Rice tariffication to lower inflation: NEDA

By Leslie Gatpolintan

July 24, 2018, 6:08 pm

MANILA -- The enactment and full implementation of the rice tariffication bill can bring down the prices of rice, benefiting Filipino families, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said Tuesday.

In a statement, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) renewed its call to Congress to pass the bill amending Republic Act (RA) No. 8178, otherwise known as the Agricultural Tariffication Act of 1996, a viable solution to temper inflation and improve the agriculture sector.

In NEDA’s preliminary estimate, headline inflation rate would be reduced by one percentage point if the domestic wholesale rice market reduces its price to the level of imported rice.

"There is no time to waste. All of us must rally behind the administration's reform agenda, most especially the rice tarrification bill, which if implemented will make our agriculture sector competitive in the long-term," said Pernia.

In his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte asked Congress to deem as urgent the passage of the crucial rice tariffication bill.

Duterte said there is a need for the country to switch from the current quota system in importing rice to a tariff system, where rice can be imported more freely, giving additional resources for farmers, reduce the price of rice, and lower inflation significantly. (PNA)