BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The leadership of Cadiz City government in Negros Occidental is eyeing more “local revenues” in raising more funds to help offset the P220 million reduction of its National Tax Allotment from the national government by next year.
With this development, Mayor Salvador Escalante Jr. yesterday said that this would also mean the reduction of P111 million in its budget for city development projects and its 20 Percent Development Fund.
Garnering 54,000 votes during May 9 elections, with nine of his 10 councilors elected into office, Escalante said it indicates high expectations from them from Cadiz City residents.
This will be a tall order for me, since the budget of Cadiz City was reduced by 15 percent, which is equivalent to P220 million, he added.
But the good news is, Escalante said that Cadiz City has a positive economic growth rate despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Citing a report of the Northern Negros Electric Cooperative, Escalante said that it has issued 8,500 new electrical permits in Cadiz City alone, from 2019 up to the present. “This only shows that business is very much alive in Cadiz City,” he added.
This is where we should focus our effort, he said, stressing also that they are willing to provide more incentives to businesses. But they have also to pay their taxes for us to compensate the P220 million budget reduction, Escalante further said.
He also revealed plans of a new solar power company to operate in Cadiz City, which would mean additional income for the local government unit.
Escalante, who led the distribution of awards to outstanding city taxpayers shortly before the inaugural rites at the Cadiz City Arena, urged the business community which is closest to his heart and mind, to remain steadfast amid hard times during this pandemic.
He congratulated all the taxpayers for their contribution to the government.
“Be proactive and let us continue as partners for building a strong economic climate that is based on fair play, honesty and sound business practices,” Escalante said.
He also vowed that his administration will continue to open new opportunities for investments and will create more incentive packages for those that will work with them, especially the Micro Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) and the transportation sector.
Inviting them to work with the city government to deliver competitive products in the market, Escalante said “allow me the opportunity to institutionalize common-use facilities to lessen your costs, give me the chance to extend government grants for those who are willing to adopt to environment-friendly and energy-efficient modes of public transportation, such as the E-Tricycle.”*