|NFA assures rice import delivery on schedule; denies alleged anomalies|
|Written by NFA Public Affairs Dept.|
|Monday, 16 June 2014 00:26|
The National Food Authority (NFA) assures the public that this year’s 800,000 metric tons rice imports intended to beef up the country’s buffer stock will arrive on schedule.
This assurance is being issued in the wake of media reports and opinion columns creating malicious insinuations about alleged unscrupulous activities between the cargo handler and agriculture and NFA officials that may delay or hamper the delivery of the rice import from Vietnam.
In several newspaper columns, for example, it was averred that: 1) the appointed handler is delaying the arrival of the rice from Vietnam; 2) the cargo handler cannot be located; 3) the cargo handler is asking for a higher price; and 4) the fee for cargo handling was padded by as much as $30/MT. The NFA flatly said that none of these allegations is true.
NFA Spokesperson Rex C. Estoperez also clarified that even the plunder complaint recently filed by the Metro Manila Vendors Alliance (MMVA) against Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and ex-NFA Administrator Orlan A. Calayag is apparently based on mere speculations. For Instance, the MMVA claims that the rice importation was a government-to-government transaction when in fact it was an open bidding attended by various bidders and witnessed by a cross-section of the Philippine society, Estoperez explained.
Estoperez also clarified that said importation followed the provisions of R.A. 9148 or the Government Procurement Act and the volumes were decided by an Inter-Agency Committee and passed through the approval process. It was done after an assessment of the country’s rice stock position showed that there had been a big drain in security stocks due to the huge, unexpected demand for rice relief after a series of major calamities including super typhoon Yolanda hit the country in 2013. “Certainly, this was made way before the appointment of Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization.”
“The suppliers – Vietnam Northern Food Corporation I and Vietnam Southern Food Corporation II – have not made any complaint about the cargo handlers, the fees, or the contracts which had already been executed between them,” Estoperez said. Besides, NFA is not part of the contracting parties for the cargo handling, it’s between the supplier and cargo handler, he added.
Estoperez said that on May 8, 2014, the VINAFOOD I requested the assistance of NFA on the cited issues, and on May 15, 2014, the contracting parties met and resolved all the issues. He also clarified that cargo handlers and import inspectorates pass through the NFA accreditation process.
On the alleged padding of the handling fee, Estoperez clarified that the handling fee, per contract, is $30/MT only, which makes the allegation of price padding by as much as $30/MT totally inconceivable. Last year’s handling contract with the same supplier was for $32/MT. The decrease in handling fee certainly could not mean ‘padding’ in the contract price, he said.
As of June 09, more than half or 459,400 MT were already either delivered at the designated NFA warehouse or have arrived at the assigned local port, in transit or currently loading. The balance of 340,600 MT or the total volume of 800,000 MT should be totally delivered to NFA warehouses on or before end of August.
Estoperez also stressed that the bidding for this latest rice importation of NFA has been very transparent. “The decision to import and the guidelines for it were made in close coordination and cooperation with the Departments of Budget and Management, Finance, and Trade and Industry, he explained. The pre-bidding and actual bidding itself were witnessed by representatives from all bidders as well as from the embassies of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, various government agencies such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Department of Finance, Senate and House of Representatives, the Commission on Audit, farmers and farmer organizations, civil society and the media. The proceedings were even videotaped for reference purposes,” he added.
“As we repeatedly say, our office is ready to provide any interested parties with the public documents regarding this rice importation and we are open to address any inquiries for the sake of transparency,” Estoperez said. (NFA Public Affairs Department)
Director Rex C. Estoperez
Public Affairs Department
|Last Updated on Monday, 16 June 2014 00:26|