THE government will continue to conduct impromptu inspections to all jewelry stores across the country as part of efforts to end smuggling of minerals and ensure laws on gemstones trade are adhered to.
The Minister for Minerals Doto Biteko told the ‘Daily News’ that his ministry was taking deliberate measures to curb the loopholes that have been denying the government of its rightful revenue from the sector.
He said although jewelers were getting their business licence from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the intervention from ministry of minerals was necessary because their work depended on materials coming from the sector.
“Jewelry business is a cross cutting issue but my ministry is more involved here, that’s why we are taking a lot of measures to end smuggling of minerals.
Our laws are very clear and whoever engages in mining or possesses minerals must have a valid licence,” Mr Biteko said in a telephone interview.
Another initiative the government has taken to curb smuggling is through establishment of mineral centres across the country that among other things, has helped the government to increase revenue to over 136bn/-.
The minister commended dealers who have been carrying out their businesses lawfully, insisting that nobody is untouchable when it comes to smuggling of minerals.
He said appropriate legal measures will be taken against all culprits regardless of their status or popularity, noting further that the government was keen to ensure the laws governing the mining sector are fully observed.
“It’s evident that there are still unfaithful dealers out there because some people were caught doing the business illegally during our inspections.
We shall carry on conducting random and impromptu inspections to all jewelry stores and those who will be caught shall face the wrath of the law accordingly,” he said.
Since assuming power, President John Magufuli has initiated reforms in the mining sector to realise its huge economic potential and contribution to the government coffers for the greater interest of the country.
For the current fiscal year (2019/20) the government targets to collect 470.9bn/- revenue from the mining sector. The amount is up from 310bn/- that was the target for the past financial year.
Mining stakeholders, for their part, have lauded the reforms that are being undertaken to improve the sector.
Speaking recently, they stated almost 80 per cent of the challenges that hampered the sector have been addressed since they presented their queries to President John Magufuli.
The Federation of Miners Association of Tanzania (Femata) President Mr John Bina said miners are now conducting their activities in a smooth environment and contribute fairly to the country’s economy.
“All the challenges cannot be resolved at a go but the government has resolved most of the challenges in the mining sector, we are happy for that and would continue to cooperate with the authorities every time,” he said over the weekend during the two- day Tanzania Mineral and Mining Investment Conference.