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Supermarket group proposes that gov’t help manufacturers source raw materials

A SUPERMARKET industry association proposed that the government aid manufacturers in sourcing raw materials from the Philippines as a means of keeping prices low.

Steven T. Cua, Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association president, said government aid in local sourcing will help temper manufacturer price increases.

“It would augur well for our economy if the (Department of Trade and Industry) reached out to the manufacturing sector and helped them with sourcing local raw materials. Develop the industries which would provide these raw materials and generate employment in the countryside as an added benefit,” Mr. Cua told BusinessWorld in a Viber message.  

The DTI announced in December that a new suggested retail price (SRP) bulletin for basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs) is expected to be released this month.

According to Mr. Cua, providing manufacturers access to affordable and quality raw materials will help stabilize BNPC prices. 

“The impact of having cheap and reliable quality raw materials will have a proportional effect on the price stability of basic necessities and prime commodities as well as (generate) gainful employment when local food manufacturing is prioritized,” Mr. Cua said.  

One possible outcome of the sourcing policy, Mr. Cua said, will be to reduce the need for the DTI to periodically review the SRP bulletin due to movements in global prices. 

“Initially, maybe review every semester and focus on assisting in the development of the various local food industries and ascertain food security,” Mr. Cua said.

“Updating that (SRP) list takes some doing especially as factors affecting prices continue to be fluid and the DTI keeps adding new items to monitor. Global economic analysts seem to be one in saying 2023 will see the ascent of commodity prices,” he added.

Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual has said that some of the products that have pending price hike applications include canned goods, milk, coffee, and bread.

“We are in discussions with the manufacturers so we can appropriately assess the need for price increases. We need to check the changes in various inputs to the cost of producing the product,” Mr. Pascual said.

The DTI’s last SRP bulletin was issued in August, which authorized price increases for 67 out of 218 stock keeping units. The price increases ranged from 3.29% to 10%.

Some of the BNPC permitted to raise prices were canned sardines, coffee, noodles, bottled water, processed milk, detergent soap, candles, and condiments. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave