DOF hopes Congress to pass rice tariffication bill soon
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said he is optimistic that the Congress could pass soon enough the rice tarrification bill now that President Rodrigo Duterte has declared this proposal to liberalize rice imports as an urgent and priority measure.
The measure, according to him, could help ease inflation and bring down prices of the food staple by as much as P7 per kilo.
Dominguez said liberalizing rice imports through the passage into law of the rice tariffication bill now pending in the Congress is vital in helping low-income households cope with inflation, given that rice accounts for 20 percent of their consumption.
“Along with a national ID system, the passage of the rice tariffication bill will complement the social mitigation measures we are implementing now to further ease the impact of inflation on poor households,” Dominguez said.
The House of Representatives appropriations committee has already approved the funding provision for the consolidated version of its rice tariffication bill.
The counterpart version of the bill in the Senate is still being discussed at the committee level.
Based on estimates by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), allowing cheap rice imports with tariffs will immediately lower the inflation rate by 0.4 percentage points.