Interagency meeting tackles inconsistencies in trade stats PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 10 November 2013 14:05

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Region 9 called for a special meeting on Friday with representatives from the Bureau of Customs (BOC), Philippine Ports Authority, Plant Quarantine Services (PQS), National Statistics Office (NSO), and Aleson Shipping Lines in a bid to harmonize the disparities in statistics regarding trade between Zamboanga City and Sandakan, Malaysia.

DTI Regional Director NazrullahManzur said his office is particularly interested in more accurate export figures of rubber, seaweeds, coconut, abaca, mango, and processed fish coming from the region through the port of Zamboanga. These were identified as the region’s champion products and thus, prioritized for development assistance by the Regional Development Council (RDC-9) in a council resolution in 2005. Abaca was later added in 2011.

“We wanted to know if the multi-sectoral interventions over the past several years have made a significant impact to develop these industries. We are particularly interested in the exports data because we seem to be getting conflicting or incomplete figures,” Manzur said.

Citing natural rubber exports from January to July 2013 as an example, Manzur said the Malaysian Rubber Board reports cup lumps importation from the Philippines totalling 3,600 metric tons. However, we don’t have such official data coming from the NSO which in turn gets its data from the exports declarations (EDs) at the BOC according to Manzur. Region 9 is the country’s No. 1 producer of natural rubber.

“Could it be that the cup lumps were shipped to Sandakan via the so-called southern backdoor and thus, not properly documented? This we wanted to know,” Manzur added.

Ms. Kasramia Yasin-Ladjamalik of Aleson Shipping Lines, when asked, reported that the usual cargo of M/V Danica Joy which plies the Zamboanga-Sandakan route once a week include dried seaweed, fresh mango and some grocery items like instant noodles, mayonnaise, Chippy, Oishi, and Perla soap.

She added that during mango season, they usually load around 500 boxes of mango at 40 kilograms per box. She said they used to carry also canned sardines from Mega Sardines but this has stopped because of some difficulties in cargo handling in as much as M/V Danica doesn’t have  facilities for containerized cargoes.

Incidentally, exports data for mango are also absent in the January-July 2013 export report of the DTI-Zamboanga City Office which regularly gets its exports figures from the same EDs  that the BOC furnishes the NSO. Also missing are the exports data on abaca.

Hence, it was agreed that DTI will officially write Aleson Shipping to furnish the group a three-year historical data of M/V Danica’s cargoes brought to and from Sandakan through the port of Zamboanga. Afterwards, a follow up meeting will be called to further improve the present exports documentation procedures, if and when needed, and to tackle other issues impinging on trade between Region 9 and BIMP-EAGA. — LSV/DTI-9