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The East African : April 21st 2014
14 The EastAfrican NEWS APRIL 19-25,2014 GEMSTONE SMUGGLED OUT Miners at a pit. The tanzanite gemstone is only found in Tanzania. Picture: File Raw Tanzanite exports hurting local economy About 95 pe≥ cent of Tanzanite mined ends up in India, whe≥e it is cut and polished fo≥ sale By ADAM IHUCHA Special Correspondent ite over the past four years seems to have been ineffective in controlling shipments of the gemstone to India. In July 2010, Tanzania, the T world’s only source of tanzanite, outlawed the export of rough stones weighing above one gram to promote the development of the local processing industry. The embargo was part of the Mining Act of 2010, which aims to create employment for Tanzanians, recoup profits and boost the economy. But statistics show that large quantities of rough tanzanite still end up India, where it has created a multimillion-dollar business empire and thousands of jobs. Tanzania Mineral Deal- ers Association chairman Sammy Mollel said the business created by exports of raw Tanzanite has created 250,000 jobs in Jaipur, India. In 2012, Jaipur exported cut and polished tanzanite worth $82 million, equivalent to what Tanzania earned in a four-year period. Globally, the tanzanite trade earns $500 million a year; Tanzania earns $20.75 million from its exports of Tanzanite. “Our problem is implemen- tation; the rationale behind the ban was to make Arusha Africa’s gemstone hub, where all gemstones would be cut and polished for export,” Mr Mollel said. Nearly 99.5 per cent of Tan- zanite output weighs less a gram, meaning that only 0.5 per cent of tanzanite mined is processed locally — creating just 119 jobs. Tanzania’s rate of unem- ployment is 10.7 per cent. In 2012, the country had more people unemployed aged 15 to 24 per capita than 109 other countries. In a survey by the NGO Restless Development, out of over 1,000 young people across Tanzania, only 14 per cent worked at a formal, wage-earning job. Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals Stephen Masele anzania’s partial ban on the export of raw tanzan- HIGH EXPORTS Statistics from the Tanzania Minerals Audit Agency indicate that from 2010 to 2013, the country exported 21,171.46kg of both rough and cut Tanzanite gemstone worth Tsh132.43 billion ($83 million.) Of this, 21,056.27kg was rough Tanzanite worth Tsh85.70 billion ($54 million) and 115.16 kg was cut Tanzanite valued at Tshs46.73 billion ($29 million.) blamed unscrupulous dealers for sabotaging the state initiative. “The government did what it could to ensure tanzanite gemstone benefits its people, but a few dishonest local dealers are conspiring with foreigners to smuggle out large amounts of gemstone in raw form,” Mr Masele said. He said the state has de- ployed a special team to Arusha to assess the situation. The team will meet stakeholders and thereafter advise on the way forward. Key stakeholders and ana- lysts say Tanzania needs to impose a total ban on export of Tanzanite. Law lecturer at Tumaini Makumira University College Elifuraha Laltaika says lack of enforcement can be linked to lack of capacity in the government in terms of manpower and technology. Dalaly Kafumu, a Tan- zanian geologist, said for Tanzanians to reap the full benefits, the rule that made tanzanite-rich Mererani hills near Arusha a controlled area should be enforced. Once enforced, no one will be allowed to enter Mererani mining area without permission from the government. In addition, all miners operating in Mererani will be registered and issued with identity cards. The state would also de- termine the procedures to establish a traceable chain of documentation from dealer to the buyer.
April 14th 2014
April 28th 2014