Junk supermarket rice permit fee, Gatchalian tells NFA
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian called on the National Food Authority’s (NFA) on Sunday to scrap the P115,000 rice permit fee for supermarkets, as he slammed the agency’s move to charge retailers with an exhorbitant amount to be able to sell rice.
Earlier, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced that consumers will soon be able to buy NFA rice from some supermarkets.
But the Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association (Pagasa) Inc. revealed trecently hat the NFA is requiring retailers with a paid-up capital of P10 million to pay P115,000 for a permit to sell rice.
The senator described NFA’s move as “uncoordinated and impractical.”
“This is an ill-conceived move of the NFA. Akala ko ba ang gusto nila ay dumami ang magbenta ng murang bigas (I thought they want more retailers to sell cheap rice)?” Gatchalian said in a statement ‘on Sunday.
“Paano mangyayari iyon kung ikaw na nga ang humingi ng tulong, ikaw pa ang maniningil ng pagkamahal-mahal na permit fee (They were asking help from retailers to sell cheap rice and yet they would like to charge them an exhorbitant fee for a permit to sell rice)?” he added.
The senator noted that it was the government who sought help of Pagasa Inc. to help flood the market with affordable rice.
“Kung ikaw ba ang may-ari ng supermarket, magbabayad ka ba ng permit fee na ‘yan if in the first place eh ‘di ka naman required magbenta ng NFA rice (If you were the supermarket owner, would you pay that fee if you are not even required to sell NFA rice)?” he said.
“This is yet another reason why the NFA should be abolished. Sakit ng ulo lang ang ibinibigay nila sa mga kababayan natin (They are giving us more problems),” he added.
Gatchalian had called for the abolition of NFA in the past for its failure to stabilize the supply of and price for rice in the market.
According to the senator, Pagasa Inc. had agreed to have its members sell NFA rice, based on a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed last week.
The group, however, lamented that the fee makes it impossible for its members to help solve the rice issue.
“Mismong DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) na ang nagsabi na wala naman sa MOA yung permit fee na iyan (The DTI said the fee for the permit to sell NFA rice was not part of the MOA). So why is the NFA now suddenly and unilaterally charging this arbitrary fee?” Gatchalian asked. /ee
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