Dec 12, 2016 News
By Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell
With losses of over $9.9B, the Guyana Gold Board just cannot continue operating in the manner it has been for the last 35 years. So said Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman while highlighting the woes of the Guyana Gold Board before the National Assembly.
Trotman said that in 2015 the APNU+AFC Government noted that the Guyana Gold Board had, over a number of years, amassed a deficit of more than GY$9B. He said that the deficit called for a comprehensive review of the organization that has been in existence for 35 years.
Trotman said that the Ministry of Natural Resources has fought tirelessly for the continued existence of the Guyana Gold Board “because the Ministry believes that there is merit in having the organization function as a regulator to monitor gold dealers and continue to provide the service of trading gold on a profitable basis.”
Trotman said that in 2016, a complete organizational review was conducted and during the stocktaking process, it was realized that the method of buying gold is flawed. He added that it has been recognised that monitoring and compliance go beyond that scope to include the licensed gold dealers.
As such, the Minister said that in 2017, legislative changes will be made to allow the Board to enhance its monitoring and regulatory process and increase revenues from application fees and penalties.
“At this time I can say that the status quo cannot continue and there will be changes. Therefore, the Guyana Gold Board must review the method of purchasing gold and this will be done in consultation with the representative organisers of miners and the gold dealers.”
Trotman said that during the review process, it was noted that the Guyana Gold Board was primarily monitoring gold declaration figures. On the other hand, the Compliance Unit will be expanded, not only in terms of staff complement, but also the scope of the work of that department to include due diligence and monitoring of all gold traders and barters.
On the brighter side, Trotman said that for 2016, the Ministry of Natural Resources projected a gold declaration target of 550,000 ounces, which when calculated, is a 21.8 % increase of the previous year’s target.
“I am pleased to report that to date, we have surpassed that target and gold declaration stands at an unprecedented 641,668 ounces, which is a remarkable achievement for our country – the highest gold declaration figure in a calendar year and thus far.”
Trotman was keen to note that small and medium scale miners delivered 429, 188, Guyana Goldfields and Troy Resources delivered 145,236 and 67,244 ounces respectively. This means that the small and medium scale miners delivered close to 70% of the total. “Today I pause to congratulate them on behalf of His Excellency President David Granger and to assure them that the APNU+AFC government will neither abandon nor undermine their efforts.”
Trotman also used the opportunity to reiterate that the gold projection target for the year 2017 is set at 694,000 ounces. “It is a difficult, but not impossible, target to reach, but as I reminded the audience at an event recently, we Guyanese are a resilient people with a can do attitude.”
Trotman said that the Ministry of Natural Resources will exert all of its energies to meeting this target “not solely because our good Minister of Finance has requested it, but more importantly, because the people of Guyana need us to do so. I am confident that we can achieve this target as we expect that all categories of gold declarants will continue to grow.”
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