Dar es Salaam — Sustained government checks on mining activities and increased production among major producers, mainly Geita and North Mara, have boosted the country's gold export earnings.
According to the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) monthly economic review for April, export earnings from gold increased by $100 million (about Sh223 billion) during the year ended March, this year, compared to the year ended March 2018.
The review shows that export earnings from gold increased to $1.68 billion during the year ending March, this year, from $1.53 billion recorded during the year ending in March 2018.
The increase has also improved earnings from non-traditional goods exports, which account for 78 per cent of goods exports and 40 per cent of total exports to $3.47 billion during the year ended in March this year.
The BoT review says the increase in gold earnings, which accounts for almost half of non-traditional exports, was a result of increased volumes.
This has also increased the value of goods and services exported in the year ending March 2019 to $8.5 billion from $8.4 billion in the corresponding period of 2018.
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However, this is happening while the commodity price decreased to $1,263.1 per troy ounce during the year ended in March this year from $1,284.9 recorded in March 2018.
On a monthly basis, the report shows that gold price also fell by 1.5 per cent to $1,300.9 in March this year from $1,320.1 in February this year.
The Executive Secretary of the Mining Commission, Prof Shukrani Manya, said the adoption of three laws in 2017 has had an impact on growth.
In 2017, Parliament passed three pieces of legislation that made significant changes to the legal and institutional frameworks governing oil, gas and mineral extraction.
They include the Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2017, the Natural Wealth and Resources (Permanent Sovereignty) Act, 2017 and the Natural Wealth and Resources (Revenue and Re-Negotiation of Unconscionable Terms) Act, 2017.
Among the notable changes in the Written Laws Miscellaneous Amendments) Act, 2017 was the disbandment of the Tanzania Mineral Audit Agency (TMAA) and the government formed a new body known as the Minerals Commission which took over all activities of the former. Under the changes, the government has strengthened its auditing process, thus raising earnings from the sector, Prof Manya told The Citizen yesterday.
He said the government has continued to improve audit checks among gold producers from production, processing and transportation of the commodity for exports.
"Proper control of production and exports activities, change of regulations have enabled the government to allocate one mining official in each large mining site to supervise production statistics and the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) officials are also there which reduce changes of cheating among producers," he said.
The chief executive officer of the Tanzania Chamber of Energy and Minerals (TCEM), Mr Gerald Mtuli, said the increase in earnings from gold exports was a result of increased production among miners including North Mara and Geita Gold Mine (GGM).
He said what has been changed is the inspection of consignments before being transported and the number of people involved in checking has increased to include district executive directors. The new laws have increased revenue collection from small-scale miners compared to large-scale miners. Tanzania is the fourth biggest gold producer in Africa behind South Africa, Ghana and Mali.