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Gold and Diamond Miners operating under severe constraints -GGDMA

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The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association [GGDMA] has once again expressed its frustration with the new taxes and regulations that are being implemented by the administration.

PRESS STATEMENT

The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association [GGDMA] is (perturbed) over the way miners are being treated in Guyana by the authorities in recent times. The GGDMA wishes to remind the authorities that while many of the other sectors have been failing, it is the contributions from the mining sector that has kept our economy afloat.

The GGDMA is frustrated over the new taxes regulations that are being pushed to miners. As a result of Budget 2017, the GGDMA have the following concerns on these new tax regulations, which has been communicated to the authorities but to no avail. These being: –

  1. Keeping of acceptable records; all of these operations are done in the interior locations where receipts and bills are often not obtained, especially by service providers.
  2. Application of Threshold to Tributors; the association is requesting that tributors be able to benefit from this threshold provision at the time that they are paid, where a provision can be made by the operation owner to deduct the 20% Tributors tax after the person has earned in excess of the $60,000 on a monthly basis. This would allow the Tributors to immediately start to benefit from this provision.
  3. Tax Rate; the association is requesting that there be a reduction of the 40% rate on the chargeable income for miners. With regards to the off-the-top payment of 5% Royalty to the GGMC along with the 2% upfront withholding Tax, the GGDMA feels that a provision can be made for payments at a lower tax rate for miners and/or alternatively a sliding scale against the US Dollar off-the-top.
  4. Filing of Returns; the GGDMA is suggesting that the deadline for filing of returns be extended from April 30 to a convenient later date given that many miners would need to make adjustments so as to comply with the new requirements.

The GGDMA continues to be frustrated in the manner in which the GGMC is conducting its business. The GGMC needs to be modernized as soon as possible. Simple information requested from this agency seems to be an uphill task. One would expect that with all the royalty that is being collected, that a modern information management system would be in place at this agency, this is far from the case. Simple information requested which in this information technology era could take minutes, sometimes takes hours even days.

One is left to ask the question, is the current manner in which the GGMC operating reflective of the fact that there is currently no board in operation at the GGMC? This seems to be the case because adhoc decisions are being made on PL Conversion, while there seems to be no proper management of mining affairs.

The GGDMA is equivalently concerned that there is no board in place at the Guyana Gold Board [GGB]. Issues such as refunds for “Silver Money” for last year remains a point of concern for the association.

The roads which our miners have to traverse on are in extremely poor condition, while there is nothing that is being done by the relevant Ministries to address this matter. This has severely affected transportation and operations costs to our many miners, who now have to pay double the price for transporting fuel to their operations. In addition, the Interior Road Projects hardly caters for the building and maintenance of bridges. The GGDMA also wishes to point out that currently, most of the interior access roads have bridges that are in a deteriorated state. For example, the bridges in Puruni.

Security concerns have also been an ongoing issue for the members of the GGDMA, where miners are being robbed due to the many illegal shops around mining camps.

The GGDMA is open to meet with the relevant authorities to address these and many other issues that are affecting its membership and the sector as a whole. The GGDMA membership comprises of miners who make-up over 80% of the overall gold declarations in Guyana.

The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association was established in 1984 and continues to be a strong advocate for all miners. The Association remains steadfast to promote and protect the rights, interest and welfare of all miners. In light of the above mentioned, the GGDMA asks the question, “Is this the better life that was promised to our Miners, who makes tremendous sacrifices and contribute so much to Guyana’s economy?”

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