AFRICA/MADAGASCAR - The Taratra project: an initiative of the Episcopal Conference to promote responsible mining exploitation

Tuesday, 12 September 2023 bishops   economy  

Antananarivo (Agenzia Fides) - The Taratra project, an initiative of the Conference of Bishops of the Catholic Church of Madagascar, aims at the socio-economic improvement of mining projects in the Atsimo-Andrefana region, in the province of Toliara, in southwest of Madagascar. The region is rich in mineral resources such as ilmenite, zircons and precious stones. A conference was held last week, attended by various stakeholders, including government, law enforcement, religious leaders and civil organizations. The objective is to have a concrete impact on the economic development of the region, in particular by improving the living conditions of local residents. A large part of the conference was devoted to mining taxation. Participants examined different aspects such as synthetic tax, 95% of which is paid to decentralized local authorities, as well as other forms of taxation such as income tax and VAT. In Madagascar, the synthetic tax or IS is a unique tax, representative and consistent with income tax and value added tax. The IS constitutes the main mandatory annual tax declaration for all income generated in Madagascar. In particular, there was talk of Base Toliara, a mining project which brought in hundreds of millions of ariary to the State and local communities. Base Toliara is an Australian-registered company developing a mineral sands mining project in Madagascar to produce ilmenite, zircon and rutile. These products are used in the production of white pigments for paints, plastics and paper, as well as ceramics and metallurgy. The project is located in Ranobe, 45 kilometers north of the town of Toliara. Father Jacques, from the diocese of Toliara, declares in this regard that, given its impact on the socio-economic situation of the region, the Base Toliara case must be treated above all in the general interest and with the greatest objectivity, outside of any political consideration. He particularly regrets that the project, at one point, gave rise to disagreements between the communities. Father Jacques took advantage of the conference-debate to invite the population to unite in a common goal of socio-economic development. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 12/9/2023)