NFA chief told to buy more rice
The National Food Authority Council on Thursday ordered NFA administrator Jason Aquino to sign the remaining import permits under the Minimum Access Volume and to “refrain from being biased on his favored importers.”
Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco said the council also directed Aquino to sign the remaining import permits covering 54, 000 metric tons of rice under the 2016 MAV scheme that has been stuck in various ports.
The council told Aquino to publish immediately the resolution extending the importation until June 30 for the remaining 20,000 MT, so as not to cause further delay in augmenting the county’s rice stocks.
Evasco said a document obtained from the Bureau of Customs showed that Aquino defied the council’s order and signed only 14 import permits covering 17,270 MT. The June 30 extension of MAV was also not published by the NFA chief.
He said BoC document showed that Aquino only signed import permits with port of destination outside Manila such as Cebu Port, Davao Port, Cagayan de Oro Port and Poro Point La Union.
“ It was also noticeable in Administrator Aquino’s letter to Customs Commissioner Faeldon that some of the importations belatedly granted with permits have arrived between February 21 to 26 or ahead of the original deadline. To note that the the date of letter was only May 15, despite the directive of payment of the 24 pending IP’s last May 5, 2017,” said Evasco.
“ So much delay has been done that the rice stocks that arrived as early as February are already at high risk of deterioration; since milled rice is only good to last for six months,” said Evasco.
The original deadline of MAV importation on Feb. 28, was later extended by the NFA Council to March 31, and extended one more time to June 30, 2017, he said.
Evasco said the NFA administrator had yet to sign permits for the remaining 56,730 MT on top of the 54,000 MT that had already arrived and 20,000 MT covering the extension until June 30.
The volume was equivalent to 1,134,600 sacks of rice or roughly two days of the country’s daily consumption requirement.
“ These issues should be addressed immediately by issuing a final order to all concerned agencies: NFA, LandBank and BOC to act accordingly,” said Evasco.