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FIRB grants tax incentives to Converge

Broadband internet provider Converge ICT Solutions Inc. has been granted tax incentives by the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) for its nationwide rollout of fiber optic network for high-speed broadband services, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Wednesday.

In a statement, the DOF said the tax perks given to Converge were approved upon the recommendation of the Board of Investments (BOI).

The company’s P150.6-billion fiber broadband rollout project was granted four years of income tax holiday (ITH), followed by five years of enhanced deductions, and 11 years of duty exemption on importations of capital equipment, raw materials, spare parts, or accessories from the date of registration, unless otherwise extended in the Strategic Investment Priority Plan (SIPP), according to the department.

The agency said the SIPP will determine the priority industries, projects, and activities that can be granted fiscal incentives by the government under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act.

Through this project, the DOF said Converge is expected to fulfill its performance commitments such as providing better and cheaper internet access in the country’s unserved and underserved communities and strengthening interconnectivity in these areas where the connection is normally slow and unsteady. 

“We expect Converge to deliver on its  performance commitment of faster and cheaper Internet access in remote localities as this will not only address our pain points with regard to connectivity but also provide more employment opportunities to our people in rural areas,” said Finance Secretary and FIRB chairman Carlos Dominguez III.

Apart from Converge, the FIRB also approved the tax perks for three more telcos—telecommunication tower companies SkyTowers Infra Inc., Frontier Tower Associates Philippines Inc., and Transcend Towers Infrastructure Philippines Inc., the DOF said.

The applications of these three tower companies were likewise endorsed by the BOI, it said.

The DOF said that the FIRB granted the three telcos the same incentives package as Converge, but on the condition that all of their towers be built and located in areas that currently lack service.

“The approval of these projects is urgent, given the current gap in the number of towers needed to service our population,” said FIRB secretariat head and Finance Assistant Secretary Juvy Danofrata.

“We are optimistic that these approved applications will pave the way for our country to finally have improved connectivity and more quality service." —VBL, GMA News