By Beatrice M. Laforga, Reporter

THE Bureau of Customs (BoC) collected P44.69 billion in November, exceeding the revised target for the sixth consecutive month, but it was still lower than year-ago level as imports remained weak amid the pandemic.

In a statement Tuesday, the BoC said its collections last month exceeded its P42.221-billion goal by 5.85%, citing preliminary data.

The bureau has surpassed its monthly targets since June. It slashed its full-year target due to the global economic slowdown.

The November tally, however, was 11.67% smaller than P50.592 billion collected in the month prior and also 11.35% lower compared with P50.414 billion collected in November of 2019.

The decline in collections was expected, said BoC Assistant Commissioner and Spokesperson Vincent Philip C. Maronilla, since the volume of imports is still weaker than its year-ago level.

“Import volume is still down compared to last year and there is an increase in low value imports,” he said.

Mr. Maronilla said historically, the month of November usually sees lower imports than in October based on their data.

The BoC said twelve of the 17 collection districts reached their targets that month, namely the ports of Manila, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Batangas, Cebu, Tacloban, Surigao, Cagayan De Oro, Zamboanga, Davao, Subic, Clark and Aparri.

In the 11-months to November, the bureau raked in P493.324 billion to account for 97.47% of its full-year target worth P506.15 billion. Before the pandemic, Customs was meant to collect P730 billion this year.

Latest collections by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the country’s largest tax-collecting agency, has not been released at the deadline time. The BIR’s collection target for the year has been slashed 23% to P1.744 trillion.

Government’s overall revenues are projected to fall sharply to P2.612 trillion this year as tax collections drop amid the economic downturn.