• Rice buffer target missed due to erring importers

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    THE National Food Authority (NFA) apparently missed the required buffer stock for rice because of 44 erring importers who apparently shortchanged the government in the delivery of rice when they shipped in lesser amount of the staple.

    The Commission on Audit (COA) disclosed in its audit report on the state’s grain agency that there were 44 importers who were short of 25,789.30 metric ton of rice notwithstanding the grant of tax subsidy against them.

    On top of that, another 10 importers “did not bring in the allocated volume,” auditors said.

    In the review of the winning bidders, the Audit agency identified 44 importers who “were short in their shipments” by 25,789.30 metric tons.

    All together, the 44 importers were tasked to bring in 177,555 metric tons of rice in 2012. But they only shored up 151,765.70 metric tons.

    The top importer with the biggest deficit in importation is Jaded Ranch Grains & Cereals Trading which had a 10,000-metric ton allocation. It only imported 8,230 metric ton.

    Cabanatuan City Seed Growers MPC had an allocation of 2,000 metric tons, but only delivered 250 metric tons.

    Cruzada MPC was allocated with 2,000 metric tons, but only imported 420 metric tons.

    Umpacan Palay & Vegetable Growers had a deficit of 1,350 metric tons of rice. However, it delivered only 250 out of its 1,600 metric ton.

    Malipampang Concern Citizens MPC was short of 1,245 metric tons. It only delivered 355 out of its 1,600-metric ton allocation.

    “Since the import allocation to private importers was determined based on the total volume of rice needed for buffer stocks, when importers fail to import the required volume as allocated to them, this could affect the food security program of NFA,” auditors said.

    Unfortunately, COA disclosed that the Food agency does not flex its muscle on erring importers since those that did not deliver in whole or partial only had lax penalty.

    The Commission noted that there are no punishment against those private importers who were not able to import or deliver the full volume allocated to them, “except for forfeiture of the Performance Bond and imposition of penalties for every day of delay.”

    On top of short delivery of 44 importers, COA also discovered that there were 10 importers that did not deliver a total of 17,220 metric tons of rice.

    These are Green Valley United Cooperative (1,600 metric tons), Limtrasco (2,000 metric tons), Pakikibagai (1,720 metric tons), San Ildefonso Kabalikat (2,000 metric tons), San Ildefonso Vegetable Growers MPC (1,600 metric tons), Sili MPC (2,000 metric tons), Sitio Magaslong (1,600 metric tons), Triple Ventures ARBS MPC (1,500 metric tons), Samahan ng Magsasaka MPC (1,600 metric tons) and Samahan ng mga Kapampangan (1,600 metric tons).

    In total, the NFA incurred a shortage of 43,009.3, combining the shortage of the 44 importers and the non-delivery of the 10 importers.

    COA asked the Food authority to review its legal tenets “to provide terms and conditions in case of inability of the latter to import the allocated volume for buffer stocking.”

    It also recommended that the Grains agency consider the failure of these importers “as an important concern” in assessing the financial capability of bidders or importers.

    NFA replied that they will conduct an investigation on the matter and study the legality and propriety of imposing disciplinary actions, including forfeiture of performance bond and blacklisting. JOHN CONSTANTINE G. CORDON

     

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