Treasury seeks redress on mineral sector’s tax

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DEPUTY Prime Minister and Treasurer Charles Abel has questioned why no taxes have been collected from the export of gold, oil and gas to fund the Government’s development plans.
“Why is this happening when oil and gold are leaving our shores? Gas is also being exported in large quantities,” he said.
“Why are we not getting taxes to fund free education, free healthcare, roads and bridges, infrastructures, provincial and district services improvement programmes?”
Abel raised the concern during a meeting with Internal Revenue Commissioner Betty Palaso and her officers in Port Moresby.
He said the current tax collection system must be addressed so that everyone paid their fair share of taxes.
“We need to look at a simple tax system as the current one is complicated,”Abel said.
“I will be taking some steps to make sure everybody — whether corporate or individual — pays taxes.  I have noticed that there has been a decline in taxes from the mineral sector over the past 10 years.
“Mineral resources are leaving our shores but we are not collecting tax on them.
“Taxes from these areas contributed to about 20 per cent of the budget revenue in years past. Today, it is almost zero.”
Abel said the supplementary budget, to be tabled next month, would address the declining state of the national economy.
“Tax revenue is down and cost of living is increasing,” he said.
“That’s why we are having a supplementary budget.
“We need to collect every toea.”
“The fact is that the government’s revenue is not growing at the same rate as the gross domestic product (GDP).
“There are a lot of resources leaving our shores but why are there issues with the economy such as the shortage of foreign currency reserves and high interest rates?”