Neda: Digital platforms make producers, consumers winners amid pandemic, help in managing inflation

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THE National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) has urged the public and private sector to take advantage of the digital economy and e-commerce, especially for agricultural products and other basic commodities.

Neda Acting Secretary Karl Chua said digital platforms provide benefits to producers, who can market their goods to more buyers, and to consumers, who are given more options.

“In managing inflation throughout this crisis, we must innovate and adapt quickly. The government will continue to adopt evidence-based policy actions and seize opportunities to guarantee the Filipino people’s access to affordable, nutritious food and high-quality goods and services,” Chua said in a statement.

Inflation

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that the country’s headline inflation rate slowed down to 4.5 percent in March 2021, from 4.7 percent in the previous month. This is the first easing of the inflation rate since September 2020.

The slower inflation in March 2021 was mainly driven by the decrease in the price indices for major food items. Inflation eased for vegetables (8.3 percent from 16.7 percent), fruits (3.9 percent from 7.4 percent), and fish (4.9 percent from 5.1 percent).

The supply of vegetables and fruits has increased given better weather conditions and the onset of the harvest season for selected agricultural products.

However, the continued supply deficiency in meat, particularly pork, means that it remains the leading driver of inflation at 20.9 percent from 20.7 percent in the previous month.

“The lower inflation rate recorded for March shows that our decisive policies are working. For instance, higher fish imports complemented the lifting of the closed fishing season, and this led to lower inflation for fish which is especially important in the face of elevated meat inflation,” Chua said.

“We will continue to address supply issues and logistics bottlenecks to ensure price stability, especially for food and essential goods. We are working with a great sense of urgency to protect the purchasing power of the people, majority of whom have lower or forgone income as a result of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), and ensure better access to healthy, safe and affordable food,” he added.

The National Capital Region (NCR) and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal have been placed on ECQ from March 29 to April 11, 2021 due to the rapid rise in cases there.

Other regions in the country were enjoined to supply the NCR with basic commodities like pork, which is currently being supplied by Central Visayas, particularly Bohol and Negros Oriental. (JOB)