NATIONAL Electrification Administration (NEA) chief, Edgardo Masongsong, said he is pleased that the Tax Reform Act is being deliberated in Congress, particularly the issue on taxing electric cooperatives (ECs).
“We are working with Congressman Lord Allan Velasco and Senator Win Gatchalian, as well as the Department of Energy (DOE), and Department of Finance to urge the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review the opinion stated in Republic Act 10531 (National Electrification Administration Act of 2013), which says the provision of RA 7160, or the local government code, as regards the tax exemption for cooperatives registered with the CDA (Cooperative Development Authority) shall also apply to ECs,” Masongsong said as he faced reporters at the “Usaping Balita Media Forum” held at the Quezon Memorial Circle Thursday.
”We are looking forward that the opinion of the DOJ shall be favorable to granting ECs registered with the NEA to be tax exempt as well.”
The NEA chief emphasized that the government must focus all its efforts in promoting sustainable development in the countryside, as stated in Presidential Decree 269.
“The government should reinforce NEA and ECs to achieve this national policy,” he said.
Meanwhile, NEA also bared a proposal for the establishment of a cooperative bank, in light of the launch of the National Center of Electric Cooperative Consumers last April 26.
This proposed bank will be known as the Electric Cooperative Consumers Bank, where consumers may deposit as little as P10 per month in their savings accounts.
”There’s really a potential as far as electric cooperative consumers are concerned. Imagine, if all those 12 million connections contributed at least P10 each every month. That would be mobilizing more than P100 million or about P1.2 billion a year. If that had been done in the past 10 years, maybe consumers could have mobilized P12 billion already,” Masongsong explained.
In addition, ECs can deposit their collections so that when they need it, funds would be available for loans needed for their capital expenditure projects.
Lastly, he said, in line with the DOE’s vision of creating wealth through rural electrification, a cooperative bank would enable consumers to borrow money at lower interest rates so they could start their own livelihood projects or expand their existing livelihood activities. Abs A. Abando/PNA