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Abolition of mining perks bucked

The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines said Wednesday the government’s proposal to remove tax incentives will reduce the competitive edge of the mining sector. CMP communications manager Jimbo Gulle said a study by the International Monetary Fund showed that mining companies would not be competitive without tax holidays. “We are working with the current regime. But the truth is with the status quo, mining companies already pay too much. The government alone cannot tap the country’s mineral wealth if nobody goes out to explore them,” Gulle said. He said the mining group would negotiate for a better mining revenue sharing scheme that would benefit both the government and mining companies. Gulle said the group was set to propose an equitable mining revenue sharing scheme to Congress this month. “The industry is already heavily taxed. The industry is one of the highest taxpayers among the industries in the country.  Any discussion about the tax should really begin with asking, is the Philippine tax regime competitive enough to sustain the industry not just for short term but for the long term?” Gulle said. Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said earlier the Mining Industry Coordinating Council was looking at retaining the current fiscal regime but lessen the tax incentives and add a 5-percent royalty tax for mining operations in mineral reservation areas. Gulle, however, said mining companies only got 40 percent of the total revenues from a project while the government received 60 percent through taxes. He said these taxes were the government’s share in the exploitation of minerals. “The taxes we paid to the government under the Mining Act is the government share. Digging up the minerals itself is already an investment for the mining companies.  Mining companies are government contractors to begin with.  We are developing mineral resources without risk to the government,” he said.
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