Proposal to pay miners 3% less than world market prices “a betrayal”- Jagdeo
Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo has condemned the move being mulled by government to have miners sell their gold to the Guyana Gold Board for 3% less than the world market price.
The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) and the Guyana Women Miner’s Organisation (GWMO) on Thursday related that the government is considering a scheme at the level of cabinet which would force small and medium scale miners to sell their gold for 3% less than the world market price to the Guyana Gold Board. The bodies condemned the move which they say will plunge the economy further; god being one of the major contributors to Guyana’s GDP.
In a statement to the media on Friday, the Opposition Leader said this is the latest betrayal by the government. “This is the latest in a string of broken promises of support which were made to local small and medium-scale miners by the APNU+AFC Government” Jagdeo said.
He noted that the PPP/C does not support any action aimed at reducing concessions to local small and medium-scale miners or any reduction, compared to world market prices, in the rates paid to them for their gold.
Reiterating that his party has repeatedly called for greater support to local small and medium-scale miners at the level of the National Assembly Chambers, as well as at the Parliamentary Natural Resources Sectoral Committee, he said those calls have gone unheeded.
In this regard, Jagdeo once again called for Budget 2017 to “include greater support for productive sectors – measures to address not only the plight of local small and medium-scale miners, but also the steep decline in the forestry sector, across the country, particularly in the Ituni, Kwakwani and Linden areas.”
The local mining bodies have noted that the new proposal will see miners now paying out almost 10% ($25,700 for every ounce) of the gold they earn, to the Government of Guyana.
On Wednesday, Minister of Natural Resources disclosed that incentives to stimulate activities within the productive sectors in the form of fuel and less taxes will be included in the 2017 budget.