THE MARITIME industry regulator said it wants to attract private organizations to continue engaging in shipbuilding and repair by developing a scheme of tax incentives.
In a statement Sunday, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) said it will start the creation of financing schemes alongside reviewing the implementation of the Domestic Shipping Development Act of 2004, or Republic Act (RA) 9295, to ensure the industry remains appealing to the private sector.
“MARINA has committed to formulate an attractive financing scheme and to review existing incentive programs for the players in the domestic shipping and shipbuilding industries. The agency will also review regulations to accelerate fleet modernization programs, as well as modernize naval ships and maritime security assets,” it said.
MARINA said it found only 103 of 2,148 imported ships from 2014 to 2017 eligible for Value-Added Tax (VAT) exemptions, despite domestic shipping policies that entitle some cases to investment incentives.
Chapter II of RA 9295 outlines investment incentives for the domestic shipping industry, specifying scenarios for companies to receive VAT exemptions such as when importing passenger and cargo vessels weighing 150 tons or above.
“[T]here is a need to increase awareness among stakeholders about the provisions of RA 9295,” it said, noting it recently conducted an assessment of RA 9295 with the International Finance Corp.–World Bank.
It added that it will also push for other improvements in the industry by encouraging investment in research and development, modernizing shipyard facilities and conducting regular training for shipbuilders. — Denise A. Valdez