RICE IMPORT tariffs declined 23.1% year-on-year in the year-to-date period ending Feb. 14, amid a sharp decline in inbound shipments, the Bureau of Customs (BoC) said.
Citing a report from the BoC, the Department of Finance (DoF) said in a statement that import tariff collections totaled P1.71 billion, against P2.22 billion a year earlier.
Volumes fell 61.8% year-on-year to 209,320 metric tons (MT).
The Rice Tariffication Law, or Republic Act No. 11203, was signed in mid-February 2019, and took effect in March. It removed restrictions on rice imports, and instead imposed a 35% tariff on shipments of rice from Southeast Asian trading partners. The tariffs will help fund the modernization of the rice industry.
In the 2019 period when the law was effective, the government collected P12.3 billion from 2.03 million MT of imports.
Until Feb. 14, 2020, total collections have amounted to P14.01 billion since the law took effect.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the revenue gives the government “ample means to do even more to make our agricultural production more efficient and extend direct aid to small farmers.”
The government must set aside P10 billion a year for five years from the tariffs to support the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), which will fund farm mechanization, agricultural credit and training, and inputs such as fertilizer and seed.
The DoF said the law generated billions in fresh revenue in less than one year of implementation, “a complete reversal of its P11-billion average annual loss during the pre-RTL regime.” — Beatrice M. Laforga