COCONUT farmers are reportedly being affected by unscrupulous companies and individuals who are taking the opportunity to circumvent the law for huge profits.
The affected farmers and legitimate businessmen, who requested anonymity, bared that some importers are allegedly taking advantage of their zero-VAT privileges in order to circumvent the law and expand their trade.
According to them, some agri importers are abusing their privilege and illegally making profit from their imported raw products.
The raw products, which are meant only for specified agricultural and manufacturing purposes, are allegedly being used for public consumption, thus defrauding the government of millions of pesos in taxes.
Such alleged illegal competition has reportedly affected legitimate traders, particularly those in the oil industry and consequently coconut farmers.
The legitimate oil traders said the importers flood the market with misrepresented products.
This enables the unscrupulous companies to sell the misrepresented products at a lower price further constricting the prices of copra and coconut oil, thus, creating a ripple effect by depressing the incomes of coconut farmers, a sector already grappling with the effects of the pandemic and burdened by the high cost of production.
The legitimate businessmen also questioned whether the dishonest oil traders belong to independent companies or are just fronts in order to maraud the government and farmers of their due.
This as the legal traders expressed surprise at the fradulent oil importers’ capacity to remit advance payments for their shipments equivalent to 98% of their total value in US dollars when their respective companies only had a total capitalization of P1,000,000 each.