BaiShanLin gold mining, other operations unaffected

first_imgBaiShanLin gold mining, other operations unaffectedBaiShanLin International Forest Developers Inc and the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) are preparing to have a high-level meeting this week with a view to determining exactly how the tax agency came up with a $1.5 billion figure it claims it is now owed.According to reliable sources, the company is also disputing the GRA’s claim that it has in fact breached the Investment Agreement with the GRA and is adamant that the seizure of its logging equipment was unlawful.The company’s executives have indicated that the meeting is expected to field lawyers between the two entities.Opposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoSome of the materials that the GRA seized from BaiShanLin over the weekendThe Revenue Authority over the weekend swooped down on BaiShanLin’s Coomacka Linden operation where it seized a number of logging equipment, but according to the company’s officials, none of its other operations have been targeted by the GRA, including its gold mining, transportation and real estate ventures.BaiShanLin – under controversial circumstances had also acquired a 20-kilometre river gold mining concession, in addition to a five kilometers construction area for a Guyana-China Timber Industry Economic and Trading Cooperation Park and acres of land for real estate development.BK International had also under questionable circumstances sold a 100-acre plot of land to BaiShanLin in Providence, East Bank Demerara, for the construction of the massive real estate project – a project that is currently at a standstill.The logging company reportedly offered US$9 million for the 100-acres plot but still owes a substantial amount.During the GuyExpo 2014 trade fair at the Sophia Exhibition Center, BaiShanLin had announced the gated community called “New Life” with a huge display. Prices for homes were from $50 million and reaching over $100 million.Why destroy business?Meanwhile, former President Bharrat Jagdeo, under whose administration the Chinese company had been brought into Guyana, has broken his silence on the matter and has since called for Government to release the Investment Agreement to the public.Jagdeo is of the view that the GRA was acting on direction, “or a pre-conceived notion that somehow they have to take back all of these lands from this company.”He pointed to the recent commitment on the part of the coalition A Partnership for National Unity, Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government to set aside some two million hectares of land for conservation.This he suggested has led to Government now looking to “take back lands from people.” Jagdeo said he is of the view that BaiShanLin must honour its obligations made under the Investment Agreement and that the State has a right to enforce the provisions of that document but, “this goes beyond the agreement.”He used the opportunity to also point to the increased hardships that would obtain as a result of the actions on the part of GRA and the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) and questions “why do you have to destroy business at a time when the economy is already faltering.”He was speaking to the fact that BaiShanLin had been purchasing logs extracted by local small operators particularly from Ituni and Kwakwani in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).“All of that is gone now,” said Jagdeo as he pointed to BaiShanLin’s request for another two years to complete its wood processing plant.“Why not give them but watch them carefully whilst they are paying their fair share of the taxes,” the former President, now Opposition Leader questioned.Breached agreementThe GRA had earlier this year launched an investigation into the operations of the logging company and had determined that it had in fact breached its Investment Agreement.According to the GRA missive addressed to Managing Director of BaiShanLin, Chu Hongbo, it had found that the company had breached the terms and conditions under which tax exemptions were granted as outlined in the Investment Agreement.According to the Revenue Authority, BaiShanLin failed to undertake the activities of the project specified in the Investment Agreement with regard to the setting up of a modernised wood processing facility in Linden.The tax collection body also found that BaiShanLin had also failed to create and sustain employment for 150 persons over three years.It found too that the company also failed to procure and provide all the investment and other financing required by the undertaking, in the estimated sum of US$150 million over a three-year period from the time of signing of the Investment Agreement.It was subsequently determined that BaiShanLin breached its covenant with Government in its Investment Agreement “for which the penalty is termination of the Agreement”.As such, “the residual customs duty and taxes are now due and payable on machinery, equipment and motor vehicles” in the amount of just over $1.5 billion ($1,584,047,052).last_img

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