FINANCE Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd has asked the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to return to the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) the interest earned by the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC) from P32.6 billion in funds to help augment the government’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response and disaster relief efforts.
In his letter to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Dominguez said the P1.15 billion earned by the PITC from the funds it has been holding in trust as of 2019 was recorded as interest income of the state-run firm, when these should have been remitted to the National Treasury.
He said PITC’s interest earnings came from the cash and investment balances transferred by several national government agencies to PITC for the procurement of various requirements.
These fund balances, which are considered as trust liabilities of the PITC, amount to P33.3 billion and P32.6 billion as of the end of 2019 and Oct. 31, 2020, respectively.
“Following our discussion, we would like to request the return to the Bureau of the Treasury by PITC, the interest earned on such funds held in trust. From 2018 to 2019, the interest earned on such funds totaled P1.151 billion,” Dominguez said in his letter to Lopez.
The Finance chief also cited a 2019 report by the Commission on Audit (COA), which found that PITC recorded its interest earnings “aggregating P581.135 million as of Dec. 31, 2019,” as the corporation’s income, “instead of remitting the same to the National Treasury.”
The COA said this practice “is not in accordance with Presidential Decree 1445 and Department of Finance Circular 01-2017,” referring to the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines and the DoF’s amended guidelines on authorized government depository banks, respectively.