The Senate passed on first reading the bill that seeks to impose excise tax on imported pork, chicken and poultry products.

The bill, which was previously introduced by President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. to the Senate, was the government’s response to the realization that locally produced agricultural products like pork, chicken, and other poultry products are struggling to compete with their imported counterparts in the Palauan market.

Locally produced pig meat in Palau are a bit expensive compared to their imported counterparts that are cheaper because they are produced by big piggeries and farms that are subsidized by foreign governments where they came from.

In the bill, products such as pork, chicken, and poultry products or food products produced from these will be levied 5% ad valorem tax. Seafood, likewise will be levied 5% ad valorem tax, bottled water will be with 25% ad valorem tax while all other imported products except food stuff, medicines, and medical supplies will be levied 3% ad valorem tax.

The money collected out of the proposed taxes to be added on the specified imported products will be used to subsidize the local production of chicken, pork, and food produced from these resources pursuant to regulations promulgated by the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment, and Tourism (MNRET).

If the bill is passed into law, it will task MNRET to establish a regulation program to incentivize the local production of seafood for domestic sale and consumption.

Island Times previously reported that the Animal Production Project (APP) which operates under the Bureau of Agriculture aims to boost pig breeding in Palau through artificial insemination.

Aside from that, the opening of the Palau National Slaughterhouse in Olsirked, Ngchesar is also expected to encourage local pig farmers with the facility offering advance meat processing system. (Rhealyn C. Pojas/Reporter)