THE Confederation of Sugar Producers’ Associations (CONFED) of Negros and Panay urged the government to extend the suspension of excise tax for fuel in order not to increase the production cost of sugar.
In a statement, CONFED said, “We appeal to President Rodrigo R. Duterte to extend the suspension in behalf of the 5 million direct and indirect stakeholders of the sugar industry.”
The Department of Finance (DoF) has announced the suspension of the excise tax under the second phase of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law for at least three months, as a response to rising inflation.
“While we are certainly grateful for this move, we hope that the DoF will continue suspending, not just the excise tax on fuel but the implementation of the entire second phase of the TRAIN law,” CONFED said.
“We fear that further implementing TRAIN 2 which will raise again the levy on fuel by P2 after a three-month reprieve will lead to higher production cost, (and) huge losses for the sugar industry,” CONFED added.
CONFED noted that fuel is a primary need for the industry from start to finish with mechanization under way to enhance the industry’s global competitiveness.
Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) Board Member Emilio Bernardino L. Yulo who represents the planters said that he hopes the suspension will be extended until the industry has recovered from the effects of TRAIN 2.
“Part of our mandate in SRA is to encourage mechanization of farms to make them more efficient and globally competitive. How can our sugar planters, particularly the small farmers and agrarian reform beneficiaries that comprise over 80% of sugar producers, continue to compete when they have to contend with high cost of fuel?” Mr. Yulo said.
“While we are happy with the recent decision of the DoF to suspend the hike in oil excise tax, we hope that the suspension will be beyond the three-month reprieve but at least for six months to a year, or until the people fully recover from the effects of the implementation of TRAIN 1,” he added.
Separately the SRA said it authorized 17 companies to import 150,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar this year.
These companies are: ED&F Man, All Asian, Universal Robina Corp., San Fernando Eric Commercial, Delmax, Sweet Crystal, Interbrev, Bee Crescent, Sucden, Oro Allado, Busco Sugar, Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, Nestle Philippines, Victorias Milling Co. Inc, Commodity Carrier, and Sweet Crystals.
Out of the 150,000 MT approved for importation this year, only 149,950 MT was taken up by the 17 importers, leaving a 50 MT balance. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio