THE Ministry of Energy and Minerals has imposed some export restrictions on Tanzanite in an attempt to curb smuggling. It was announced that no foreign buyers would be allowed to buy tanzanite without certificate of origin.
Energy and Minerals Minister, Mr William Ngeleja said on Wednesday in Dar es Salaam that the restriction will lead to more income from tanzanite compared to the current situation where the business is characterised by smuggling and other forms of illegal transactions.
"Tanzania is the only country producing tanzanite in the world but some neighbouring countries have been selling the mineral as if they were the producers. "From now on we want to ensure that all exported tanzanite possess certificate of origin," he said adding that by doing so Tanzania would be internationally recognised as the only tanzanite producer.
He said that the certificates would be issued in Arusha and at the Ministry's headquarters in Dar es Salaam. The Acting Minerals Commissioner, Mr Ally Samaje said that the Ministry had started issuing the certificate since October last year. He insisted that it would be a compulsory for every buyer to ensure that tanzanite purchased was certified.
According to Mr Samaje, they have talked to major tanzanite buying countries such as USA, India, Germany, Israel and South Africa, asking them to reject buying uncertified tanzanite. "There are some local tanzanite dealers who have been smuggling the mineral to other countries like Kenya, which in turn gives Kenya false recognition as a Tanzanite producer," he said.
He stated that the initiave, if properly administered, would help plug all 'panya (illegal) routes' used by unscrupulous Tanzanian tanzanite dealers who illicitly export the gemstone.
Meanwhile, the ministry and the Tanzania Mineral Dealers Association (TAMIDA) are organizing what they call Arusha International Gem, Jewelry and Mineral Fair scheduled to take place between 26 April and 29 April this year.
Minister Ngeleja said that the fair would bring together exhibitors from East, Central and Southern Africa and variety of coloured gemstones from Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, Ethiopia and other African countries would be on display. He added that the fair would also attract potential buyers from all over the world.