A gaping hole in the national budget brought about by the pandemic puts authorities under pressure to intensify revenue generating efforts.
Members of the Accredited Service Providers of PAGCOR (ASPAP) today cited the significant role of offshore gaming operations to help the nation rise from the crippling effects of COVID-19.
No less than House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman, Rep. Joey Salceda, has estimated that POGOs contribute around P94.7 billion annually to the country’s gross domestic product. He said that tax collection from POGOs in 2018 and 2019 alone reached P22.4 billion, inclusive of value added tax (VAT) from rent and from workers consumption.
PAGCOR’s own forecast provides a more compelling reason to allow the resumption of POGO (Philippine Online Gaming Operator) operation, ASPAP spokesperson Atty. Margarita Gutierrez said. It projects annual collection of fees to reach P10 billion, while withholding taxes on both foreign and local POGO workers are estimated at P12.25 billion.
Add to that rental VAT payments for offices and housing (around P3 billion), Department of Labor and Employment permits (P6 billion), and fees of direct hired agencies (P3 billion), PAGCOR says the annual collections from taxes and fees from POGOs should be around P34 billion.
Also, an estimated P33 billion would be injected to the local economy by foreign POGO workers through their daily expenses, rental payments for offices and houses totalling P21 billion, and P16.4 billion in wages for staff, the total contribution of POGOs to the country could reach as high as P104 billion per year according to PAGCOR.
"Revenues which POGOs pump into the economy are way beyond the regulatory fees and taxes directly paid to the authorities," Gutierrez said, With government’s deficit expected to balloon up to P1 trillion due to the pandemic, Gutierrez said the income from offshore
gaming and the ripples of benefits it would bring could provide the additional resources for critical coronavirus response programs.
“We are committed to fully support the country’s roadmap to economic recovery and we hope that all sectors will pour their efforts toward this goal,” she said.