Group tells govt to allow private sector to import rice
An association of prominent economists and former technocrats urged the government to stop monopolizing rice importation and allow free trade of the grains through private-sector-led importation to stabilize price.
In a statement, the Foundation for Economic Freedom said that the private sector, which usually corners local palay procurement, was only able to control prices of the grains because of the lack of NFA rice in the market.
At present, only the NFA is allowed to import rice. Private sector rice importation, under the so-called minimum access volume, is also coursed through the state-run grains agency, which requires several permitting process.
FEF said that free trade of rice would allow rice market to respond quickly to price movements, making rice more affordable to the poor. The group added that prices of imported rice sold by private traders is comparable to the government-subsidized rice at P36 per kilo to P41 per kilo.