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Gov't rice imports tax collection up 14% in 1st 5 months —DOF

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has collected P8.35 billion from rice import tariffs in the first five months of the year, marking a double digit growth from the same period in 2021, due to the higher shipments that entered the country.

According to the Department of Finance (DOF), the latest collections from rice import tariffs reflected a 14% increase from P7.32 billion covering January to May of the past year, driven by the 37% increase in import volumes.

The latest collections covered 1.43 million metric tons of rice imported during the period, or 36.9% higher than the 1.04 million metric tons recorded in the comparable period of 2021.

“The BOC managed to keep its collections on rice import tariffs on track despite the continued drop in the average value of rice in the world market,” the DOF said in an emailed statement.

The global average price of rice hit P16,712 per metric ton in the first five months of the year, higher than the P19,977 per metric ton in 2021.

This comes as the Rice Tariffication Law took effect on March 5, 2022, which effectively imposed 35% tariffs on imports from neighbors in Southeast Asia. It was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte in February of the same year.

Also, the measure allows unlimited importation of rice as long as private sector traders secure a phytosanitary permit from the Bureau of Plant Industry and pay the 35-percent tariff for shipments from neighbors in Southeast Asia.

The law earmarks P10 billion for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), of which P5 billion will be allotted to farm mechanization and P3 billion to seedlings. The fund intends to ensure that rice imports won’t drown out the agriculture sector and rob farmers of their livelihood.

Last month, the National Food Authority also reported narrower losses in 2021 at P9.6 billion, reflecting a 37.8% improvement from the P15.44-billion net loss recorded in 2020, driven by the Rice Tariffication Law. —LBG, GMA News