NFA cuts loss under Rice Tariffication Law

THE National Food Authority (NFA) decreased its net loss last year after redefining its functions under the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), the Department of Finance (DoF) reported.

The NFA lowered its net loss in 2021 to P9.6 billion, down 37.8 percent from P15.44 billion in 2020, it announced in a statement.

The DoF said its Corporate Affairs Group (CAG) reported to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd the net loss does not include the NFA’s subsidy support from the national government (NG) of P30.65 billion in 2020 and P7.46 billion in 2021, which represents the conversion of NG advances into subsidy.

The NFA’s mandate has been confined under the RTL or Republic Act 11203 to providing emergency buffer rice stock sourced exclusively from local farmers, it explained.

“The targeted use of its buffer stock as mandated by law meant lower procurement volumes, which can be funded solely out of subsidies from the NG. Thus, it no longer needed to borrow funds to augment the financial resources needed for procurement activities,” DoF-CAG, which is headed by Finance Undersecretary Antonette Tionko, was quoted as saying in the report.

The DoF further said Finance Assistant Secretary Soledad Emilia Cruz added that the NFA’s lower procurement volumes resulted in a reduction in operational costs and organizational restructuring, saving the government billions of pesos.

Cruz said that the NFA participated in the government’s Covid-19 response efforts by distributing about 1.76 million bags of rice to national government agencies and local governments in 2021 and 5.79 million bags in 2020, in accordance with its mandate of providing necessary buffer stocks for calamities and other emergencies.

The Finance department also said Dominguez recalled that from 2005 to 2018, the NFA, which regulated all rice imports and was the country’s largest rice importer, received an average of P11 billion in tax subsidies per year.

“A complete reversal of this massive annual subsidy is the government’s earnings of P46.6 billion in rice import tariffs during the first three years alone of the RTL’s implementation,” it emphasized.