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The mining sector is currently the single largest export earner, contributing over 50 per cent of the country’s revenue, according to Minister for Mining Johnson Tuke.
He said the overall mineral production on all exports and revenues in 2017 including from the alluvial sector was almost K11 billion (US$3.4 billion) – an increase of 13.4 per cent from 2016.
“These figures are supported by direct employment of the mineral sector increasing from 15,000 employees last year to more than 17,000 this year,” he said.
Tuke said 86 per cent were PNG workers.
He also told the PNG Mining and Petroleum Conference in Port Moresby of the conclusion of the 2009 legislative review of Papua New Guinea’s mining sector.
The consultation and the review exercise took seven years. The mining ministry in addition developed six new mining policies.
“My ministry has also developed six new mining policies. These policies are aligned with international best practice requirements,” he said.
“The revised mining act and the six new mining policies are now with the National Executive Council for deliberation.”
Tuke lauded the industry for exceptional safety practices at all the mining site in the country.
“In any mining operation safety is of paramount importance. I am happy to announce (that) the mining sector had no serious or fatal accidents for the past 16 months,” he said.
Meanwhile, deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Charles Abel says the extractive industry is concerned about the retention of the infrastructure tax credit scheme.
Abel said concerns over the fiscal regime were raised by the executive director of the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Dr Albert Mellam and representatives of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
“Out of the seven key issues, the retention of the infrastructure tax credit scheme was one that raised much debate,” he said.
“The government has decided to retain the scheme because there are so many positive things that came out of it.”
He told the PNG Mining and Petroleum Conference that the scheme needed to be adjusted “and not removed totally because it has assisted us to provide quality infrastructure especially in remote areas in the footprint of projects”.
“It also brought project security among our people,” he said.
He said special amendments were made to the scheme to fund development projects in Port Moresby such as Apec House and the National Football Stadium.
A recent preliminary report by NRI recommended that the infrastructure tax credit scheme be repealed because the government was missing out on much needed revenue.
Able said the new “Revenue Regulation Bill” would be tabled in parliament to boost government revenue in 2018. Part of that bill is a one-off exercise to sweep government agencies’ accounts.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
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