CamSur lawmaker wants private firms out of NFA-led rice imports
A lawmaker has urged the state-run National Food Authority to bar the private sector from engaging in the rice importation and cap the retail price of the staple grain, thinking these would resolve lapses in monitoring supply.
Second District of Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund F. Villafuerte Jr.’s statement was issued in the wake of the panic over an artificial rice shortage.
He said that the NFA Council, the top panel deciding on rice regulations, should review the advantages of setting up a separate body that will be tasked to oversee supply and prevent the retail prices of rice from surging beyond the reach of the average consumer.
“In the same way that there exists regulatory control on the cost of electricity, there should also be regulatory control on the price of rice to prevent the profiteering schemes of unscrupulous traders from upsetting the supply of the staple in the domestic market,” Villafuerte said in a statement.
The present system gives the NFA the sole authority to import rice as long as it secures the go-signal from the NFAC. The private sector-led rice importation know as the Minimum Access Volume scheme, is a commitment to the World Trade Organization, making the annual economic practice mandatory for the Philippines to keep disputes with trade partners at bay.