Small-scale miners, within five months, have paid GH¢140million in taxes to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) with the help of the Chamber of Bullion Traders Ghana (CBTG), and believe they can meet the set target of GH¢200million.
The CBTG is also calling on government to enforce the policy on refining the minerals mined by small-scale miners locally, which would create more secure jobs and improve the living conditions of millions.
Director of Research-Chamber of Bullion Traders Ghana, Henry Osei, speaking to the B&FT at the 2020 Ghana Economic Forum (GEF) noted that the revenue collector has consistently struggled to generate revenues from players in the sector; but when the Chamber brought a proposal for the authority to collect taxes on its behalf, the situation improved drastically.
“We have had several discussions with the GRA about how to collect taxes from the small-scale industry because GRA had problems collecting taxes from them, due to the fact that most of them are located in the bush and areas not accessible.
“So, the Chamber took it upon itself to push that agenda by collecting taxes from the miners on their behalf. From May 19 when COVID-19 was at its peak to October 31, we have been able to collect GH¢140 million withholding taxes from the small-scale mining sector alone,” he said.
He further explained that the total export of gold within the period alone is over GH¢4billion, of which a three percent tax component constituted the GH¢140 million raked in for government.
In addition, he pointed out that the Chamber considers this as free money for government because most small-scale miners are in the hinterlands and GRA has not made special provisions for them to pay their taxes; meanwhile, such people only come to town once or twice in a month for important appointments and therefore cannot be chasing GRA to pay taxes.
To that effect, the Chamber is calling on government to implement the appropriate policy decisions needed to enable operationalisation of the about-five world-class standard refineries in the country.
Mr. Osei noted that the small-scale miners cannot export gold from the country directly, and thus deal with licenced gold exporting companies; but that can become a thing of the past if these refineries are operationalised and small-scale miners sell to the refineries directly.
“We have the capacity of refineries that one will find in Dubai, Switzerland and other countries; and even some of our refineries are better than theirs, but the issues is that government must enforce the policy of small-scale production being refined here. When this is done, it clears every doubt with regard to data discrepancies among others; because when we refine the gold and we know that it is one tonne of gold being exported, it is then easy to claim taxes on that,” he said.
He reiterated that small-scale miners want to play on the international stage because, in playing there, there are stringent compliance standards which must be followed or get kicked out; and this measure will push responsible mining practices in the country.