MANILA—Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III favors any measure that will be approved by the National Food Authority (NFA) regarding the issue of rice importation as long as it will not result to any spike in inflation rate
”As Finance Secretary I am very interested to keep inflation rate down, particularly inflation rates on rice because it hits the poor people harder than the more affluent people,” he told reporters at the sidelines of the DuterteNomics Forum at The Conrad Hotel in Pasay City Tuesday.
The NFA Council is now divided on rice importation rules, with Council Chair Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. wanting to allow importation by the private sector as against NFA Administrator Jason Laureano Aquino’s stand that importation be done by the NFA itself.
Dominguez said the Council had a meeting Tuesday and he has yet to talk with the Department of Finance (DOF) representative who attended the meeting.
He said he is not against the proposal to stop the issuance of permits to private importers but “it’s stopping imports.”
”For me, I mean, it’s just law of demand and supply,” he said.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte has directed the NFA to ensure domestic rice supply by buying more from domestic farmers instead of importing from neighboring countries.
This, after noting that there was a good harvest in the first quarter of the year that is enough to ensure buffer and in doing so would help Filipino farmers.