A suite of relief measures have been rolled out for local miners and Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo has promised that upon the completion of $2.2 billion in much-needed road works this year, further assistance will be provided.
The Vice President on Tuesday met with local miners at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre at Liliendaal, Georgetown. That meeting focused on addressing their concerns.
Before he listened to the concerns that miners raised, Dr. Jagdeo acknowledged that many of the issues have been “festering for a long time” but he assured the gathering that the government intends to respond to their woes.
In this regard, he said that road works exceeding $2.2 billion should be executed soon and it will allow miners to readily access mining camps in Guyana’s interior region.
“I hope that the current projects which exceed $2.2 billion would be implemented quickly,” the Vice President said.
He said too, “We have to meet again and talk about how we do roads in the future.”
Aside from future road works expected to bring further relief, the Vice President tasked the mining community with identifying the issues that the government can fix with immediacy.
Those issues, he said, may vary from structural or systemic problems to personnel issues that hinder the efficient operation of the sector.
Dr. Jagdeo also emphasised that the government is focused on ensuring that the country’s small miners are not overshadowed. Providing assistance to these miners, he said, may include getting more lands to them.
“Small miners must also feel like they are an important part of the sector and they must also benefit,” Dr. Jagdeo emphasised.
During that engagement, the Vice President also announced that the government has slashed several taxes that will allow a sum of $1.9 billion to be re-injected into the mining industry, in a bid to cushion the impact of enduring price hikes in this sector.
Included in that intervention is the reduction of the final tax applied on miners’ income, the removal of the tributors tax and the reduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) on lubricating oil.