Senators oppose NEDA’s slash on rice tariff

Senators oppose NEDA’s slash on rice tariff

SENATOR Imee Marcos has criticized the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) plan to reduce tariffs on imported rice, pork, and other products.

According to NEDA’s recommendation, the tariff on rice will be lowered from 35% to 15% starting this year until 2028.

Marcos stated that she doesn’t want to be seen as a villain but can’t tolerate such an action.

“Only 15% tariff on imported rice, pork, and other products until 2028? Imported goods will dominate the market! What about the local farmers? according to Sen. Imee Marcos, Vice Chair, Senate Committee on Agriculture.

Marcos is concerned that this move by NEDA will flood the local markets with imported products, negatively impacting the farmers.

Senator Cynthia Villar also expressed concern about this direction.

She said that there might be insufficient funds to support the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) unless the government provides a subsidy.

“We will not have enough funds to support the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) for those owning 2 hectares of land and below coming from the tariff on imported rice as provided by law unless the national government is willing to provide a subsidy for these,” according to Sen. Cynthia Villar, Chair, Senate Committee on Agriculture.

The funds collected from rice tariffs go to the RCEF.

Despite the concerns of the two senators, Senate President Francis Escudero however is confident that the administration’s move to lower tariffs on rice and other products will have a positive effect on the economy.

Escudero believes that once the tariffs are lowered, prices will also drop, impacting inflation and the overall economy.

“If we can lower our inflation by reducing the price of rice, our inflation could possibly drop to less than 2 percent. As a result, our economic indicators, including interest rates on loans and borrowing costs for businesses in the country, will decrease, which hopefully will further aid in improving our economy,” said Sen. Francis Escudero, Senate President.

Escudero is also confident that the Department of Agriculture has the capability to ensure local producers will still earn despite the expected influx of imported products into the local market.

He reminded that price increases occur due to a lack of local supply, so one option should be direct government importation of products.

“When foreign supply enters, we cannot just depend on it. Our domestic production of all types of food should remain strong. Both must be done simultaneouslyaffordable and accessible food for our citizens while ensuring support for local producers so they can supply enough food for us in the near future,” Escudero added.


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