Revenues from rice imports rise in 2020

Published January 19, 2021, 6:30 AM

by Chino S. Leyco

Government revenues from the private traders’ rice importations rose last year due to higher tariff rates and volume, data from the Department of Finance (DOF) showed.

Based on the Bureau of Customs report submitted to the DOF, the country’s total rice imports reached 2.38 million metric tons in 2020, equivalent to P15.49 billion worth of tariffs.

The total revenues from rice jumped by 26 percent compared with P12.31 billion in the previous year that covered 2.03 million metric tons of rice imports.

Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said the higher collection was owing to improved valuation system for rice imports, which raised the tariffed value of the grain to seven percent on average in 2020.

From P18,980 per metric tons in 2019, the average of the tariffed value of rice increased to P20,320 per metric tons.

 “This improvement in valuation was the result of the BOC paying particular attention to the classification, quantity and weight of rice stocks imported by private traders under the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL),” Guerrero said.

He also reported a significant increase of P301.5 million or 51.7 percent in revenues from rice imports last December, which amounted to P885.05 million, compared to P583.58 million in the same month a year ago. 

All import duties collected from rice imports under the RTL go to the annual P10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).  

The RCEF is used to finance programs that will sharpen the competitiveness of palay growers by way of providing them access to farm machinery and equipment, high-yield seeds, cheap credit and skills training programs on farm mechanization and modern farming techniques. 

Annual tariff revenues from rice imports in excess of P10 billion shall be earmarked by the Congress—and included in the national budget of the following year—for financial assistance to palay farmers, titling of agricultural lands, an expanded crop insurance program on rice, and crop diversification.