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Govt must act swiftly to reduce inflation – PCCI
PCCI to hold economic briefing focusing on inflation and efforts to contain it

The country’s business community called on the government to act quickly to lower down the inflation rate in the first quarter of 2023 following a record-high 8.7 percent mark this January.


“As of now this is not a big concern to the business sector seeing that the government is rebounding.  But government must act immediately to reduce inflation in the first quarter of 2023,” George T. Barcelon, president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said. 


Barcelon said that the main contributors to the high inflation rate are mainly from high food prices and increasing costs in utilities and transportation.  “People spend for these necessities even when prices are up specially during “BER” months,” he stressed. 


Barcelon added that the insufficient local production of agricultural products and the higher exchange rate also contributed to higher inflation.  


“If domestic agricultural harvest cannot cope with demand, there should be more imports to augment domestic supply, for instance, onions & sugar.  The exchange rate was also on the higher end which contributed to inflation,” he added. 


Barcelon noted that the last time the inflation rate was high was when there was a shortage of rice.  It was primarily for this reason that Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) was enacted.  The law replaced quantitative restrictions on imported rice to boost domestic production but retained the tariff of 35-40 percent and established the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) to support farmers.


“This maybe an option to mitigate high food scenario,” Barcelon said.

The PCCI is set to hold an economic briefing with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor, Dr. Felipe Medalla and lead Presidential Private Sector Advisory Council, Mr. Sabin Aboitiz on February 27 to discuss government and private sector response to contain inflation and its effects on the economy.  --- Donna B. Angulo

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