The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has collected P11.69 billion in tariffs from 1.74 million metric tons (MT) of rice imports from January to August, which is already 17 percent more than the minimum funding requirement for the annual Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) for the following year.
Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said that revenues from rice imports during the Jan. 1-Aug. 29, 2021 period came from shipments worth a combined amount of P35.07 billion.
Also, the BOC’s improved valuation system raised the average value of rice imports by 4.1 percent to P20,188 per MT during this period, from P19,386 per metric ton (MT) during the same timeframe last year, Guerrero said in his report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.
Thus, even with a 7.6-percent drop in volume from 1.88 million MT in the Jan. 1-Aug. 29, 2020 to 1.74 million MT in the same period this year, the revenue collected by the BOC dipped only slightly by 4.4 percent from P12.22 billion to P11.69 billion, he said.
All import duties collected from rice imports beginning March 5, 2019 go to the annual P10-billion RCEF as provided under Republic Act (RA) No. 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).
The RCEF is used to finance programs that will sharpen the competitiveness of palay growers by way of providing them easy access to fertilizer, farm machinery and equipment, high-yield seeds and cheap credit; and offering 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.