The Department of Finance said Wednesday it plans to revive the mining industry by privatizing the mining assets held by the government.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said during the 46th Philippine Business Conference held online that reviving the mining industry would raise more export and tax revenues.
“Just a few days ago, we had a complete review of the mining assets held by the government through the Privatization Management Office. And I have asked them to really push the revival, the privatization of Nonoc Mines, of Basay Mines and all the other mines that are held by the government,” Dominguez said.
PMO is an agency under the DOF tasked to oversee the government’s privatization program.
Dominguez responded to the question on how the government could raise additional tax revenues, especially as tax receipts from Philippine offshore gaming operators were declining because a number of the Pogo firms started leaving the country.
“Definitely, we are pushing for the revival of the mining industry. As I keep on mentioning, the mining industry provides jobs in areas where there are no other alternative jobs,” he said.
Dominguez said the DOF was working closely with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau on the issue.
Nonoc Mining and Industrial Corp. owns a nickel mine in Surigao City. San Miguel Corp. in 2012 proposed to reopen the Nonoc nickel mine.
Basay Mining Corp. owns a copper mine site partly owned by the government in Basay, Negros Oriental that ceased operations in 1984.
The DENR announced in July 2020 its intention to reopen some of the closed mining sites to help the government raise revenues amid the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Dominguez said he wanted private banks to participate in extending assistance to the airline industry, which is one of the sectors badly hit by the pandemic.
He said while the government was prepared to participate in the assistance to the industry, private banks should do their share.
“Let me point out that whatever assistance we have, or we are going to provide will be part of the entire process. The private banks have to cough up the majority of the assistance,” Dominguez said.
“I don’t want to be in a position... because the government is not in a good position to evaluate credit risks. So we will rely on the participation of private banks,” he said.
Dominguez said “the government does not want to end up owning airlines.”