Govt to focus on rice, fish, meat, vegetables to cut inflation
The administration’s economic managers have proposed nine measures to immediately address food supply issues to bring inflation down by an estimated 2.4 percent.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, in an interview after economic officials’ meeting with Sen. Loren Legarda on Friday, said they were focusing on four food items, whose supply problems brought up August’s inflation rate by about 2.4 percent.
Diokno was referring to fish, rice, meat and vegetables, all of which registered faster inflation rates in recent months due to supply-side factors.
To address the big contribution of these items in the rise of domestic inflation, economic officials have proposed the implementation of several measures:
1) Release 4.6 million sacks of rice currently available in National Food Authority (NFA) warehouses, replicating of issuance of certificates of necessity to allow fish imports to be distributed in wet markets around Metro Manila and other parts of the country.
2) Issuance of an Executive Order (EO) to simplify and streamline licensing procedures for NFA’s rice imports
3) Reduce gap between farmgate and retail price of chicken
4) Allow importation of sugar to direct users
5) Bureau of Customs (BOC) to prioritize the release of essential food items in the ports.
Economic managers said a draft EO for these measures has been submitted to the Office of the President.
Diokno said they target to implement these measures within the month to help stabilize the rate of price increases, which has been posting elevated levels for several months now.
Last August, inflation rose to a multi-year high of 6.4 percent from month ago’s 5.7 percent, bringing the average to date to 4.8 percent. The government’s inflation target for this year until 2020 is a range of 2 percent to 4 percent.
Economic officials expect inflation to peak in the third quarter this year and go back to within-target levels in 2019. (PNA)