The establishment of Special Economic Zones for Sugar Cane Industry pursuant to Republic Act 7916 (Special Economic Zone Act of 1995), and, or the designation and establishment of nuclear farms or Agro-Industrial Districts for Sugar Cane Industry to be entitled to the existing fiscal incentives under Book VI of Executive Order 226, otherwise known as the Omnibus Investments Code of 1987, as well as Sections 4, 5,6 and 7 of R.A. 10000, otherwise known as the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act of 2009, promoting , among others, block or corporate farming to achieve economies of scale.”

Section 3 (B) (4), meanwhile, provides “The export of refined sugar to the world market shall be subjected to Value Added Tax (VAT) zero percent rate from the time it is withdrawn or released from the sugar mill or refinery, including refined sugar withdrawn for constructive export to Customs Bonded Warehouse (CBW) of food processors that are duly licensed and registered with the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA).”

The bill aims to revitalize and strengthen the sugar cane industry through a diversification, development, and financing program promoting the interests of sugarcane farmers or planters, mills workers and consumers as well as contributing to the food security objectives of the national government.

Benitez said by 2015, the tariff on sugar shall have been lifted, and this scenario has spawned numerous reactions of uncertainty from the sugar planters, millers and consumers alike.

“It is therefore incumbent upon our policy makers to institute measures, both by legislation and through executive implementation, of specific programs and projects that will cushion, if not counter, the possible destabilization effects of the 2015 ‘no tariff’ provision of the sugar cane industry as a whole,” said Benitez.


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