Pangilinan hits NFA’s ‘graft-causing’ disclosures on rice imports
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Friday slammed the National Food Authority’s (NFA) “premature” and “graft causing” disclosures on rice imports.
On Thursday, the NFA announced that is was planning to import 500,000 metric tons of rice to boost its low inventory.
In a statement, Pangilinan asked, “On graft-causing NFA rice import announcement, who benefits from a premature disclosure to import huge volumes of rice?”
“Rice traders who make a killing in the sudden spike in rice prices as well as corrupt government officials who receive kickbacks because of this artificial price spike,” he said.
Pangilinan argued that NFA’s announcement only allows international traders to “get advance information regarding these plans,” which makes them “increase rice prices in anticipation of our purchases.”
“This can be seen as price manipulation,” the opposition senator added.
“The plan to purchase or import rice should be a closely guarded secret and public disclosure made only when the bidding process is to be undertaken,” said Pangilinan.
He also warned that this could put the country into debt since NFA rice purchases are paid from borrowings of the government.
“The announcement has already been made, what can be done? Reject high bids,” the senator suggested. /vvp
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.