By Elijah Felice Rosales, December 4 2018; Business Mirror


Image Credit to BusinessMirror

The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) is asking the trade department to consider putting a suggested retail price (SRP) on sugar as sought by consumers and food processors.

SRA Board Member Emiliano Bernardino L. Yulo on Monday said the agency would request the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to study the imposition of SRP on sugar. This was after the SRA, as well as a consumer group, reported the staple is being sold above P60 per kilo.

“On the part of the SRA, we are being unfairly blamed for the prices. The truth to the matter is we are just barely surviving our nose above water,” Yulo said on the sidelines of a forum in Manila.

“We are calling on the DTI [to look into the matter]. If it is the call of the DA [Department of Agriculture], the DTI should tell us so we can make the necessary representations with the DA,” he added.

The SRP must be determined through a government meeting with stakeholders, including sugar farmers, millers, traders, retailers and consumers. He explained this should ensure the agreed price is amenable to all parties.

“Maybe we should have a stakeholders’ meeting particular to that so we can come up with a consensus on what is the ideal suggested retail price,” Yulo said.

Laban Konsyumer Inc. Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba reported retail prices of refined sugar averaged P60 per kilo in public markets. This should not be the case, he argued, as the SRA claimed farmers are selling it at P1,450 per 50- kilogram bag to millers.

He surmised there could be profiteers in the supply chain that jack up the prices. Dimagiba added the fuel excise tax under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion affected the prices of essentials, such as sugar.

“We have a very poor supply chain for basic necessities and prime commodities. Three or four in the process have to spend on gasoline, and they pass it on to the consumers,” Dimagiba said.

“The excise tax on petroleum products really had an impact on inflation. It increased delivery cost,” he added.

Dimagiba, a former trade undersecretary, moved that the government put an SRP on sugar given the disparity between prices from the farm gate and to the retail.

During his stint as trade official, he said the DTI placed an SRP of P50 per kilo on sugar in the face of rising prices of basic goods. “In less than a week, prices of sugar fell to P45 per kilo,” the consumer group leader recalled.