LAST year the country lost $3.9 million in anticipated state revenues from quarries and sand and gravel pits, lamented the report of the Auditor General on the Public Accounts for 2020, laid in the House of Representatives last week Wednesday.
“As at September 30, 2020, revenue collected totalled $2,576,409.
“This represented a shortfall of $3,923,590 or 60.36 per cent of the 2020 estimated figure of $6,500,000.”
The report said the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries explained that this shortfall was due to a general decline in the construction industry during that period.
“Additionally, the emergence of covid19 resulted in the shutdown of quarrying activities during the restriction periods.”
The Auditor General also said most quarry operators on state lands did not have the required licence. Out of 47 operational quarries on state lands, only seven were operating with licences.
“It was noted that 25 quarries were operating without five-year licenses and 15 quarries were operating without one-year licenses.
“This contravenes the Minerals (General) Regulations 2015.”
Energy Minister Stuart Young told Newsday on Monday that this matter has attracted the attention of his ministry.
“A major issue is the archaic licensing system. The ministry is addressing this and has proposed amendments to the legislation. These amendments are currently before the Legislative Review Committee. The ministry has proposed a simpler but robust process and system.”