New fiscal regime for mining seen by June
House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said on Tuesday that both chambers of Congress were working to pass a new fiscal regime for the mining industry before the joint session ends in June.
During the Nickel Initiative 2019 where Arroyo was the guest speaker, she said the Senate adopted the House version of a bill that would impose a range of royalties to mining operations.
The version imposes a 1- to 5-percent margin-based royalty tax on large-scale mines and a 1- to 10-percent windfall profits tax on income from mining operations.
“Since I heard that the Senate committee adopted the House version [of the bill], hopefully we can pass it in the last three weeks of Congress,” she said in her speech.
“We want the sector to grow and contribute to national development, but we want to do so within a framework that will be in accordance with the directive of President Duterte,” she added.
Once passed into law, the mining industry would stand to pay the government 9 percent in taxes following the recent doubling of the excise on mining operations to 4 percent from 2 percent under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.
After the TRAIN law, industry stakeholders have been lobbying for the lifting of the moratorium on the issuance of new mining permits, but according to the Department of Finance, the government must impose a higher tax rate on mining, “preferably 10 percent.”
Industry leaders are hoping that the second round of tax increases on the mining industry would be the basis to finally lift the suspension, which was implemented by former President Benigno Aquino III through an executive fiat.
DENR also said it was positive that the mining industry would have a better year next year with the crafting of a new fiscal regime since it would benefit both the government and the private sector.
About 15 projects are in line to be issued mining permits once the moratorium is lifted, which is expected to generate more revenue and job opportunities. —KARL R. OCAMPO
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.