P2.04 billion in tariffs was collected from rice imports in January 2021, a year-on-year increase of 58% as the average valuation value of rice imports grew
The collection was generated from 287,957 metric tons of imported rice in January, up 29% year-on-year
Average valuation in January 2021 improved 11.5% from P18,177 per MT in 2020 to P20,262 per MT in January this year
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) collected P2.04 billion in tariffs from rice imports in January 2021, a 58% increase over the P1.29 billion collected during the same month last year as the average valuation value of rice imports increased, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.
The tariffs were collected from 287,957 metric tons (MT) of rice imported in January, up 29% from the 223,278 MT brought into the country in the same period last year, preliminary data showed.
Based on data from the bureau’s Electronic-to-Mobile (e2M) system, the average valuation of rice importers in January 2021 improved 11.5% year-on-year, DOF said in a statement, citing a report from Customs commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero.
In January 2020, the average value of rice imports was P18,177 per MT, which increased to P20,262 per MT in January this year.
DOF noted that “improvements made by the BOC to help ensure the proper classification, quantity and weight of rice stocks brought into the country under the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) led to the increase in the average value of imported rice, which, in turn, meant higher revenues for the government from the duties collected from these imports.”
All import duties collected from rice imports under the RTL go to the annual P10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
The RCEF is used to finance programs that will sharpen the competitiveness of palay growers by providing them access to farm machinery and equipment, high-yield seeds, cheap credit, and skills training programs on farm mechanization and modern farming techniques.
Annual tariff revenues from rice imports in excess of P10 billion will be earmarked by Congress—and included in the national budget of the following year—for financial assistance to palay farmers, titling of agricultural lands, an expanded crop insurance program on rice, and crop diversification.
Latest data from DOF showed that from January to September 2020, BOC collected P13 billion in duties from 2 million MT of rice imports, overshooting the minimum amount of P10 billion earmarked annually for the RCEF.
DOF secretary Carlos Dominguez III earlier also directed BOC to check on private traders for possible undervaluation of their rice imports.
BOC last December said it was working to collect some P2.4 billion in tax deficiencies that were uncovered in a post-clearance audit of cooperatives that had imported rice in 2019 and 2020.
Guerrero said a post-clearance audit in 2019 showed that 48 cooperatives had tax deficiencies totaling P1.4 billion. These cooperatives came from an initial batch of the top 60 importers out of the list of over 320 cooperatives that imported rice in 2019.
Guerrero said BOC estimates that a post-clearance audit of another set of the top 60 importers in 2020 would yield an additional P1 billion in tax deficiencies from undervalued rice imports.