THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is reviewing applications to raise retail prices from the canned meat and sardine industry, Secretary Ramon M. Lopez told reporters Monday.
Mr. Lopez, who spoke on the sidelines of the DTI Innovation Conference, said the requests to be granted higher prices on price-controlled goods were received before the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) and are based on claims of higher production costs.
He said any adjustment in the suggested retail price (SRP) will be about 2-5% and will not exceed 10%.
The government has been keen to contain food prices after the inflation crisis of 2018, with agencies like the DTI seeking commitments from the food industry to control or delay retail price hikes.
In June, Mr. Lopez said that DTI will block proposals to increase canned goods prices, after President Rodrigo R. Duterte liberalized imports of mechanically deboned meat (MDM), a key raw material.
He told reporters on Monday that beyond MDM, DTI is considering in its review higher prices for the canned meat industry’s other raw materials, including oil, tin cans as well as fuel costs.
Mr. Lopez had instructed DTI not to release any changes in the SRP just yet, pending a reduction in the items covered by the list.
“We are also trimming down the SRP. We are bringing it down to its normal list of 140 plus. We are now at 250 — we enhanced it last year because of the inflation issue,” he said.
“Without ASF we’re back to normal times. Our inflation is down to 1.7%. Assuming it settles at 2%, that would be normal, so there’s no need really to expand that list because we are simply going back to our normal list.” — Jenina P. Ibañez