The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) on Thursday said it has plans to meet with Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan to discuss the possible granting of an amnesty to miners who are currently non-compliant with their taxes.
The matter came up at a statutory meeting at the GGDMA Headquarters where it was noted that several miners were unable to take advantage of the recent tax concessions that were granted by the government as a consequence of their non-compliance.
In October, small and medium scale miners were granted tax concessions on fuel and the importation of mining equipment which they had been demanding in a bid to keep their businesses afloat.
However, several of these miners are now complaining of setbacks in accessing the concessions in wake of some level of tardiness in paying their taxes.
The GGDMA Executives, which included President Terry Adams, Vice President Andrew Alfonzo and Consultant Tony Shields, in turn advised of their intention to approach the Minister of Finance to seek an amnesty for these miners.
“The situation is that you have got to be tax compliant and not a lot of miners in the industry are tax compliant. So we are advocating for miners to become tax compliant but we also want to meet with Minister Jordan to also talk about an amnesty for those miners who are not tax compliant,” Alfonzo told reporters.
The Executives have also committed to working with all miners, large and small, to become compliant even in the absence of such an initiative.
“We are opened to discussion, we want to see what the Minister would suggest and we will work with it. One of the executives requested a meeting through the President …but we are still awaiting a response,” Alfonzo explained.
The Finance Minister had asked that miners in turn do their part by ensuring accurate gold declaration royalty payments are made on time. “So we’re asking that in return, you do what is right, which is to declare what is there, pay your royalties on time and look after your workers in terms of their NIS and their taxes,” the Minister had charged.
The extensive meeting also saw members raising concerns over the development and reports regarding the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), which is tasked with the management of the sector.
Adams told the members that a letter has been dispatched, requesting clarification and a special meeting with the Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman.
That letter was sent today and the Association is awaiting a response.
There is talk of efforts to restructure the GGMC management and Board, in face of allegations of gross irregularities and misconduct.
The life of the Board will expire on December 31.
Shields said the GGDMA supports restructuring at the GGMC but says it wants its interest to be respected.
He was also concerned with the adjourning of a meeting of the Board on Thursday morning by Chairman Clinton Williams.
It was reported that members of the Board had intended to move a no confidence motion against Commissioner Rickford Vieira who was recently ordered to proceed on leave by Trotman.