The Trade Department, through the Philippine International Trading Corp., is asking for a tax expenditure subsidy to reduce the cost of importing 150,000 metric tons of rice.
PITC president and chief executive Dave Almarinez said the 3 million bags of imported rice would be sold directly to C, D and E consumers at P27 per kilogram.
The attached corporation will present today a proposal to import tariff-free rice from either Vietnam or Thailand to the National Food Authority Board. Out-quota imported rice is currently slapped with 35 percent tariff.
“The biggest factor is the tariff so we are asking for a TES to lower the cost of importation,” Almarinez said over the weekend.
The agency will also utilize the existing facilities of NFA to further reduce cost.
A previous agreement with the NFA authorized members of the Philippine Amagalmated Supermarkets Association Inc. to retail NFA rice inside the groceries.
The Trade Department offered to flood the market with affordable rice by opening new channels other the accredited NFA rice retailers.
The department said it was expecting the shipment to arrive before end-October this year ahead of the NFA rice imports, which would arrive in November.
“We will augment supply. We will not be competing against NFA. Our goal is to arrest the prices and make it stable, stop rice price manipulation and hoarding,” Almarinez said.
The charter of PITC allows both government to government trading and private business transactions.
The proposed rice importation will be conducted by selected distributors and retailers of the Trade Department.
“This is forward selling. We are not buying for stocking purposes. We have a concrete channel of distribution direct to retailers,” Almarinez said.