March 3, 2023
Malaya Business Insight| https://bit.ly/3ZDOZHv
A portion of the sugar imports for the current crop year has arrived and cleared and will be available in the retail market in two weeks, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).
DA senior undersecretary Domingo Panganiban in an interview did not disclose the volume that has arrived but said this could help bring down prices of refined sugar to P80 to P84 per kilogram (kg).
Prevailing prices in the National Capital Region as of yesterday were at a range of P87 to P110 per kg.
It was not clear if the volume is part of the alleged illegal shipments questioned by Sen. Risa Hontiveros.
It was not also clear if it is part of the first 100,000 metric tons (MT) that was supposed to have arrived under Sugar Order (SO) 6 series of 2022-2023 issued on February 6 but released on February 15, authorizing the importation of 440,000 MT of refined sugar this year.
“This is the sugar that will lower the price of commercial sugar in the Philippines,” Panganiban said.
Panganiban declined to comment on calls for the Senate Blue Ribbon committee to conduct an inquiry on alleged illegal shipments of refined sugar last month.
But he was previously quoted as saying that he only followed the directive through a memorandum issued to him by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin.
Panganiban earlier said he is aware there is an importation procedure being implemented by the SRA concerning the importation of sugar but said there is “urgency” involved in the matter.
“In response to the directive of the President, to address inflation and create a buffer stock and given that sugar is one of the components of most commodities that drives the consistently high inflation rate, I acted with haste and interpreted the memorandum issued by the Office of the Executive Secretary as an approval to proceed with the importation,” Panganiban earlier said.