Pernia: PH inflation has yet to reach peak

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 07 2018 02:55 AM

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Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia on Tuesday hinted that the country's inflation rate has yet to reach peak after it hit 4% in January.

"In a couple more months, we will feel the effect (of TRAIN) on the price increases. But then in the latter part of the year, we expect this inflationary impact to taper off," he said.

Though the first tax reform package is a factor in the higher than expected inflation rate, Pernia said the destruction brought by recent typhoons took a toll on the prices of agricultural products.

"Everything is a contributing factor. One of them is the TRAIN. There is going to be an initial kick on inflation from TRAIN because of increase in fuel prices and sweetened drinks. And then it translates to transportation, fare increase. But that's going to be short-lived. It's going to taper out over the months. Over the quarters. That's just an initial reaction," he said.

Price increase among businesses is also expected, Pernia added.

To mitigate inflation, he recommended the lifting of the quantitative restriction on rice.

"One way to temper inflation is to really shift quantitative restriction to tariffication. We expect tariffication to lower the price of rice to benefit the poor who consume it," Pernia said.

The bill on rice tariff has already passed the Lower House and Pernia expects it would be passed into law under the 17th Congress.

"I don't know of a firm commitment yet. But in the LEDAC, we have to include it among the urgent. Part na. But you have to reiterate the urgency of pending bills," he said.