Officials at the central bank have moved today reducing the minimum volume of gold the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) receives from artisanal miners by three folds, to 50 grams.
Teklewold Atnafu, Governor of the central bank, told parliament's standing committee on Budget & Financial Affairs, his desire to see a boost in gold production and wants to motivate over 1.5 million artisanal miners in the country. He appeared before members of the Standing Committee, reporting on the first quarter results of the Bank.
"It will help us to reduce the contraband trade of gold," Teklewold told MPs.
One of the country's major export items, gold brought in 208.8 million dollars in the past fiscal year, accounting for 7.1pc of the total export proceeds. Despite its importance to the country, the production of gold has declined significantly over the past five years.
"In some regional states, gold production has become almost zero," Tadesse Haile, state minister for Exports & Investment in the Economic Section at the Prime Minister's Office, had told Fortune four months ago while defending a policy reform in the commodity's market.