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Sand, clay miners oppose proposed licensing fees

Clay and Sand Artisanal Miners on Buwunga sub county after their meeting

Masaka, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  Artisanal miners involved in the extraction of construction materials in Masaka district are opposed to the proposed regulatory framework that seeks to introduce direct taxes on sector players.   

Government, through the Mining and Mineral Amendment bill 2019 intends to take over ownership of all high and low-value minerals and accordingly impose several fees on all categories of miners countrywide.

According to the proposed regulation, anybody intending to venture into mining any building materials for commercial purposes will be required to apply for a license from government, pay prospecting and operational fees.

However, a section of sand and clay miners in Buwunga Sub County in Masaka district are opposed to the proposed fees, which they describe as unfair.

The miners expressed their opposition to the proposed tax in a meeting with Buwunga Sub county officials at Kajuna sand and clay quarry.

Nicholas Kazibwe, the Chairperson Kajuna Sand Miners argued that they are already burdened by the local government tax levied on their work despite lack of any returns.

He explained that they already pay an annual tax of Shillings 2 million to the local government, arguing that introducing any additional fees will become an extra burden yet they earn very little from the business.

Vincent Ssempijja, a clay miner claimed that they incur high costs in their work, arguing that the new regulation will force them out of the quarries.

He asked government to consider taxing multi-million mining companies, which employ advanced technology that are capable of making abnormal profits.

Ronald Evans Kanyike, a dealer of sand and clay material also challenged government to carry out clear assessment of the works of the miners before imposing on them exorbitant taxes.

According to Kanyike, the artisanal miners need government’s direct support to improve their standards other than being taxed.

Francis Kimuli, the Buwunga Sub county LC III Chairperson, said as leaders they will study the situation and accordingly advise government.

Notably, the new Mining and Minerals Amendment bill 2019 gives government absolute rights of ownership of all types of minerals including, sand, clay and stones among others.

The permission to excavate them will only be granted by the line minister.

The bill according to government intends to strengthen the administrative structures for the effective management of the mineral subsector.

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