SEMIRARA Mining and Power Corp. has expressed disapproval over the proposed increase in the excise tax on coal and the doubling of tax rates on nonmetallic minerals and quarry resources, saying that those who profit more should instead be taxed more.
The statement was made following the Senate approval this week of the amendment to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) bill—which includes raising the excise tax on coal to P300 per metric ton (MT) from the current P10, equating to a 3,000 percent hike.
Under the approved amendments, the proposed excise tax on coal will be P100 per MT in 2018, P200 in 2019, and P300 in 2020 and onwards.
“Ang gusto ng Senate o ng Congress, fixed tax, mahirap ‘yun [What the Senate or the Congress wants is a fixed tax. That is difficult,” Semirara Chairman Isidro Consunji said in a chat with reporters.
"Ang sinuggest ko—pareho ng oil and gas—merong base tax or merong [What I am suggesting, just as in oil and gas, is that there should be a base tax] or royalty but [i[if]u make more money, you pay more,” he added.
Under the bill, the excise tax on non-metallic and metallic mining resources will increase to 4 percent from the current 2 percent.
Asked on how his fellow mining firm executives feel about the bill, Isidro said: “Okay sa kanila yung progressive taxation. Ang hindi okay sa kanila yung fixed na mataas [P[Progressive taxation is okay with them. What is not okay with them is a fixed rate that is high.”
"Biro mo—ginawa na sa oil and gas … ginawa na sa energy, bakit hindi pwede sa mining. Kung lugi ka, magbayad ka ng minimum [Just consider, they did it in oil and gas, they did it in energy, why not with mining. If you incur losses, you pay the minimum] he said.
Consunji said the proposed increased tax on coal would only give a potential advantage to natural gas and other fuel sources and if implemented, the coal mining firms would be inclined to pass on the tax burden to consumers.
“It is not us who will be affected. Because it will be passed on (to consumers),” he said.