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SA Diamond Amendment Bill Makes Headway
Controversial tax issue to be sorted by complimentary Money Bill
By: Diamond World
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Oct 24 2005 12:00AM
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Reference: 47  

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SOUTH AFRICAS controversial Diamonds Amendment Bill has been agreed upon by the minerals and energy portfolio committee, reported Business Day. Parliamentary committee still needs to consider its final position on the Bill before it comes up in the Assembly on Wednesday. The Diamonds Amendment Bill will be passed by the National Assembly before the end of current session in November. However, the Democratic Alliance (DA) had abstained from voting on the Bill in the committee.

The Bill will go through parliamentary procedures but a complementary Money Bill applying to the tax will be passed early next year. The controversial matter of a 15% duty on exports of rough diamonds will now be dealt with by the Money Bill. The government might set the tax rate somewhere between 5% and 10%, not at 5% which some in the industry wanted. “The legislation would not destroy jobs — as argued by some producers — but fuel the downstream diamond beneficiation environment instead,” said African National Congress (ANC) parliamentarian and committee chairperson Nkosinathi Mthethwa.

This is a transitional period of the year in which the present systems, including the regulatory Diamonds Board, will be phased out. A new State Diamond Trader, which will determine the number of diamonds needed for the local beneficiation industry, will be set up. "Important issue of granting exemptions, to producers who need not go via an export exchange centre — as envisaged in the Bill — to export raw diamonds. The Bill allowed exemptions — as yet unspecified — to be granted by government to export directly to the international market,” said Mthethwa. It is envisaged that the Diamond Bill and the Money Bill will be implemented simultaneously.

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