Economists urge gov’t to pass the Rice Tariffication Act now
The Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF), a group of economists, said they support the call of the government’s economic managers to Congress for the immediate passage of the Rice Tariffication Act to address rising inflation.
Rice tariffication, or the liberalization of rice imports at reasonable tariffs, will bring down inflation by 0.4 percent as estimated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
More significantly, it will alleviate food inflation, which hits the poor the hardest, by lowering rice prices by P7 per kilo.
“Rice tariffication is a win-win situation for all,” FEF said.
“It will enable the government to raise revenues which can be used to directly aid affected rice farmers and to fund programs to increase rice farm productivity. It will reduce food prices, increase the disposable incomes of wage-earners, and combat malnutrition,” he added.
FEF said the passage of the act will also alleviate the pressure for mandated wage hikes, which will further stoke inflation and hurt the poor more in the long-run.
“It will stem government losses incurred by the National Food Authority (NFA) in its rice subsidy program. It will also obviate further increases in NFA’s debt, guaranteed by the national government, which has ballooned over the years from the financing of rice imports,” the group further said.