January 31, 2019

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said that after the Rice Tariffication Bill is signed into law, the government is looking into opening up the sugar sector next.

“The sugar liberalization idea came up at the recent Economic Development Cluster (EDC) meeting last January 14 on rice tariffication and, in general, on keeping prices of food products low and always in check,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia.

He said that sugar tariffication was a collegial idea of the EDC, which may subsequently lead to policy decision and action.

“Sugar is very expensive in the country as supply is dominated by a select few. Intermediation costs are also high,” added Pernia.

“We hope to open up the sector to freer importation, and reduce the price of sugar. It will be a tough battle, but it should be worth the try,” he added.

Through Executive Order No. 24 series of 2017, the EDC is mandated to focus on the promotion of rapid, inclusive, and sustained economic growth.

The EDC is composed of the Department of Finance as Chair, the NEDA, the Department of Budget and Management, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, the Cabinet Secretary, Executive Secretary, and the Presidential Management Staff, among others.