The Ministry of Natural Resources in collaboration with the Tax Concession Review Committee (TCRC) yesterday, started its first in a series of hearings for applicants for duty-free concessions in the mining sector.
Ten miners appeared before the Committee, which comprises Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Raphael Trotman, Ms. Euliene Watson, Technical Officer-Mining, and two staffers of the Guyana Geology & Mines Commission (GGMC).
According to a GINA release, during the meeting, the miners were given the opportunity to present their cases for the concessions, even as they answered questions about their operations. At the close of the reviews, they were assured that a decision would be taken and communicated to them within ten days.
The Ministry’s directive to establish the Tax Concession Review Committee was prompted by complaints by miners about sloth, and allegations of impropriety in the process for the approval of the concession.
According to Minister Trotman, Government was also concerned that in some instances, the privilege of tax waivers it extended was not always respected by miners. To this end, he informed the miners that in considering the granting or refusal of the tax concession, much deliberation would be given to areas such as the amount of gold and diamond declared, health and welfare practices, mine construction and safety record, and environmental management, including land reclamation.
On its assumption to office in May 2015, the new Government, through the Minister of Finance, partnered with the Guyana Gold & Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) to compile a list of mining equipment and spares that would qualify for tax concessions; while establishing a mechanism for consideration and approval to be given.
From this arrangement, the Minister of Natural Resources is required to recommend the names of the miners who would be granted the concessions to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).
The Ministry of Natural Resources said it will continue to meet with miners applying for tax waivers every fortnight.