MANILA CITY, 2 September 2023–An assistance program aimed at extending support to small rice traders and retailers that will be affected by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s Executive Order (EO) No. 39 is in the works to keep them afloat until rice prices stabilize, a trade official said on Saturday.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Small traders who bought their stocks at higher prices are expected to lose money, and the government is looking at possible support that can be extended to them so they could avoid bankruptcy.
Trade Assistant Secretary Agaton Uvero said in a news forum in Quezon City on Saturday that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recognizes the predicament of small rice retailers that may be affected by the President’s EO that puts a cap on rice prices for a certain period.
“Iyong lead agencies naman dito, LGUs and DILG tapos DA, DTI. Pagdating sa pagtulong sa maliliit na negosyante DTI parati naman iyong lead agency diyan eh, so may mga pinag-uusapan na subsidies, iyong mga ganoon,” Uvero said when asked by reporters on the possible government assistance.
“Pero these are in the works para matulungan iyong mas ano… may mga programa rin naman iyong DTI on how to help. So, hindi pa, it’s in the works.” Uvero said it’s DTI’s mandate to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), noting that many MSMEs are into rice trading or retailing business.
But Uvero said that the DTI believes that previous commodity price increases have brought fortune to them and they already had a windfall and should sacrifice at this time for the interest of the general public.
“Una, sa pangangalakal marami ang kumikita kapag tuluy-tuloy na tumataas ang presyo. So, marami sa kanila nag-windfall na; pangalawa, ganoon man, hinihingi ng pamahalaan iyong sakripisyo ng mga retailers na medyo tumulong din sila sa mga mamamayan, sa nakakarami,” he poited out.
“Based sa computation namin puwede kasing ibenta pa na siguro hindi naman lugi baka wala nga lang kita, kahit iyong pagod, hindi makabalik pero at least iyong sa cost mismo noong capital makakaya pa.”
While asking for some sacrifices from rice retailers, Uvero said the government will act to go after hoarders and profiteers, who are the real culprits in the artificial rice shortage and unabated increase in the price of the staple.
Asked how long those retailers have to sacrifice, the trade official said it may be less than two months or after additional rice supply arrives so there will be more stability in rice prices.
“Manggagaling sa DA iyong rekomendasyon kung mag-stabilize na iyong price, at nagdatingan na rin iyong mga additional supplies. May mga parallel importations na itinutulak ang gobyerno lalo na iyong Indian rice at papasok na rin iyong harvest season,” he said.
“So, it may be shorter than the usual 60 days. It depends on the members and the studies but it may be shorter even from the usual 60-day period from price freeze. Ito kasi price cap, ang price cap kasi walang fixed period. Ang price freeze ay may 60-day period lang.” *PND*