Aug 082013

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine retailers should source materials for their products locally in order to contribute to economic growth through improved income of more people and stronger domestic consumption, a cabinet official said.

Speaking at the 22nd National Retail Conference, Finance secretary Cesar Purisima said retailers have a role to play for the country to sustain its strong economic growth.

He said that while the country has seen economic gains during the past three years, it now faces the challenge of sustaining the strong investor confidence and positive economic performance in the coming years.

“Instead of doing the easy way by ordering from China or importing from abroad, (you retailers should) start looking at how you can engage Filipino suppliers,” he said.

For instance, Purisima said those in the food business should source their vegetables locally by engaging with Filipino farmers and telling them to produce according to their requirements.

By sourcing locally, retailers could help local suppliers by providing them a market, as well as helping them earn more.

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Helping them earn more in turn would enable them to consume more goods, which would also be beneficial to retailers.

Purisima said that to encourage retailers to engage with local suppliers for their products, the Department of Finance (DoF) is open to providing perks or assistance such as duty-free importation of capital equipment as well as building infrastructure, making credit available and providing training.

The DoF however, does not support providing income tax holidays as perks.

“We don’t support income tax as perks because the idea of perks is to make businesses viable. That means businesses will not make money without perks but if they are making money already, that means they are viable. If they’re viable, they have to pay taxes just like the rest of us,” Purisima said.

Apart from encouraging retailers to get materials for their products from the local market to contribute to sustaining the country’s economic growth, Purisima said they must also pay their taxes.

This, as tax compliance remains low.

“This is the most important duty of every citizen because without resources we can’t invest in infrastructure. Without resources we can’t have social services. Without resources, we can’t have stability and security,” Purisima said.

The government registered revenues of P131.09 billion in June, bringing the first semester figure to P839.46 billion, up 10.3 percent from P760.92 billion.

This, however, is short of P861.04-billion target for the period.

The National Retail Conference organized by the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA), was held to provide the latest trends in the retail landscape.

The PRA groups over 300 companies such as retailers, mall and shopping center operators, traders or suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers, among others.

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