Bantay Kita, a staunch advocate of fiscal reforms in the extractive industry, presented on fiscal incentives that mining companies enjoy under the current fiscal regime in an ASEAN forum held in Jakarta, Indonesia last October 5-7.
Marco Zaplan, communications and research officer, presented in behalf of BK. He emphasized the redundancy of fiscal incentives and foregone revenues the government incurred in 2012 through the provision of incentives to the mining industry. He discussed the importance of government receiving a fair share from its mineral resources which is not happening at present. In a 2002 study, the Philippines was in the second lowest taxing quartile among mining countries in the world. Most countries in Asia and Africa, he said, have already increased their taxes from mining.
He also reiterated the significant role of mining revenues in financing development of local communities with mining operations since most mining provinces have poverty incidence above the national average. Development, he said, becomes elusive when “government do(es) not receive enough revenues to finance development programs and even more elusive when government unnecessarily forego(es) revenues it could have used elsewhere (for development) especially in the case of mining”.
He concluded the presentation by saying that fiscal incentives or tax regimes, in general, is only one among many other important factors in mining investment decisions. He explained that Canada, Australia, and Chile, among the top mining investment destinations in the world, are ranked low by Behre Dolbear, a mining consultancy firm, in terms of taxation regime but were ranked high in terms of economic system, political system, and currency stability along with other indicators.
The Regional Workshop on Tax Justice, Human Rights and Corporations, Business and Investments was attended by members of parliament from Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, and Malaysia. Civil society organizations coming from the mentioned countries in addition to Timor Leste were also present.