Cebu biz heads back deregulating SRP bid

By: Victor Anthony V. Silva March 30,2017 - 09:03 PM
Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Glenn Anthony Soco

Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Glenn Anthony Soco

BUSINESS leaders in Cebu welcomed the proposal to deregulate the setting of suggested retail prices (SRP), saying that it should have been done here a long time ago.

Glenn Soco, president of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), said this would give local businesses a fighting chance against bigger companies and even foreign firms.

“It is in this principle that we create a level playing field and that money spent locally should stay locally as a means of achieving more inclusive growth,” he said in a text message.

According to an Inquirer report on Thursday, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is looking at the deregulation of how SRPs are fixed, giving the private sector a free hand in setting prices without approval from the government.

The report further stated that Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez wanted prices to be determined through the natural course of competition, noting companies would still offer affordable rates to preserve their market share.

Soco said that free market forces always dictate pricing in unregulated industries.

“Now that the economy is getting better, businesses can expect more competition which in turn will benefit the consumers,” he said.

However, he said there would still be a need for the government to provide protection and more incentives to local businesses, especially micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises.

Robert Go

Robert Go

Robert Go, president of the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) in Cebu, said this proposal is doable in Cebu and should have been implemented here years ago.

He said there is no need to regulate the prices of goods in Cebu anymore because these are the cheapest in the country.

“All supermarkets are even selling below SRP because of competition,” he said.

Go said supermarkets and convenience stores are popping up everywhere, reinforcing the fact that competition is really stiff in the retail industry.

He added that consumers should not be afraid that prices will skyrocket because prices have been stable and competitive in the last 20 years.

DTI’s Lopez said his agency was already reviewing how this would come about, but noted that it would ultimately just “let the market decide.”

“There shouldn’t be any SRP approval from the DTI. Although it’s [provided] in the [Price Act] that the SRP should be set by the DTI, I think [it’s just] ministerial, to me, as long as the industry is very competitive,” he was quoted as saying in the report.

SRPs serve as guide for consumers and manufacturers of prime and basic goods.

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TAGS: business, Cebu, Cebu City, Glenn Soco, investment, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philippine Retailers Association, policy, regulation, Robert Go, SRP

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