PNG INTRODUCTION OF VALUE ADDED TAX (VAT) LIKELY TO BE DELAYED: IANGALIO

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (February 15, 1999 - PACNEWS/NBC)---Senior Papua New Guinea minister Masket Iangalio says he is convinced the introduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT), scheduled for July, will be delayed because there has not been sufficient education and public awareness about the tax.

Iangalio, Minister for Mining, said the introduction of the four- percent VAT has disadvantages for mining projects.

The original natural resource projects were to be tax-neutral under the VAT regime, Iangalio said, but the Internal Revenue Commission has slipped up by including mining projects in the levy.

He told senior management and workers at the Ok Tedi copper and gold mine during separate meetings over the weekend that the tax could become a burden for many in Papua New Guinea.

He said investors place a far too heavy tax burden on the government and, he stressed, PNG's entire fiscal system needs to be overhauled and simplified.

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