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6月11日のまにら新聞から

NEDA chief defends move to cut tariffs on imported rice

[ 251 words|2024.6.11|英字 (English) ]

The government's decision to slash the tariffs on imported rice is to ensure Filipinos ''have access'' to ''affordable food, particularly rice'', while ''managing inflation and sustaining'' growth momentum, said National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan Monday.

Farmers groups opposed the government's decision to cut tariffs on imported rice from 35 percent to 15 percent after recent inflation data showed that rice prices remained high.

The NEDA Board, composed of different Cabinet Members and chaired by the President, has unanimously approved the Committee on Tariff and Related Matters (CTRM) recommendation on the new Comprehensive Tariff Program for 2024-2028.

''Based on the latest inflation report of the Philippine Statistics Authority in the past three months, rice contributed about two percentage points (or over 50 percent) to the headline inflation,'' said Balisacan in a statement.

Inflation for the month of May reached 3.9 percent from 3.8 percent in April.

Inflation for the bottom 30 percent of household remained at 5.3 percent.

''Reducing rice tariffs is expected to bring down rice prices for consumers while supporting domestic production through tariff cover and increased budgetary support to improve agricultural productivity, especially as global rice prices remain elevated,'' said Balisacan.

Balisacan said the government is ''aware of the concerns'' of farmers but he added that ''this decision was not made lightly.''

Consultations with stakeholders were made starting March 2023, he said.

''High food prices disproportionately affect the poor and contribute to hunger, malnutrition, and stunting, hindering the attainment of our development goals,'' said Balisacan. DMS