The National Chairman of Campaign for Just Mining Leslie Mboka has vehemently criticized the mining agreement between London mining company and the government of Sierra Leone calling it “broad daylight robbery of the people of Sierra Leone”.
Campaign for Just Mining – Sierra Leone is a coalition of both national and international civil society organizations that advocates for social responsibility, transparency and accountability in the mining and extractive industries as well as for better living conditions of host communities.
In a press statement delivered to journalists at the press conference, Campaign for Just Mining noted with the greatest concern that the Mines and Minerals bill was hurriedly enacted into an Act on the pretext of taking it to the investment forum that was held in London last year to create an impression that the country has a friendly mining policy. The release exposed so many missing clauses and inclusions of some provisions that make the agreement stand a greater potential of losing its value.
“The heavy tax concessions offered to London Mining in the agreement especially in relation to Income Tax and the manner in which the royalty is calculated…which is not in line with the current Mines and Minerals Act. This set a bad precedent for subsequent negotiations and renegotiations of other mining contracts and have the potential to undermine the country’s national development agenda” the release stated.
The National Chairman Leslie Mboka further intimated the press that the confidentiality clause inserted in the agreement aiming at limiting information to the public creates room for corruption and stands testament to undermining the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) process in the country.
In addition he mentioned that the London Mining agreement went further to exempt the company from paying the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which sends a worrying national signal because Sierra Leoneans have been forced to accept to pay GST on the premise of increasing domestic revenue.
“Here is London mining a profit making company is exempted from such tax” he exclaimed.
The Campaign for Just Mining Sierra Leone demanded that the London Mining agreement be reviewed to keep it in line with the provisions of the law and also requested that London Mining makes public their Environmental Impact Assessment document by which they can be held accountable.
By William Freeman