… tells Opposition Leader of hardships facing mining sector
The top brass of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) decried the range of burdensome taxes implemented by the coalition Government.
The Association’s executives raised their concerns during a meeting with a team of Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs), led by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Wednesday.
The three-hour meeting, which was held at the GGDMA’s office at North Road,
Bourda, Georgetown, saw the discussion of a number of important national issues affecting Guyanese; especially miners and those operating in the mining industry.
In particular, the executives of the Association highlighted a number of critical challenges which the small-, medium- and even the larger-scale miners are currently facing.
Among the challenges identified were the spike in taxes across the board implemented by the Government; in particular, the Tributors Tax, Value Added Tax (VAT) on heavy-duty mining equipment, the two per cent Withholding Tax, breach of promises in respect of the grant of duty-free concessions on mining equipment, vehicles and fuel and the atrocious state of the roads in the mining areas and other related issues.
After listening to the plight of the GGDMA executives, the Leader of the Opposition pledged his and his party’s continuous support in respect of the matters raised. He further endeavours to highlight their concerns in the National Assembly and at every other available forum.
Jagdeo was accompanied by Opposition parliamentarians: Anil Nandlall, Irfaan Ali, Juan Edghill and Odinga Lumumba.
Following the presentation of the 2017 National Budget back in December, and its subsequent passage in the National Assembly two weeks later, the GGDMA has complained bitterly about the range of new tax measures, accusing Government of ignoring the plight of small- and medium-scale miners. The Association has been the lobbying body of the mining industry for over 30 years.
Of recent, stakeholders in the gold and diamond mining industry said they have “felt blindsided” and have been “surprised by the sudden, rushed and high-handed implementation of several new policy decisions” of the coalition in relation to the mining sector.
In fact, in one of its missives earlier this year, the GGDMA bluntly questioned the “real motive of the [Government of Guyana] GoG in abandoning the long standing tradition of consultation with the industry and now resorting to an authoritarian style.”
Taking a stance on the matter, the Association asserted that it was ready to take the necessary action to protect the livelihoods of all legitimate Guyanese and other miners who have invested time, money and energy in the sector.