Imported rice yields P7.3 B in gov’t revenues

Published May 27, 2022, 3:25 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

Taxes collected by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) from rice importation rose by double-digit in nearly five months, the Department of Finance (DOF) reported.

In a report to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, the Customs bureau said the agency raised P7.35 billion in duties from rice imports from Jan. 1 to May 13, 2022, an increase of 18 percent from P6.2 billion in the same period last year.

This amount is already 73 percent of the P10-billion fund earmarked yearly for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) to finance the modernization of the agriculture sector and raise the incomes of palay growers.

Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said the tax collections as of May 13 came from 1.26 million metric tons of rice shipments entering the country. The 1.26-MT importation was also 43.3 percent higher than the 883,068 metric tons registered during the same period in 2021, Guerrero said.

Under Republic Act (RA) No. 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), tariffs collected from rice imports go to the RCEF. Collections in excess of the P10-billion fund go to the Rice Farmer Financial Assistance (RFFA). The law took effect on March 5, 2019.

Guerrero said the value of rice continued to drop, posting a decline of 17 percent from P20,126 per metric ton in the January 1 to May 13 period of last year to P16,710 per metric ton in the same period this year.

In addition, Guerrero said that tax collections from pork importation already reached P5.3 billion as of May 13, overtaking the estimated amount of foregone revenues as a result of the earlier presidential directives lowering the import tariffs on pork.

Guerrero said there were a total of 330 million kilogram of pork imported port from April 9, 2021 when these presidential orders were implemented up to May 13 this year. Out of this volume, 102 million kilograms were processed from January 1 to May 13.

From April 9, 2021 to May 13, Guerrero said the Customs estimated that it lost P5.1 billion in expected import duties from pork shipments during the period.

President Duterte had issued executive orders (EOs) that took effect starting April 7, 2021 to lower pork import tariffs and increase the allowable import volumes of the meat. These directives were meant to check inflation by boosting the supply of pork and stabilizing its retail prices in the domestic market after the outbreak of the African Swine Fever (ASF) had hurt domestic hog production.

EO 128, which lowered pork import tariffs to 5 percent within its minimum access volume (MAV) and 15 percent outside MAV for the first three months, took effect from April 7 to May 14, 2021.

EO 134, which superseded EO 128 and took effect on May 17 last year, set tariffs on pork imports under the MAV to 10 percent for the first three months, and 15 percent in the next nine months.

For imports outside the MAV, the tariff rates were set at 20 percent for the first three months and 25 percent for the succeeding nine months.