Cheaper rice at last
Rice tariffication will essentially lift the restrictions on the volume of rice allowed to enter the Philippines by letting private traders import the grain from countries of their choice. President Duterte two months ago certified the bill as urgent after the inflation rate kept surging. In endorsing the bill, Duterte told Congress the proposed measure would address the urgent need to improve the availability of rice in the country, prevent artificial shortages, reduce the prices of the commodity in the market, and curtail the prevalence of corruption and cartel domination in the rice industry. Private traders under the rice liberalization move will pay a straight 35-percent tariff on rice imported from Southeast Asian Nations. They will also no longer be constrained by the National Food Authority, which virtually monopolized rice importations and reserved the right to choose which traders could purchase rice from abroad. Rice tariffication will also reduce the role of the NFA in the importation of the grain and foster competition in the domestic market.