Wegotmail: Keynote speech of DOF Sec. Ralph Recto at EJAP-SMC Economic Forum 2024 (Part 1)


EJAP President Neil Jerome Morales; fellow workers in government; and friends from the media: good morning. It’s very nice to see all of you again. 

In the past six months that I have been Secretary of Finance, we have already made countless policy decisions. And I have seen how you have all worked hard to accurately report what needed to be communicated.

So allow me to thank all of you for your dedication to truth, and for providing proper context that enables our people to fully appreciate the long-term gains of our actions.

We will rely on you to continue informing the public about the critical aspects of our decision-making process.

At the core of every policy and every choice is a steadfast commitment and a delicate balancing act. We will do everything within our power to ensure that the next generation of Filipinos does not inherit today’s challenges.

First and foremost is food security—the top priority of the Marcos Jr. administration. 

We are sparing no effort to shield our people from high food prices, which pose the most direct threat to food security.

For example, rice has been the major driver of inflation since September of last year due to price increases in the global market.

Rice accounted for over half of the overall inflation for average consumers last month. And for those in the bottom 30 percent of households, it had a bigger share at 80 percent. 

Thus, our mandate is clear: we must act swiftly to alleviate this burden that disproportionately affects the vulnerable population.

By slashing the tariff on imported rice from 35 percent to 15 percent, we anticipate an average of 10 percent reduction in retail prices for the rest of the year.

This could lower the price of rice by at least 5 pesos per kilo. From an average of 54.40 pesos per kilo last June, prices could go down to below 50 pesos as early as August.

The inflation rate for June is already encouraging, which dropped to 3.7 percent. We contained it within our target and this is way below the median estimates of private analysts.

The lower rice tariff will help reduce the overall inflation rate for the year to an average of 18 percentage points, from 3.5 percent to 3.3 percent.

And while this could entail revenue losses for the government amounting to 9.2 billion pesos for the rest of 2024, in the bigger picture, this improves the welfare of households especially the poor.

Had we not taken this step, rice prices would have remained above 50 pesos, causing significant pain for consumers. To be continued


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