[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) this morning signed an agreement with the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA), to make effective the granting of tax exemptions to medium and small-scale miners, as provided for in Budget 2015.
The parties involved in the signing comprise, Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, GGMC Commissioner, Rickford Bourne, Chief Executive Officer of the GEA Mahendra Sharma, and President GGDMA, Terrence Adams. The signing took place in the boardroom of the Ministry of Finance.
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. Signing as witnesses were Patrick Harding of the GGDMA and Deputy Commissioner (ag) Guyana Revenue Authourity (GRA,) Ingrid Griffith.
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. To this end, Minister Jordan deemed the signing a “small and positive step” because it gives effect to a promise that was made by the Government. He said too that the signing is a representation that the Government will listen to, and where appropriate, seek to give assistance to sectors that are in difficulty, as it relates to domestic and international conditions.
“I am not here to give out concessions, but I am here saying that this Government understands and appreciate and will work with all sectors to ensure that, as we promised, a good life is given to all,” Minister Jordan said.
The minister called on miners to be honest with their declarations. He referred to the recent disclosure that 15,000 ounces of gold is allegedly being smuggled on a weekly basis, out of the country. He explained that with smuggling, a lot of damage is done to the economy in terms of lost revenue and the misrepresentation of the country’s growth. Minister Jordan asked in return, that the miners and operators in the sector carry out their corporate responsibilities, by making accurate declarations and paying the relevant royalties.
“This cannot be a game, where greed and selfishness overtake the national good,” Minister Jordan said. He pointed out that the Government came to the miners’ rescue when they asked. “We are asking in return that for this sacrifice that we are making, we are not asking for a sacrifice from you, we are asking merely for you to do what is right,” he exhorted.
Meanwhile, Adams expressed thanks on behalf of all the miners on behalf of all the miners to the Government for keeping its promise and delivering the agreement to the association. [GINA]