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Guyana's Business Minister Gaskin belittles gold sector to please Exxon…throws it under the bus, even before a barrel of oil is produced – Nigel Hinds


By Kaieter News

Petroleumworld 03 08 2018

Vacuous!–That was just one of the “kind” words that flooded the minds of listeners who recently heard Business Minister , Dominic Gaskin belittle the contribution of Guyana's gold sector to the economy.

At an oil and gas seminar that was hosted by the Private Sector Commission (PSC), the Business Minister was in high praise of the economic benefits to come from oil. He did this by comparing it to the gold sector.

Gaskin commented that indeed, the last eight years has been the best for gold production in Guyana both in terms of the amount of gold produced, the gold exported and the value of royalties and taxes collected by government.

The politician said that the government has collected just over US$300M in royalties and taxes from all the gold produced in Guyana over the last eight years.

While that may seem impressive to some, Gaskin stated proudly that in the first year of oil production, the Government will earn just about the same volume of revenue. But local commentators are not pleased with the nexus Gaskin drew between the two sectors.

Specifically, Chartered Accountant Nigel Hinds believes that Gaskin was out of line. He said that Gaskin is palavering about economic issues and industries of which he has minimal knowledge just to please “the Exxon Overlords of Business in Guyana.

Hinds added that Gaskin simply engaged in a fruitless attempt to rationalise an illogical contract that the Government signed with Exxon.
Hinds told Kaieteur News that Minister Gaskin has belittled and understated the contribution of the of the Guyana Gold industry with his statements. The businessman emphasised that in the gold industry, operators are made to pay a five percent royalty plus two percent taxes.

He said that the industry has seen production of close to 700,000 ounces.
In the meantime, ExxonMobil will be allowed to pay a mere two percent royalty on more than 3.2 billion barrels of oil.

The Chartered Accountant said that the Business Minister also fails to consider other key points.

Hinds said, “Gold has been the trump card for the economy for years. The gold sector ensures a significant employment of Guyanese labour. Guyanese Miners and Traders keep and invest their money in Guyana.

“The Minister also forgets to take into consideration that tax concessions to Guyanese Miners and Traders are insignificant in comparison to the all-inclusive Tax Concessions enjoyed by ExxonMobil.”

The Chartered Accountant said, too, that over 100,000 Guyanese benefit directly and indirectly from the Mining Industry, when considering the Miners and their family.

Hinds also cited the notes from the World Bank, which indicate that mining plays a crucial role in raising income levels and driving economic growth in Guyana.

In fact, mining's contribution to the Gross Domestic Product in 2015 was 11percent. Its share of Exports for 2015 was 52%, and its contribution to the employment rate in 2013 was 17,363 in direct employment and 21,626 in indirect employment. This makes for a combined 14 percent of the total labor force.

The Chartered Accountant continued, “Let us bear in mind, too, that mining equipment is generally sourced locally, adding to Guyana's economic growth and development.

“The list can easily be extended to show that Minister Gaskin's glad handing behaviour is most is most disingenuous, unpatriotic, premature and immature.”

Hinds articulated that Gaskin is throwing the Guyana Gold Mining Industry under the bus, even before a barrel of oil is produced in Guyana by ExxonMobil.

“This was just a terrible attempt to defend an atrocious contract,” the Chartered Accountant concluded.

Story from Kaieter News
03 08 2018

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