Rice tariffication to start March 3
The National Food Authority (NFA) Council has approved the proposal to implement a tariffied regime for rice imports starting March 3 to further slash rice prices and bring down living costs.
In a meeting presided by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the NFA Council also approved a motion instructing the NFA to submit a restructuring plan within 30 days, instead of its initial proposal of 180 days.
Dominguez presided over the meeting as endorsed by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, who chairs the NFA Council. Piñol was unavailable during the meeting.
“Our objective in liberalizing rice imports is to bring down the costs of the staple. Our price is 50 percent higher than the others, including Singapore, which does not produce rice. Will it take us 180 days to effect a reduction in the cost of living our the people?” said Dominguez during the meeting.
Dominguez also proposed during the meeting that the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) determine what funds can be freed up as a result of the restructuring of the NFA to ensure that farmers receive the support they need while the Rice Competiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) mandated under the rice tariffication law is still in the process of being set up.