MANILA, Philippines - The Mines and Geosciences Bureau says lawmakers should carefully study proposals to scrap the tax on gold.
Four lawmakers are urging the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to suspend the tax, saying it has reduced the gold sales by small-scale miners to the Bangko Sentral.
Under the law, small-scale miners are required to sell their gold only to the BSP.
Mines and Geosciences Bureau director Leo Jasareno admitted when the BSP started withholding tax on gold sales in the last quarter of 2011, the small-scale miners began selling gold to smugglers outside the country.
"Kung marami tayong illegal smuggling, magdedepensa po ang gobyerno. Labag po sa batas yan kaya maghihigpit ang ating gobyerno. At magiging epekto baka maraming small-scale mining areas na mapatigil. Hindi naman po papayagan ng gobyerno na di matuloy yun pagbabayas ng buwis. Sa isang banda naman po, posible ding bumaba ang purchase ng gold ng central bank, kaya ang isa pong gawin ng central bank ay pagibayuhin ang purchase ng gold sa alternatibong sources," he told dzMM.
Gold reserves are important to the BSP because it gauges a country's ability to pay back debts.
The average gold production in the country is 30 tons per year, 70% of which comes from small-scale miners. - ANC