NEDA raises supply, price issues amid health crisis

Published April 9, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the government must be proactive in addressing supply bottlenecks and implementing price control measures on necessities following the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Ernesto M. Pernia
Ernesto M. Pernia

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said that it is important for the government to implement seamless delivery of necessities and strict enforcement of price control measures during the health crisis.

Pernia said these control measures are needed to avoid possible profiteering of unscrupulous traders and retailers.

“We need to provide post-harvest facilities and logistic support, in close coordination with the local government,” Pernia said.

“Initial field reports show that supply, particularly of agricultural commodities, is adequate but suppliers are having problems getting their produce to the market, to help affected essential industries produce and deliver their goods and services to the market,” he added.

The Department of Agriculture and some local government units have started buying the produce directly from the farmers and distributing these through Kadiwa outlets or mobile palengke.

Moreover, Pernia said that the Philippines should be well-positioned against upward potential price pressures that may emanate from the tightening supply of rice from major markets such as Thailand and Vietnam.

“While we expect that the rice supply in the country will remain sufficient, we need to ensure that the country will have enough buffer stock of rice as Thailand and Vietnam cut down their exports,” he added.

Pernia also highlighted that the government must provide immediate support and assistance to local farmers that were negatively affected by the enhanced community quarantine.

“We need to fast-track the disbursement of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund to improve the country’s agricultural productivity and food secu¬rity in the long term, he said.

Pernia emphasized the need to intensify biosecurity and quarantine measures to control the spread and eradicate the presence of the African Swine Fever in the country.

“The presence of these animal-borne diseases in the country calls for a more effective implementation of the prevention and protection programs as well as heightened monitoring of possible resurgence of other infectious diseases,” he said.

The Inter-agency Task Force Technical Working Group for Anticipatory and Forward Planning, chaired by NEDA, has conducted surveys for business owners, consumers, and agriculture and fisheries sector.

A public consultation on the “new normal” has also been opened. A report of the group will serve as blueprint for a whole-of-government-cum-private sector effort for the country’s rapid recovery.

On Tuesday, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that headline inflation decelerated for the second month to 2.5 percent in March from 2.6 percent in the previous month and 3.3 percent a year ago.

The March figure was well within the government’s target of 2.0 to 4.0 percent this year.