Tariff collection from rice traders under Republic Act No. 11203, or the Rice Tariffication Law, dropped 23 precent from January to Feb. 14 this year from the same period last year on lower shipments, according to the Bureau of Customs.
The BOC said it collected P1.71 billion as of Feb. 14, down from the P2.2 billion it raised in the same period last year. Customs collections from rice imports of private traders since the enactment of RA 11203 in March 2019 will benefit palay growers under the P10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.
The fund was set up under RA 11203 to finance farm modernization by directly providing local growers with a wider access to credit and training along with funds for mechanization and inputs like fertilizer and high-quality seeds.
The excess of P10 billion collected for RCEF will also be used to finance other programs to boost the yields of farmers and improve their global competitiveness.
Data showed that as a result of the liberalized rice trade following President Duterte’s signing of RA 11203, the average retail cost of the staple dropped by at least P9 per kilo since the law’s enactment. This trend pulled down inflation as rice accounts for a sizable portion of the food expenses of most Filipino households.
The BOC said in a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III that it collected a total of P1.71 billion from imports of 209,320 metric tons of rice from Jan.1 to Feb. 14. This was lower by 61.8 percent from 759,810 MT brought into the country during the same period in 2019, when the RTL was not yet in effect.
The BOC collected a total of P12.3 billion in cash revenues under the RTL from 2.03 million MT of private sector imports in 2019. The RTL imposed a minimum 35-percent tariff on rice imports in lieu of quantitative restrictions.
Dominguez said with over P12 billion in import tariffs collected in 2019, the government “has ample means to do even more to make our agricultural production more efficient and extend direct aid to small farmers.”
Section 13(c) of the Rice Tariffication Law states that 10 percent of the P10-billion RCEF should be made available in the form of credit facility with minimal interest rates and with minimum collateral requirements to rice farmers and cooperatives.