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August 28, 2007
Seaweed industry opposed to tax

MANILA, Aug 28 Asia Pulse - Still reeling from the unstable exchange rate of peso against the US dollar and low supply of raw materials due to the effect of climate change, Philippine seaweed exporters have reiterated their call on the government to cancel the one per cent agricultural tax.

"Its only one per cent but that’s going to cost us a lot," said Benson Dakay, president of the Seaweed Industry Association of the Philippines (SIAP) and chief executive officer of Cebu-based Shemberg Corp.

Dakay said SIAP is appealing to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to cancel the tax that will affect all agricultural suppliers, including those of seaweeds.

He said the government lifted the one per cent tax on agriculture suppliers in 2004. However, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), in Memorandum Circular 44-2207 dated July 7 and signed by BIR officer-in-charge Lilian Hefti, is imposing the tax again.

The circular states that agricultural suppliers cannot claim exemption from the imposition of withholding tax on their sales to top the 10,000 private corporations base on the suspension granted by Revenue Regulation 3-2004.

Dakay warned the tax imposition will result in the closure of half of the country's 25 seaweed processors and loss of income for seaweed farmers and thousands of workers. PNA reports

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