Mali’s interim President Bah N’daw has announced that the government will review mining conventions signed with companies by previous administrations.

The directive follows recommendations that were issued from the country’s auditor general citing corruption and undervaluing of the country’s interests in the contracts.

While Mali is one of Africa’s largest gold producers, it remains one of the poorest nations in the world. Foreign companies operating in the country such as Barrick Gold Corp, Resolute Mining and AngloGold Ashanti make huge profits as the citizens remain in perpetual poverty.

 “The conventions establishing mining companies include clauses which do not always guarantee the protection of the interests of the state,” Auditor General Samba Alhamdou Baby said after handing his report to the interim president.

“In particular the non-distribution of dividends, the non-payment of certain taxes, to which is added the existence of unjustified loans, all of which deprive the State of financial resources,” he said.

Mr. Baby also added that that a review of the conventions would better protect the interests of the state while respecting incentives for mining companies.

In April, under the previous administration of former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Mali’s parliament approved a new code that eliminates mining companies’ value added tax exemptions during production and shortens the period during which they are protected from fiscal changes to 20 years.

Interim President N’daw said the recommendations were instructions to the interim administration, which he said would make the mining sector a priority during its 18-month term.

“I will assure you that everything will be done so that the state assumes its responsibilities and receives from the mining sector what is due to it,” N’daw added.

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