Gov’t eyes imports to stabilize prices
The country’s agriculture chief has issued a warning to “market speculators” to stop using the new tax law to increase prices in the market, adding that he would not hesitate to resort to importation to stabilize prices.
“Let this be a warning to speculators and those using the TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) law as convenient scapegoats to speculate and spike prices of commodities in the market. The government will act,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in an interview.
The statement came after the Sugar Regulatory Administration, which is under the agriculture department, issued a new sugar order allowing the private sector to import 200,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar to stabilize supply and prices in the market.
Other agricultural commodities including rice, vegetables and livestock are also registering increases in their retail prices following the implementation of the TRAIN law, but Piñol said these increments were only driven by “speculation.”
“If these speculators will continue to [increase] prices in the market, I will order importation,” the secretary warned. “This will teach the speculators a lesson. You cannot do this to the government. We will react right away.”
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