Make technology part of econ plan, gov’t urged

Jul. 04, 2009

DAVAO CITY — Businessmen urged that technology, particularly information technology (IT), be made an integral part of the government’s Economic Resiliency Plan (ERP)

Jefferson Plaza, president of Computer Manufacturers, Distributors and Dealers Association of the Philippines (Comddap), announced during the recent 14th Davao City exhibit that the Commission on Information and Communication Technology (CICT) is spearheading moves to have IT be part of the ERP. This would benefit mostly micro, small and medium-scale enterprises since these technologies can make their businesses cost-effective and productive.

Plaza said that there are roundtable discussions attended by Comddap and other groups spearheaded by the CICT. This aims to streamline importation processes of information communication technology (ICT) goods, which he says are very tedious and costly.

“For every movement, there is cost involved,” Plaza says. He cites the need to procure a permit from the Optical Media Board (OMB) for a pointing device like the mouse. Then there are the National Telecommunications Communication (NTC) permits and stickers. The putting of stickers in the devices would also entail added labor costs.

Another proposal is the scrapping of value-added tax (VAT) on the purchase of IT equipment like computers and other peripherals. According to Bing Lastrilla Comddap director, other Asian countries have scrapped the VAT on IT purchases.

Plaza says they are currently discussing the VAT exemption proposal. Hopefully, a position paper would be drafted by August.

Lastrilla said that technology is a great enabler for businesses especially now when the world is in the midst of an economic crisis. “This is the time for innovation,” he said.

He said that IT products are becoming more accessible to the public, with prices are lowering at an index of 2 to 3 percent every year as manufacturers can offset the cost due to high demand.

Lastrilla says that many small businesses are still using spreadsheet for accounting and word processors for their business presentations. Many are also still into diskettes for storage, which are already outmoded technology. There is a need to update these technology since newer and better products are now available.

Comddap is an association of 41 manufacturers, distributors and dealers of computers and IT related products. (PIA XI)

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