GINA, GUYANA, Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Small and medium scale miners will continue to benefit from fuel, and concessions on mining equipment parts, as the contracts were renewed today, by the relevant Ministries and associations.
The Ministries of Finance and Natural Resources, and the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners’ Association (GGDMA) renewed two contracts for concessions relating to the mining industry. Small and medium-scale miners will now benefit from duty-free concessions on imported equipment, and a 10 percent tax reduction on fuel.
The agreement provides for eligible gold miners to be exempted from the payment of custom duties on fuel, matting, All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), jackhammer drills, flex hoses, expanding metals, pumps, pump housing, impellers, shaft and engines.
Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman said that the Government is happy with gold declarations, and with the commitment of miners. He pointed out that the government has no desire to hinder, frustrate or even close down the industry as some would suggest.
Minister Trotman said that he was pleased to renew the contracts as per a commitment given by the Minister of Finance in 2015.
Minister Trotman added that while concessions are given, with every benefit comes responsibility. “We expect better declarations, we still believe that despite the high declarations that an amount of our gold, a significant amount of our gold is not being declared. These two agreements will not be signed and implemented, simply because you are a miner you shall be entitled; with the entitlement comes some responsibilities, and one such responsibility is good stewardship of what you have been given,” Minister Trotman explained.
The Minister further said that the country is transitioning into a green economy, so unsafe mining, unhealthy and bad environmental practices will not be condoned. Additionally, Minister Trotman said that the Government will not overlook miners who demand from the government and do not give back (taxes).
“Roads have to be built, security has to be provided, airstrips have to be maintained and these require costs that Government bear,” Minister Trotman noted.
Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, in brief remarks said that the agreements will be valid for one year. He said that the gold industry is supporting the economy at the moment and that the Government of Guyana will continue to assist it in any way it can.
The Finance Minister said, “We are committed to give you a level of comfort and concessions in the industry to see the industry grow, to see the industry develop in a responsible, environmentally friendly manner, to make sure household incomes are grown, and that we can prosper. We are about the ‘good life; for Guyanese,” Minister Jordan said.
Minister Jordan further stated at the Government of Guyana will never be interested in killing any industry. The Finance Minister also pointed out that the Government is giving substantial concessions and believes that it is reaping benefits from the concessions.
“Taxes are very important to a country; we all use the roads, whether you are a miner, farmer or public servant, we all uses the roads. We use the lights, we use electricity. If we don’t want to pay our taxes, then a small section of society will forever be burdened with the taxes, and this is not something that the Government will countenance, and this is something that the Government will not shy away from, ensuring that everybody pays their fair share of taxes,” Jordan said.
President of the GGDMA, Terrence Adams expressed gratitude to the Government for keeping its promise to the miners and renewing the contracts. Highlighting that there is a lot of work to be done in executing the contracts, Adams said that the association will be working along with the ministries in the coming year to ensure that relevant persons pay their taxes.
The GGDMA’s president said that he is hoping that a meeting can be held before the year ends or early next year, so that a consensus can be reached, to ensure that the small and medium scale miners pay taxes.
The tax exemption to small and medium scale miners was part the A Partnership for National Unity- Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) coalition promise in its 100-day Action Plan.
Other officials present at the renewal of the contracts were representatives from the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC).
By: Gabreila Patram