By Camille A. Aguinaldo, January 17 2019; Business World
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THE SENATE ways and means committee has presented to the plenary the bill which grants tax exemptions to small-scale miners who sell their gold to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
Senate Bill No. 2127 seeks to amend Sections 32 and 151 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) in order to provide income and tax exemptions to registered small-scale miners and accredited traders on gold sales to the BSP.
“I strongly urge the honorable members of the Philippine Senate to approve the passage of this ‘Gold Bill’ to ensure the strength of the country’s gross international reserves and promote the Philippines’ greater monetary and external sector stability,” said committee chair Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara in his sponsorship speech.
Its counterpart measure, House Bill No. 3297, was approved on third and final reading on Oct. 8.
Mr. Angara said the proposed measure was a “win-win” for both the central bank and the small-scale miners as it would help the BSP to increase the country’s GIR as well as support the development of the small-scale mining industry.
He added that the bill would enable the BSP to build up GIR by buying domestically-produced gold, noting that the indicator fell in October to $74.8 billion, its lowest level since July 2011.
The BSP purchases gold from small-scale miners in accordance with Republic Act No. 7076 or the People’s Small Scale Mining Act of 1991, aside from other sources. GIR totalled $78.461 billion in December, according to the BSP. The value of its gold holdings was at $8.154 billion in the same month.
“The bill also helps small-scale miners, who prefer to sell their gold to the BSP, which ensures that they would be able to receive a fair price for their gold, instead of selling the gold to the black market where prices are below market levels,” Mr. Angara said. — Camille A. Aguinaldo