Benitez stresses diversification-A A +A
Saturday, September 15, 2012
REPRESENTATIVE Albee Benitez, in a speech read Friday by Silay City Mayor Mark Andrew Golez in a forum, emphasized that diversification will solve future problems of the sugar industry when tariff will be reduced to five percent.
The sugar forum was organized by the University of the Philippines-Los Baños Alumni Association (UPLBAA) – Negros Occidental Chapter headed by former board member Enrique Miguel Lacson.
"This is a big low to an industry already beset with problems on smuggling and its product already less competitive than that of the neighboring countries," Benitez pointed out.
Benitez also bared why he authored House Bill 6113 or the Sugar Cane Industry Development Act, which is specifically conceptualized as a piece of legislation that would respond to the fear of the industry of the 2015 scenario.
The bill highlights the establishment of the Sugarcane Industry Development Fund that will finance feasibility studies and the project development stage that will transform the industry into a multi-product.
The fund is proposed to be constituted and collected from proceeds of 15 percent of the value added tax (VAT) on the sale and importation of refined sugar and sugarcane by products and the total tariff collected on the importation of raw, refined, and premix sugar.
Benitez said mills must retool their operation to diversify its product from a sugar-based production to finding other alternatives, such as bio-ethanol, bio-fuel that increases the value of its feed stock or sugarcane.
He added the bill was drafted to promote the development of the sugarcane industry, enhance the value of sugarcane through diversification, provide a more comprehensive regulatory mechanism and assure sources of financing for the programs provided for in the policy. (Teresa D. Ellera)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 15, 2012.