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State firms remit P31.3-B dividends, higher by 64%

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By Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan, Reporter

FIFTY one of the 77 state-owned corporations paid out dividends amounting to P31.3 billion to the national government as of mid-July, the Department of Finance (DoF) said.

In a statement over the weekend, the Finance department said that the overall dividends remitted so far were 64% higher than the P19.1 billion recorded in the same period in 2017.

“The dividends recorded by the DoF’s Corporate Affairs Group (CAG) as of July 12 already exceed the full-year total of P27.735 billion contributed by GOCCs in 2016 and P30.45 billion in 2017, and is poised to easily surpass the record of P33.473 billion remitted in 2015,” the statement read.

Government owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) are required to declare and remit at least half of their income as dividends to the national government, as stated in Republic Act No. 7656, or the GOCC Dividend Law.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) was the top contributor after remitting a total of P6.22 billion as of mid-July.

It was followed by the Philippine Ports Authority with P3.10 billion; Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. with P2.844 billion; Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. with P2.59 billion; and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) with P 2.54 billion.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas also sent P2.5 billion; P2.25 billion from the Manila International Airport Authority; P963.79 million from Food Terminal Inc. (FTI); P959.04 million from the Development Bank of the Philippine; and P905.74 million from the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.

“From January 1 to July 12 we collected more than what we collected the whole year of 2017,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III was quoted as saying, noting that the government will hold a turnover ceremony with President Rodrigo R. Duterte receiving the checks.

“We [also] have to thank [Transportation] Secretary [Arthur P.] Tugade. He really helped. The big collections are from the DoTr (Department of Transportation) agencies,” said Mr. Dominguez.

The DoF also noted that the PSCO remitted dividends for the first time, after the Commission on Audit (CoA) interpreted that dividend payments should be remitted first before earmarking its revenues to a special fund.

“The [PCSO] charter says that any excess they have . . . should be reverted to the charity fund. A matter of interpretation. But we told them even CoA says that it’s after dividend payments and whatever excess — that one will be remitted to charity fund,” Finance Assistant Secretary Soledad Emilia F. Cruz said.

“The problem with this is more efficient use of government funds. A lot of these guys just accumulate the money . . . lying idle not being spent, they don’t have a program,” Mr. Dominguez said for his part.

Mr. Dominguez even proposed a “one-fund concept” where all GOCCs have a unitary depository account

“Everybody has one fund. You need money? You have to ask, not to keep your own. That is efficient cash management. We are not yet there but we are working towards that,” he said,

“Why should we pay interest when in fact it’s just lying around there in the corporate accounts,” he added.