Duterte or­ders ‘unim­peded’ rice im­por­ta­tions to tame in­fla­tion

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Nation -

PRES­I­DENT Ro­drigo Duterte has or­dered the “unim­peded” im­por­ta­tion of rice as one of the mea­sures to tame the el­e­vated in­fla­tion rate.

Duterte gave the in­struc­tion after Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Car­los Dominguez III, dur­ing the 30th Cabi­net meet­ing held on Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 8, in­formed the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive that the food bas­ket con­trib­uted largely to the in­fla­tion rate, which ac­cel­er­ated fur­ther to a nine-year high of 6.7 per­cent in Septem­ber.

“The most im­por­tant high­light of that meet­ing was the Pres­i­dent ap­proved unim­peded im­por­ta­tion of rice as a mea­sure to re­duce in­fla­tion,” Pres­i­den­tial Spokesper­son Harry Roque Jr. told a press con­fer­ence.

“The Pres­i­dent or­dered the unim­peded im­por­ta­tion of rice. He wants to flood the mar­ket with rice so that even if the price of crude and other prices of oil should go up still fur­ther, that the peo­ple will have ac­cess to af­ford­able rice,” he added.

Roque said rice traders would no longer be re­stricted from im­port­ing rice, as long as they pay tar­iffs..

He added that the Pres­i­dent’s or­der ef­fec­tively stopped the Na­tional Food Au­thor­ity (NFA) from lim­it­ing the amount of rice im­ports al­lowed to en­ter the coun­try.

“The is­sue was whether the sta­tus quo ac­tu­ally im­pedes the im­por­ta­tion of rice. Al­though the po­si­tion of some is that we are not im­ped­ing the im­por­ta­tion of rice, the re­al­ity was there were max­i­mum vol­umes al­lowed, and it was still the NFA dic­tat­ing how much rice should be im­ported by the coun­try,” the Palace of­fi­cial said.

“With the Pres­i­dent’s direc­tive, the NFA no longer has any say on how much rice should be im­ported. Any­one who can af­ford it and will pay tar­iffs will be al­lowed to im­port rice,” he added.

On Septem­ber 12, Duterte signed Ad­min­is­tra­tive Or­der (AO) 13 re­mov­ing non-tar­iff bar­ri­ers and stream­lin­ing ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­ce­dures on the im­por­ta­tion of agri­cul­tural prod­uct, after in­fla­tion reached a nineyear high of 6.4 per­cent in Au­gust.

Three mem­o­randa were also signed to re­duce the gap be­tween far­m­gate prices and re­tail prices of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, en­sure the ef­fi­cient and seam­less de­liv­ery of im­ported agri­cul­ture and fish­ery prod­ucts from the ports to mar­kets, and sta­bi­lize the prices of ba­sic agri­cul­tural com­modi­ties at rea­son­able lev­els.

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