- Oct 11, 2006
The Guardian Reporter
The government on Sunday announced a plan to post mineral inspectors in all border posts located in the northern part of the country, in an effort to curb smuggling of minerals.
It is estimated that the east African nation loses 15bn/- (over USD9m) from minerals smuggled through border posts.
Apart from being the producer of different types of minerals, Tanzania is the sole producer of tanzanite. But large percentage of tanzanite is smuggled through neighbouring countries before being taken overseas.
"Starting January, 2014, every border in the northern zone will have mineral inspectors," said Benjamin Mchwampaka, the Assistant Commissioner for Minerals-Northern zone of Tanzania which covers Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Manyara regions.
He said that to start with the inspectors will be posted to Horohoro and Namanga border posts, considered to be leading in mineral smuggling.
"This time round we're going to be very serious to recover the money that is lost through mineral smuggling," the commissioner said, calling upon mineral dealers to team up in the government campaign in arresting the ugly practice.
He called on mineral dealers to pay the government royalties on time so that the revenue can contribute to national development.
"We have more than 2,000 mineral dealers in the northern zone, but only 59 pay mineral royalties to the government. This is also a challenge that needs to be addressed through different strategies. Education is one of our strategies, so that they understand the importance of paying royalties," he said.
He however explained that despite the challenges, the sector contributes immensely to the national income "… but if efforts by the inspections at boarders will be boosted, then the sector would be able to contribute even more."
Mchwampaka called upon the public in areas which are close to the borders to provide full support to inspectors and smoothly accomplish the mission.
Apart from Namanga and Horohoro, others border posts that will also get inspectors in the northern zone include Holili and Tarakea.
This effort will definitely not work; it only promotes corruption! We need policies that attract people into using local and legal channels of exporting their minerals, not policies that force them not use illegal means of doing so. "Forcing" and "Attracting" are two different animals!