Exempting small-scale miners from paying income and excise taxes resulted in around 1,000 percent jump in Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) gold purchases in 2020 and more refinements are still in the pipeline to support this.
In a virtual briefing on Friday, BSP Mint and Refinery Operations Department Director Joseph Norbert S. David said Republic Act (RA) 11256, or the amendment in the National Internal Revenue Code, which was signed into law on March 29, 2019 “has a positive impact on our purchases”.
“The BSP was able to buy a total volume of 115,800 troy ounces as compared to the 10,207 troy ounces in 2019. It is also worthy to mention that the current volume of the purchases this year has already exceeded that of last year’s purchases,” he said.
He, however, declined to give the figures for their gold purchases so far this year, citing that there are certain protocols before this can be disclosed to the public.
In general, he said most of their gold purchases came from Baguio followed by those from Davao, both of which was due to the high resources in these areas.
To further entice more small-scale miners to sell their gold to the central bank, David said they have submitted to the BSP’s policy-making Monetary Board (MB) proposed policy changes, some of which are seen to be implemented either this or next year.
These programs include making rates attractive to small-scale miners, minimizing the processing cost, and fast-tracking the turn-around time for the assay of gold and the disbursement of final payment.
David said the initial assay takes only a few minutes but the fire assay, or the more intricate assessment to determine the pureness of the gold, takes around 13 days.
He said gold, in bar or disc forms, sold through the regional offices takes time to assay because the gold is sent to the Quezon City branch, where the BSP minting facility is, for the fire assay.
He said sellers are paid 99 percent of the amount of their gold after the initial assay.
The maximum weight of gold bar or disc that BSP buys is five kilograms while the maximum weight per lot is 10 kilograms.
Aside from the Security Plant Complex in Quezon City and the Baguio branch, BSP also has gold buying stations in its Naga, Davao, and Zamboanga branches.