Loggers, miners urged to help curb illegal activities
Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Vickram Bharrat has called on workers in the logging and mining industry to assist the Government to deter illegal activities within the sectors.
This call to action was made at Thursday’s Government outreach at Watooka Guest House, Region 10.
“When we have illegal logging, illegal mining, it takes away a lot of revenue from the country. It creates unfair competition to you because a contractor will go and purchase illegal lumber at a cheaper rate rather than purchasing from you because you are paying royalties, you are paying all your taxes and everything. They can afford to sell cheaper because they pay nothing,” Minister Bharrat explained.
“So, you need to help us. You need to work with us to ensure that we can curb this trend.”
The Minister said the illegal activities in the extractive industry are of immense concern to the Administration.
Meanwhile, Minister Bharrat said Government will continue to facilitate access to new markets for small to medium scale loggers of Region 10. This is in keeping with page 18 of the PPP/C manifesto, on which the Administration was elected.
To further strengthen the forestry sector, the Minister added that more emphasis will be placed on creating value-added products.
“We have been comfortable over the years to export logs. However, we can increase our revenue significantly if we convert those logs to lumber, if we convert those lumber to wood products.”
Since assuming office, the PPP/C has made tremendous strides to support the natural resources sector.
Concerning the Guyana Forestry Commission, $350 million was invested through the 2020 emergency budget to strengthen its daily operations.
The log export policy was also revamped to permit sawmillers and dealers without forestry concessions to export logs.
This will allow more businesses to export logs, thereby leading to higher profit margins and increased Government revenue.
Among a host of budgetary relief measures that were implemented last September, several incentives have positively impacted both the mining and forestry sectors.
Some of these include the rollback of VAT and duty on machinery and equipment, in addition to VAT removals on all exports and hinterland travel.
Tax concessions were also granted for both sectors.
President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali had underscored that these measures were designed to stimulate economic growth, increase the country’s productive capacity, and reduce the cost of doing business.