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IMF says SMS tax could help Philippines

MANILA: International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde urged the Philippines yesterday to tax mobile phone messages to shore up state funds in a country sometimes called the world’s text message capital.
Such a tax could boost proceeds from revised “sin taxes” set to be passed by the country’s Parliament, she told a news conference during an overnight visit to Manila.
Lagarde said Vice-President Jejomar Binay told her telephone coverage in the country of nearly 100 million people has reached to 112 percent, thanks to the popularity of mobile phones for sending short messages cheaply.
“(This) clearly satisfies one of the two criteria for what we call a good taxation... a very broad base,” she told reporters.
However she said the government must be the one to decide what kind of taxes it imposes.