Rice con­tri­bu­tion to in­fla­tion grew ten­fold

Sun.Star Davao - - BUSINESS - DOF

Manila -- Ba­sic food items, such as rice, fish, meat and veg­eta­bles, have been ma­jor driv­ers of in­fla­tion this year with the con­tri­bu­tion of rice ris­ing 10 times to 1 per­cent­age point of the in­fla­tion rate, the De­part­ment of Fi­nance (DOF) said in a state­ment on Thurs­day.

Ac­cord­ing to the Philip­pine Sta­tis­tics Agency (PSA) data, rice was the num­ber one con­trib­u­tor to in­fla­tion last month, while food items in the con­sump­tion bas­ket ac­counted for more than half of the in­fla­tion rate in the same month.

The DOF bared that in con­trast, the con­tri­bu­tion of non-food items, such as elec­tric­ity, gas and other fu­els, has slowed down since July this year.

“Rice tar­if­fi­ca­tion and re­forms in food pol­icy are needed to ad­dress the re­peated rice sup­ply prob­lems,” Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Car­los Dominguez III said dur­ing the Cab­i­net meet­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to the de­part­ment, the rice tar­if­fi­ca­tion bill, once passed into law, is ex­pected to lib­er­al­ize the im­por­ta­tion of rice in the coun­try and help re­duce rice prices while pro­vid­ing enough sup­port for lo­cal farm­ers who will be af­fected by the in­flux of cheaper rice im­ports.

This mea­sure has been cer­ti­fied as ur­gent by Pres­i­dent Duterte. Eco­nomic man­agers said lib­er­al­iz­ing rice im­ports will re­duce the re­tail price of rice by P2 to P7 per kilo­gram (kg), based on lat­est es­ti­mates, and re­duce in­fla­tion rate by 0.4 per­cent­age points. /

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