THE rice inventories of the National Food Authority Central District Office (NFA-CDO) after the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda were way below the required buffer stock levels, state auditors disclosed.
This “could have affected the accomplishment of its (NFA-CDO) mandated function to timely respond to rice requirements especially during calamities,” auditors said.
In a 2013 audit report on the NFA, the Commission on Audit (COA) said the level of rice inventories were only good from 7.958 to 10.861 days consumption, instead of the required 15- to 30-day buffer stock levels.
CDO, which includes Manila, San Juan and Quezon City, consumes 20,920 bags of rice daily based on the Daily Consumption Requirement and NFA Food Security Stocks for 2013.
COA said the 15-day buffer stock of 313,800 bags (20,920 bags x 15 days) should have been maintained at any given time from January to June 2013.
In July 2013, NFA-CDO was tasked to prepare for the lean months and to maintain a 30-day buffer stock (inclusive of the 15-day buffer stock) equivalent to 627,600 bags, COA said.
“The NFA-NCR, including the CDO, is the depot or terminal point that supplies rice to other regions. It should therefore maintain buffer stocks to be able to provide for the regions especially in times of calamities and emergencies,” COA explained.
“Even if CDO received 314,634 bags of imported rice during the period from June to July 2013, management narrated that inventory level of rice stocks as of October 31, 2013 was low due to the distribution of rice for relief operations before Typhoon Yolanda, distribution to accredited retailers and Sale of stocks through Market Determined Pricing (SMDP) done from August to October 2013,” it added.
After Typhoon Maring in August 2013, the report said, rice inventory balance was 516,307 on August 31 and 311,173 on September 30.
In September and October 2013, a total of 135,482 bags were dispersed/transferred from other regions/provinces to CDO.
“However, despite these transfers to CDO, inventory level was still down at only 227,203 bags on October 31, 2013, when it should be 627,600 bags equivalent to 30-day buffer stock maintained at any given time,” COA said.
The inventory level further went down to 119,375 bags at the end of November 2013 with the distribution of 84,172 bags for Typhoon Yolanda relief operations.
In the same audit report, COA said that the reliability and accuracy of the 1,173,268 bags of rice with estimated value of P1.4 billion that were reported as distributed for Typhoon Yolanda relief operations “cannot be ascertained due to the variance of 236,426 bags.”
Auditors said this was caused by erroneous or unreported issuances, and inclusion of issuances for other purposes, among others.