Think tank criticizes government’s flawed inflation management as rising rice prices are revealed

An economic think tank has raised concerns over the latest inflation figures in the Philippines, pointing to a significant increase in rice prices as a sign of government mismanagement. The think tank, Ibon Foundation, has attributed this failure to the Rice Tariffication Law, which they claim has led to higher rice prices.

In a statement, Ibon called for the rescinding of the rice liberalization law and suggested halting rice import liberalization, providing support to producers, and boosting the purchasing power of low-income households to address the issue.

According to Ibon, the poorest 30% of households have experienced a worsening situation, with their inflation rate increasing from 3.6% in January 2024 to 4.2% in February 2024. This rise was driven by faster inflation in food and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as a significant increase in rice prices, particularly affecting the poorest households.

The Philippine Statistics Authority noted that the acceleration in rice prices contributed to a weighted index of 8.87% in the Consumer Price Index for all households. In February, rice inflation accelerated to 23.7%, surpassing the previous month’s 22.6%. National Statistician and PSA chief Dennis Mapa warned that the country may expect high rice inflation until August.

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