SUGAR MILLERS said a suggested retail price scheme for their products is expected to be unworkable and may depress the price at which traders buy sugar from them.
Philippine Sugar Millers Association, Inc. (PSMA) president and executive director Francisco D. Varua told BusinessWorld on Monday that the government’s efforts to intervene in the past have not been effective.
“The way I see it, it’s easy to monitor supermarkets and grocery chains, but it would be difficult to implement it in wet markets and sari-sari stores,” he said.
“Since we operate in an atmosphere of free enterprise, this is not necessary,” he added
Mr. Varua said on the wholesale side of the business, millers will be able to command lower prices because traders will seek to buy low to ensure they can earn a profit even with price caps.
The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said it wants the Department of Agriculture (DA) to impose an SRP system on sugar after the SRA discovered instances of grocery chains charging higher than prevailing prices.
SRA monitors grocery chains and supermarkets three times a week to note the price movements of raw, unwashed and refined sugar. The Philippine Statistics Authority likewise monitors sugar prices three times a week in wet markets.
The DA in June imposed SRPs on eight farm goods to counter profiteering in wet markets, claiming that the system has helped stabilize prices.
Mr. Varua added that the industry’s biggest concern is proposals for the mandatory labeling of sugar-sweetened goods as harmful to the health.
Through the Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI), the group in a statement last week said the government is putting sugar in a bad light due to the tax reform law’s imposition of excise taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), while the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has also proposed warning labels for sweetened beverages. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato