Bulk of dividends spent on COVID response

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    The dividends remitted by government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) in 2020 hit a record-high of P156.97 billion, the Department of Finance (DOF) said in a statement yesterday.

    The DOF’s corporate affairs group (CAG) said the amount remitted last year by 57 GOCCs to the Bureau of the Treasury was the highest amount ever collected since the implementation of Republic Act No. 7656 or the Dividends Law in 1994.

    “This is more than twice of the P69.17 billion dividend collection in 2019,” Antonette Tionko, DOF undersecretary, said,, adding “these GOCC dividends were primarily utilized for the Social Amelioration Program, which provided emergency assistance to low-income families to help tide them over during the strict lockdowns imposed earlier last year to curb the spread of COVID-19.

    According to Tionko, P119.1 billion of the GOCCs’ dividend remittances contributed to the government’s unprogrammed revenues.

    The top 10 dividend contributors, led by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas with P40.53 billion, and the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. with P17.98 billion, remitted 87 percent of the total dividends collected in 2020, Tionko added.

    This year, Tionko said the CAG will continue to instill fiscal discipline among GOCCs, especially those with existing arrears, to ensure their compliance with the Dividends Law and its implementing rules and regulations.

    She said the CAG was able to secure an agreement with the Governance Commission for GOCCs in 2020 for the transfer of the web-based GOCC Debt Recording and Monitoring System (GDRAMS) to the DOF.

    This reporting system aims to streamline the data reporting process and facilitate the timely encoding and submission of the GOCCs of their debt reports, Tionko said.

    “GDRAMS will help in the analysis of GOCC debt and better manage the government’s financial exposure and strategy formulation,” Tionko said.

    She said the DOF will further enhance the GDRAMS and train GOCCS on the use of the system so that it could be fully implemented this year.