SRA mulls auction system for sugar imports




The Manila Times


THE Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said it is open to proposals on the auction of sugar import slots. SRA acting administrator Dave Alba was reacting to the statement of Albay Second District Rep. Jose Ma. Clemente “Joey” Salceda that the government should end the sugar cartel among licensed importers through the auction system. “That’s an option. Of course, if that goes on the table, we have to study that with all our stakeholders,” Alba said. Earlier, Salceda said that the SRA should end allocating import slots for each Sugar Import Order through a pro-rata basis. “If you recall, we already had that before, it’s what we call COCR or Certificate of Conversion Right that went to the farmers. It’s something similar but if it’s on the table, we have to study it,” Alba said. He added that the submission of application for the 150,000 metric tons of sugar imports ended on Tuesday. Under Sugar Order 2 signed by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., all imported sweeteners should arrive on or before Nov. 15, 2022. “We received a lot of applications. We are just trying to collate everything and after that, we will award the import slots,” Alba said. Alba said prices of sugar are expected to stabilize between P70 and P80 per kilo in November. Based on the monitoring of the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Thursday, the retail price of refined sugar ranged from P92 to P105 per kilo. Alba said that the country’s expected sugar output is expected to reach 1.9 million metric tons while the demand is at 2.1 million metric tons. “Based on the historical data for the past three years, our rate withdrawal for refined sugar is around 70,000 to 80,000. We need a twomonth stop-gap measure so that the industries can operate,” he added. Alba said the 75,000 sugar imports are enough to support the requirements of industrial users. “We cannot get the right figures. We can only base it on actual withdrawal. Coke might need more. For the next two months that we are not yet refining, they should work with that. By the time we are refining, we would like everybody to buy locally from the refineries,” the official added. The SRA will monitor the outputs of the sugar mills and refineries to determine the actual stocks in the country. “We will see the trend around March or April, after the Holy Week, when the mills are starting to shut down. We will know the situationer on how much we produce for this crop year. Because our crop year is from September 2022 to August 2023,” Alba added.