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DTI studying possible tax relief for basic commodity manufacturers

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THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it is studying how to reduce expenses for manufacturers of basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs), including taxes, to help them hold the line on price as they experience pressure from higher raw material costs.

“We’re also looking at some taxes or maybe some charges that will be minimized, at least, on basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs) so that manufacturers will be able to keep the prices of these products low,” Trade Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo said in a television interview on Wednesday.

“Manufacturers pay a lot of charges when they send the products to retailers, whether they are supermarkets or groceries or the distributors. These costs, maybe, we can look into minimizing or exempting, at least for BNPCs,” she added.

According to Ms. Castelo, the proposal allows manufacturers more breathing room as their bills for raw materials rise.

“If we are able to reduce that, manufacturers will… be able eventually to (keep retail prices steady),” Ms. Castelo said.

When contacted for comment by BusinessWorld after her television interview, Ms. Castelo gave no details of the taxes and charges the DTI may exempt manufacturers from.

“We actually discussed this with (incoming) Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual initially, but the details will be (determined) later on,” she added.

The DTI has said that it has formally received price increase requests from three manufacturers making canned goods, bread, and detergent bars.

Ms. Castelo said that the DTI is still studying the price hike proposals, adding that it takes four to six weeks to evaluate them.

“We wait for week-on-week and month-on-month data so we will have an accurate view of what’s really happening on the prices of raw materials,” Ms. Castelo said.

On May 11, the DTI issued its latest suggested retail price (SRP) list, which raised prices on 82 BNPCs, while prices of 136 BNPCs were held steady from the levels set in the SRP bulletin released on Jan. 27.  — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave 

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