I wrote this last April 3, 2008:
In a news report today in Manila Times, the headline news in its Business section is "IMF calls for higher taxes, more cuts in fiscal perks",
The top IMF bureaucrat in the country, Mr. Reza Baquir, the IMF resident representative, is referring to higher excise tax -- most likely on tobacco and alcohol products. If the IMF will also advocate increasing, instead of abolishing, excise tax on gasoline products, then they're really a bunch of shameless bureaucrats who just live off on endless taxes for their salaries and perks. But he or any other IMF official made no mention about excise tax on gasoline, so no comment at the moment.
They are also proposing "improved tax administration". Meaning those multiple taxes, many of which you won't even hear or being imposed in the country's richer neighbors like HK, Singaporeare and Malaysia, should be strictly imposed and collected.
I'm sure the IMF bureaucrats are aware of the WB-IFC's annual study, "Doing Business". In that study, in collaboration with top auditing, tax and law offices in each country being surveyed, the number of procedures, number of days, costs, etc. of opening a business, closing a business, paying taxes, etc. are being tallied and countries are ranked who are the most bureaucratic and who are the most business-friendly.
The Philippines is always among those most bureaucratic, most number of taxes and fees, among Asian countries. The IMF bureaucrats, along with their counterparts from the WB, ADB, USAID, etc. who also attended the recent Philippine Development Forum (PDF) are aware of these.
And the IMF officials, along with their local counterparts called "local consultants" are not even in the mood to call for reduction of number of taxes and strict implementation of those that will be retained. I mean, why should the Philippines have 47 different taxes for medium-sized firms when HK would have only 4, Singapore only 5, Japan only 13, and even socialist Vietnam has 32 and socialist China has 35? The IMF and their local counterparts would be calling for "better tax administration" so that all those 47 taxes will be collected from the struggling Philippine enterprises? Good grief!
The leftist groups -- from the socialist to national democrats to other variants -- are wrong when they attack the IMF (and WB) for being a "neo-liberal" institution. At the end of the day, the leftist groups and the IMF, along with other UN agencies, have one thing in common: they all love high taxes, more government subsidies and intervention, less personal responsibility. Make many services as "government responsibility", close but not too close, to socialism.
In socialism, government socializes housing, health care, education, pension, transportation, etc. And the poor become "equal" with the otherwise rich people. But the state also socializes the people's pockets and savings, their dreams and aspirations. So many people would rather be lazy and irresponsible because if they work hard and earn big, the state will socialize their income anyway. If they're lazy and poor, the state has socialized education, health care and housing ready for them.
IMF socialism is cute. Their bureaucrats get tax-free income, tax-free importation for their luxury cars, and they live off on taxes, that is why they have to call for higher taxes, less tax holidays, and better tax administration.