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Gatchalian: NFA can be abolished when tariffication becomes law

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 10:40 AM November 15, 2018
Sherwin Gatchalian

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian. INQUIRER.NET PHOTO/CATHY MIRANDA

If the rice tariffication bill becomes law, the National Food Authority (NFA) could already be abolished, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said Thursday.

Gatchalian said the NFA would no longer have any significant role when rice tariffication is passed.

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“With this rice tariffication, NFA actually has no significant role anymore in terms of rice security and food security,” Gatchalian said over the ABS CBN News Channel.

Gatchalian said that with the NFA’s abolition, the government could save up to P7 billion to P8 billion in subsidies given to the agency.

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He added that even with the NFA rice prices still went up and corruption was reported.

The senator said that it seemed taxpayers were “subsidizing corruption.”

“Rice prices have gone up. In January, it went up by a significant amount. Then you’ll hear all types of corruption, diversion, different types of corruption coming from the NFA,” Gatchalian said.

“So we’re actually subsidizing corruption. By removing NFA, we’re actually saving P8 billion pesos,” he added.

The rice tariffication measure, which seeks to lift restrictions on rice importation, has been approved  by the Senate and the House of Representatives.

READ: Senate approves rice tariffication bill / House OKs revised agricultural tariffication bill on final reading

If enacted into law, the measure would replace quantitative import restrictions on rice with tariffs.

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Rice imports from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) would also be charged a tariff of at least 35 percent, while imports from non-Asean countries would get a tariff of 50 percent.

The measure is expected to alleviate the impact of the nine-year high inflation and address the country’s rice shortage.

Gatchalian expects the prices of rice to go down by P7 to P10 and this effect can be felt in early 2019 if the bill is immediately enacted. /cbb

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