NFA: Rice imports above board


The National Food Authority (NFA) said the import permits issued to rice traders are all above-board amid claims of smuggling.

NFA said the issuance of import permits to private rice importers under the 2016 minimum access volume (MAV) allocation from March to June this year was based on the decision of the inter-agency NFA Council, the agency’s policy-making body, to extend the rice import deliveries from February 28 to March 31, and later to June 30.
More than 100 import permits were issued to different importers from March to June 30 and that all importers paid customs duties or tariffs in advance, as required under the terms of reference for the importation.
Sen.  Panfilo Lacson had alleged that  Cebu Lite Trading Inc. (CLTI), one of the 2016 MAV rice importers,  had shipped rice into the country  without the proper documents such as import permit (IP).
“CLTI was only one of so many rice importers which were issued IPs during the period that paid their customs duties, thus it is puzzling why this company was singled out,” NFA said.
NFA added that a total of P553 million advance customs duties were paid to the government out of the import permits issued an were issued in compliance with the extension granted by the NFA Council.
“There is no irregularity in the said transactions as the importers were issued IPs only after complying with the tariffs and other documentary requirements,” it said.

The 2016 MAV guidelines state that all rice to be imported under the program “shall be levied with 35 percent tariff to be paid in advance with the Land Bank of the Philippines. However, final assessment and valuation shall be made by the Bureau of Customs,” NFA said.


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