Baguio still in good financial standing – Tabin

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The City Accounting Office underscored the city government is still in a good financial standing amidst a slight shortfall in the projected collections last year.

City Accountant Antonio Tabin disclosed the city government projected to collect more than P2.56 billion income from both internal and external sources last year but it was only able to collect more than P2.0227 billion which was short by over P28 million from the projected target collection.

However, he explained that the shortfall does not mean that the city’s finance officers failed in their collection efforts but there are other factors that caused the shortfall in the projected collections that was supposed to balance the city’s budget last year.

“No project or service of the local government had been affected despite the shortfall in our target collections from our internal and external sources,” Tabin stressed.

The city accountant explained that included in the projected income last year was the over P217 million income supposedly derived from the proposed adjustments in the schedule of market values for real property taxes but the local legislative body failed to pass the ordinance governing the said adjustment that resulted to the non-collection of the projected revenue.

He pointed out that if the local government was able to collect the P117 million guaranteed increase from the real property tax collections of the city last year, then there would have been a surplus of over P88 million from the projected revenue collections.

On the other hand, Tabin claimed the city government saved more than P86 million from unfilled positions and this was sufficient to cover the incurred shortfall.

According to him, of the P2.056 billion programmed expenses from last year’s budget, only P1.976 billion worth of programs, projects and activities were obligated considering the savings incurred from the supposed unfilled positions in the plantilla of the local government.

Tabin also emphasized that offices that have pending unimplemented programs, projects and activities last year could still implement the same this year as the local government still operates on an obligation-based budgeting system as the city is still awaiting the guidelines for the cash-based budgeting to be initially implemented by the national government this year.

The department head asserted that the local government has no outstanding debt from any financial institution despite the numerous offers for the city to avail of long-term loans to bankroll the implementation of high-impact development projects beneficial to the greater majority of the populace.

The City Accounting Office is in charge of maintaining a record of the local government’s financial transactions ranging from the processing of allotment and obligations, disbursement vouchers among other related documents prior to the release of the payments for programs, projects and activities that have been implemented.

Tabin assured the city government’s fiscal position is still good even if no additional revenue measures were enacted to augment the income generated from the taxes paid but its potential sources of income are already being pushed to the limit.

By Dexter A. See

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