PITC seeks tax subsidy for rice importation

By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC), the international trading arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), is seeking a tax expenditure subsidy (TES) for its proposed importation of 150,000 metric tons of rice or 3 million bags at 50 kilogram per bags to be able to sell direct to consumers at P27 per kilo, primarily to the C, D and E markets.


 Dave M. Almarinez.(Photo source: http://www.pitc.gov.ph) Dave M. Almarinez.(Photo source: http://www.pitc.gov.ph)

PITC President and CEO, Undersecretary Dave M. Almarinez is scheduled to present today (Sept. 24) to National Food Authority (NFA) Council new chairman Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol a proposal to import tariff-free rice from either Vietnam or Thailand. At present, imported rice is slapped with 35 percent tariff.

“The biggest factor is the tariff so we are asking for a TES to lower the cost of importation,” he said.

PITC will also utilize the existing facilities of NFA to further reduce cost.

The DTI has already consolidated retailers like the PAGASA, an association of supermarkets and groceries nationwide, to sell the NFA rice.

“We are flooding the market by opening new channels,” he said.

Once, all the logistics plans are put in place, PITC expects the new supply to arrive before end October this year ahead of the NFA rice importation, which is expected to arrive in November yet.

“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,” he stressed.

He explained that PITC’s charter allows them both government to government trading as well as private business transaction.

A G to G deal happens only when the transaction is funded by the government. Its proposed rice importation is privately-funded by selected distributors and retailers of DTI, he explained.

“This is forward selling, we are not buying for stocking purposes, we have a concrete channel of distribution direct to retailers,” he concluded.