By Kiana Wilburg
Guyana Goldfields Inc. is not the only foreign company within these shores, benefitting from tax concessions fit for a king. Australian conglomerate, Troy Resources also enjoys tax concessions galore.
Figures released by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) show that the company received generous concessions from 2016 to now. For that period, it received $2.5B in tax breaks. Based on the company’s financial statements, the royalties received by the State thus far is $17M.
The $2.5B in taxes given up by the State to the Australian entity does not take into account, the billions of dollars in concessions it received on fuel, lube oil and other chemicals and spare parts.
Some of the machinery Troy Resources received tax breaks on include: caterpillar trucks, bulldozers, excavators, front end loaders etc.
Of significance is the fact that Troy Resources and Guyana Goldfields Inc. are the only companies in the gold mining sector which enjoy such lavish concessions.
Concerned citizens and even those in charge of the respective regulatory bodies have complained about the fact that the concessions granted to these foreign mining companies are not extended to local miners.
In an exclusive interview with Kaieteur News recently, Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Godfrey Statia bemoaned the fact that there continues to be gross distortions between the concessions granted to local mining companies as opposed to foreign ones.
The tax chief said that he has considered time and again, just how much the nation is benefitting from the billions of dollars in concessions granted yearly.
He said, “There is a distortion to big miners versus small miners…But the story of gold is a web of problems and many unknowns which I agree should be highlighted.”
The Commissioner General said that being the patriot he is, he can certainly understand anyone’s call for equal opportunity in the mining sector as well as a strong dose of transparency and accountability.
Apart from the tax chief, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also highlighted that the grant of exemptions is a major issue for Guyana’s mining sector. The Fund in its November 2017 report noted that the gold mining sector in Guyana is split between small mining and large industrial mines, typically owned by foreign investors.
The Fund stressed that artisanal mining continues to represent 70 percent of Guyana’s 700,000 ounces of annual production. The Fund stressed that negotiating exemptions into mining agreements creates competitive imbalances and administrative complexities. It also observed that tariff and VAT exemptions on imports favour foreign over domestic operators.
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