Rice con­tri­bu­tion to in­fla­tion grew ten­fold – DOF

Watchmen Daily Journal - - Business -

Ba­sic food items, such as rice, fish, meat, and veg­eta­bles, have been ma­jor driv­ers of in­fla!on this year with the con­tribu!on of rice ris­ing 10 !mes to 1 per­cent­age point of the in­fla!on rate, the Depart­ment of Fi­nance (DOF) said in a state­ment yes­ter­day.

Ac­cord­ing to the Philip­pine Sta!s!cs Agency (PSA) data, rice was the num­ber one con­trib­u­tor to in­fla!on last month, while food items in the con­sump!on bas­ket ac­counted for more than half of the in­fla!on rate in the same month.

In its pre­senta!on dur­ing the lat­est Cabi­net mee!ng, the DOF bared that in con­trast, the con­tribu!on of non‐food items, such as elec­tric­ity, gas and other fu­els, has slowed down since July this year.

“Rice tar­if­fica!on re­forms in food and pol­icy are needed to ad­dress the re­peated rice sup­ply prob­lems,” Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Car­los Dominguez III said dur­ing the Cabi­net mee!ng.

Ac­cord­ing to the depart­ment, the rice tar­if­fica!on bill, once passed into law, is ex­pected to lib­er­al­ize the im­porta!on 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 cer!fied as ur­gent by Pres­i­dent Duterte. Eco­nomic man­agers said lib­er­al­iz­ing rice im­ports will re­duce the re­tail price of rice by P2 to P7 per kilo­gram, based on lat­est es!mates, and re­duce in­fla!on rate by 0.4 per­cent­age points.

Among the short‐term mea­sures rec­om­mended by the DOF dur­ing the mee!ng were for the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture (DA) to un­der­take steps to bring down food prices, and for the de­part­ments of so­cial wel­fare and trans­porta!on to speed up the re­lease and dis­tribu!on of cash cards to the poor­est house­holds and fuel sub­sidy cards to oper­a­tors of pub­lic u!lity ve­hi­cles, re­spec!vely.

The re­lease of un­condi!onal cash trans­fers by the so­cial wel­fare depart­ment and fuel sub­si­dies through the Pantawid Pasada Pro­gram are among the so­cial mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures un­der the Tax Re­form for Ac­cel­er­a­tion and In­clu­sion Act that are meant to cush­ion the im­pact of in­fla­tion on vul­ner­a­ble sec­tors.

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