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DTI says price caps will worsen supply problems

BusinessWorld logo BusinessWorld 9/11/2018
a person preparing food inside of it: DTI says price caps will worsen supply problems DTI says price caps will worsen supply problems

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it expects a system of price caps imposed on key goods to worsen shortages in the market.

“We appreciate all these suggestion by Senator (Cynthia A.) Villar. So we considered and we studied it… however, when we were looking into the situation, we considered the possibility of worsening the shortages, which has happened in previous administrations,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said in a television interview on ANC Tuesday.

“Goods could disappear from the markets. The situation has to be addressed by expanding supply,” he added.

Mr. Lopez said in a mobile message that price caps discourage producers from delivering goods if they run the risk of losing money due to price restrictions.

Republic Act No. 7581, or the Price Act of 1992, authorizes the government to cap prices on “any basic necessity or prime commodity” sold to the public in case of calamities, emergencies, or a finding of “artificial or unreasonable” price increases.

Such interventions in price-setting can be ordered by the president, upon the recommendation of the National Price Coordinating Council.

Mr. Lopez, nevertheless, said the DTI’s suggested retail price (SRP) scheme is largely being observed.

The SRP currently covers at least 241 items, as defined by their inventory identification number, or stock keeping unit (SKU).

The DTI also expanded its price monitoring to 600 businesses from 400 previously in the National Capital Regional and an additional 500 outlets elsewhere in the country. — Janina C. Lim

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