Rice import duties grow to P15 billion in 7 months
Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - October 23, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Duties collected from rice imports reached P15 billion since the imposition of the Rice Tariffication Law in March, according to a member of the Monetary Board.

In his keynote address at the general membership meeting of the Bankers Institute of the Philippines Inc. (BAIPHIL), Monetary Board member Bruce Tolentino said additional revenues were collected from the imposition of import duties under Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law.

Tolentino said collections between March and September from rice imports already exceeded the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) pegged at P10 billion per year for seeds, machinery, training, credit and transition assistance for farmers.

“From the day the law was passed last March 5 until the end of September, the Department of Finance and the Bureau of Customs have already collected P15 billion in tariff revenues. That is P5 billion over and above the P10 billion that is supposed to be allocated for RCEF,” he said.

Tolentino said Cabinet secretaries are now discussing how the extra P5 billion is going to be used for grants for farmers who are badly affected by the changes due to the imposition of the Rice Tariffication Law.

Tolentino, former deputy director general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), said adjustment assistance including cash transfer under the 4Ps should be given to badly affected rice farmers.

He said the government should also focus support on most suitable rice areas, pursue effective irrigation and drainage for increased cropping intensity as well as transport infrastructure.

For the long term, Tolentino said the government should prioritize science, technology, mechanization, and extension for high productivity, competitiveness, and resilience.

Tolentino said the new law helped bring down inflation back to within the BSP’s two to four percent target after accelerating to 5.2 percent last year.

Likewise, he said price of rice are now lower by P4 to P7 per kilo and is expected to further decline in the coming months.

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