President Ali pushes to advance partnership with miners
─ announces major infrastructure upgrades for Region Seven
Government, through the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) is accelerating plans to ensure the challenges in the mining sector, specifically land management, are addressed as soon as possible.
President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali on Wednesday, during an engagement with member of the mining community, at an outreach to Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) iterated his administration’s aim to advance the industry and called on land owners and miners to honour their commitments to the GGMC.
Dr. Ali explained that there are people who are owners of several mining lands and have not paid their dues to the state for a number of years, “Then when you go to cancel, they turn up to pay for the outstanding years…then they would go and sell the interest in those blocks and then come three years after to pay the fees for the blocks. Those are the challenges and difficulties.”
President Ali expressed his government’s intention to resolving the issue. He said the Ministry of Natural Resources has begun reclaiming lands with outstanding fees and is currently assessing plots from 2017.
However, he noted that while the administration is looking to resolve the matter between the miners as soon as possible, it does not want a total shut down nor disruption of operations in the fields.
Another major difficulty the government encountered over the past months is the unusual weather pattern, which has caused massive flooding in mining areas, affecting parts of the country’s infrastructure.
“Because you know the rain has a heavy toll on the terrains and the roadways in the hinterland, so this has taken a heavy toll on the hinterland,” the President explained.
The price of fuel has also exacerbated the situation, despite Guyana being among the many countries, or the only state that has completely removed taxes on fuel, the worldwide issue of rising fuel cost remains, Dr. Ali pointed out.
Government had previously held consultations with the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA), where a number of strategies were outlined which provided timely assistance, after concerns were highlighted.
At a meeting with Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Liliendaal, on May 31, several measures were announced to benefit the mining community.
Some $2.4 billion is set aside to upgrade roads in mining areas, final tax has been reduced from 3.5 percent to 2.5 percent, and will see about $1.4 billion returning to the industry.
The value added tax (VAT) has been removed on lubricating oils which will benefit almost all of the productive sectors of the country.
Thousands of workers in the industry are also benefiting significantly from the removal of the 10 percent Tributors Tax.
Also present at the meeting with President Ali, were Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, M.P, Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton, Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, M.P, and GGMC’s Commissioner, Newell Dennison.