Govt eyes to finish draft mining bill 'before May polls'
MANILA, Philippines - The inter-agency group tasked to work on a proposed law to increase the government's share in mining industry revenues hopes to have the draft ready before the May elections, a source in the Finance department said.
The Finance official said the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) has yet to start on the draft as the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are still threshing out thorny issues on how to tax mining firms.
The DOF and the DTI, as well as the National Economic and Development Authority and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, are members of the MICC.
“There’s no draft yet. Hopefully, we can have it before the elections,” said the Finance official. The group will submit the draft to the Ways and Means committees of both chambers of Congress for sponsorship.
The council earlier said the mining reform bill will increase government's share in mining revenues, while seeing to it that a competitive fiscal regime is maintained. The bill will also harmonize national laws and local ordinances, one of the contentious issues in the mining industry.
In December, the council said it was studying two options for the revenue-sharing scheme that will be both benchmarked on world metal prices. It said the government may take a percentage of either the mining companies' gross margin or their gross revenue.
Industry players are waiting for the passage of the reform bill as it is required before a moratorium on new mining permits could be lifted.
The Aquino administration issued last year its mining policy -- Executive Order 79 -- banning the issuance of new permits as well as the expansion of existing contracts until the mining act is reformed.
As a result of the ban, government cut its mining investment forecasts for the next few years. - Rappler.com