January 24, 2018, 9:32 am
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No price increase on NFA rice

The National Food Authority (NFA) assured the public that it will continue to sell rice at the government prescribed price of P27 per kilogram for the regular milled variety and P32 per kg for the well-milled variety.

NFA issued the statement following public speculations that rice prices may be affected by the increase in fuel prices under the new tax reform law.

At the same time, Jason Aquino, NFA administrator, directed the agency’s finance and operations departments to conduct a cost analysis of any impact of the new tax law on the price of rice.

“As watchdog of national food security, the NFA’s role is to make rice, our basic staple, available, accessible and affordable in any part of the country at all times… The NFA implements rice trading rules and regulations, therefore we can sanction any traders who will be violating our laws,” Aquino said.

He also warned rice traders not to take advantage of the ongoing speculations by unduly increasing prices, and urged the public to help in monitoring illegal activities in the grains trade such as rice overpricing.

Earlier, the NFA said it will fully implement standard terms of reference (TOR) for its contracted services such as security, trucking, hauling and warehouse handling, among others, starting this month.

“The standardization of TORs for service contracts will realize a true, transparent and competitive bidding in NFA services. It is one of my priority reform measures since I assumed stewardship of the agency,” Aquino said recently.

Aquino created a team to look into existing contracts and draft a uniform or standardized format and TOR for specific agreements such as services, supplies, and linkages with other government agencies, the private sector and local government units.

NFA is also keen on continuing to build up its food security buffer stocks from domestic palay procurement and rice importation, if necessary, under a regime where quantitative restriction (QR) on rice has been lifted.

While performing buffer stock functions, NFA said it shall continue to issue import licenses and provide necessary guidelines to ensure food safety and quality standards.

QR allows the country to limit the volume of rice imports entering the Philippines with a tariff of 35 percent. Importing outside the volume restrictions will entail a higher import tariff.

The economic managers of the Duterte administration earlier decided to allow the expiration of the QR without applying for another extension before the World Trade Organization.
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