Rice tar­iff to raise P28 B add’l rev­enues

The Philippine Star - - BUSINESS - By MARY GRACE PADIN

A pro­posal to im­pose a 35-per­cent tar­iff on im­ported rice may gen­er­ate up to P28 bil­lion in ad­di­tional rev­enue for the gov­ern­ment, based on a re­port from the Na­tional Eco­nomic and De­vel­op­ment Author­ity (NEDA).

Eco­nomic man­agers are push­ing for the re­moval of the quan­ti­ta­tive re­stric­tion on rice im­por­ta­tions in fa­vor of im­pos­ing tar­iffs to en­cour­age traders to im­port the com­mod­ity and al­low the in­flux of cheaper rice into the do­mes­tic mar­ket.

Ac­cord­ing to NEDA, the mea­sure is pro­jected to re­duce the price of rice by P4 to P7 per kilo­gram, ben­e­fit­ting­poor fam­i­lies, who spend around 20 per­cent of their bud­get on rice.

Ear­lier, the Bangko Sen­tral ng Pilip­inas said the pas­sage of the rice tar­if­fi­ca­tion bill cur­rently pend­ing in both houses of Congress could be­come a “game changer” that would help lower prices of rice, and thus over­all in­fla­tion.

BSP Deputy Gov­er­nor Diwa Guini­gundo said rice tar­if­fi­ca­tion may lower in­fla­tion by one per­cent­age point.

He said the down­ward ef­fect of rice tar­if­fi­ca­tion on in­fla­tion could mit­i­gate the up­ward pres­sure on in­fla­tion cre­ated by the Tax Re­form for Ac­cel­er­a­tion and In­clu­sion (TRAIN) Law.

Mean­while, Fi­nance Un­der­sec­re­tary and chief economist Gil Bel­tran ear­lier said the im­pend­ing ex­pi­ra­tion of the quan­ti­ta­tive re­stric­tions could pave way for the proposed re­or­ga­ni­za­tion of the Na­tional Food Author­ity (NFA).

“Given that im­port quo­tas will be elim­i­nated, the pri­vate sec­tor is en­cour­aged to in­crease im­por­ta­tions, thereby re­duc­ing im­port re­quire­ments of the NFA and its fi­nan­cial bur­den to the gov­ern­ment,” he said.

“The NFA can now re­or­ga­nize and limit its func­tion on pro­pri­etary ac­tiv­i­ties, in par­tic­u­lar buf­fer stock­ing for food se­cu­rity and calami­ties, and lo­cal pro­cure­ment,” he said.

The World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion first al­lowed the Philip­pines to im­pose a 10-year quan­ti­ta­tive on rice im­ports in 1995.

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