Tanzania: Tanzanite Hero Salutes Govt

COMETH the hour, cometh the man. And, the man of the moment is none other than Saniniu Laizer.

He was once again on a similar mission yesterday, selling one rough Tanzanite stone weighing 6.3317 kilogrammes to the government at a cost of 4.8bn/-, etching his name further in the country's history books.

The sale comes a month after the soft- spoken Simanjiro small -scale miner hit the jackpot after he found the two largest tanzanite gemstones ever recorded.

Mr Laizer was handed 7.7bn/- after selling the precious gemstones, which had a combined weight of 15kilogrammes, earning himself the title of the latest billionaire in town, thus quashing the naysayers' earlier narrative that he was conned.

Yesterday's feat was yet among many things left on his bucket list, as he aspires to dig even more gemstones and sell them to the government.

"You need to be patriotic if you are to thrive in this business, I urge you to work closely with the government if you are to succeed," he counselled.

A selfless person he is, Mr Laizer urged fellow small-scale miners not to be desperate in their quest of becoming billionaires.

"It requires patience and perseverance to make a kill," he said.

In the same vein, the billionaire reiterated that he was satisfied with what the government offered him in his earlier sale of the gems, further reminding fellow miners of how the government valued them.

"I'm not a politician but I like to speak the truth... President John Magufuli has spared us the hustles of walking long distances in search of water, that even our donkeys have taken rest," joked Mr Laizer amidst a roar of laughter from the crowd.

Yesterday's sale saw Mr Laizer pay 290m/- to the central government as royalties and 48m/- as inspection cost.

Another 14m/- was paid to the Simanjiro District Council as a service levy.

Earlier on, Energy Minister Mr Dotto Biteko warned and demanded mineral smugglers to come out from their hideouts, saying the government was working round the clock to flush them out.

He challenged small scale miners to borrow a leaf from Mr Laizer by following the right procedures if they want to sell their precious gemstones.

"He did the right thing, that's why all are here to celebrate his achievement."

Mr Laizer currently runs a substantial mining operation involving more than 200 people, who he has funded with the profits of his extensive cattle and farming businesses near his humble abode in Simanjiro District.

Meanwhile, Tanzania's Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) General Venance Mabeyo has rooted for the installation of sophisticated devices in curbing smuggling of Tanzanite minerals at Mirerani Hills.

Speaking on the sidelines of the handing over ceremony of a 4.8bn/- cheque to Mr Saniniu Laizer yesterday, General Mabeyo said there was a need of intensifying security at the mines, despite the construction of the 24.5kilometres perimeter wall.

"There's no fence without a hole unless augmented by technical devices, despite soldiers' presence here, we still need to reinforce the wall," he said.

Once installed, the devices, according to General Mabeyo will be able to detect even gems concealed in the shoes of the smugglers.

Likewise, the CDF assured the Energy Ministry that the Men in Uniform will continue to safeguard the wall and ultimately protect the precious gemstones buried at Mirerani Hills in Simanjiro District.

In the same vein, Major Mabeyo saluted the Ministry of Finance and Planning for disbursing 100m/- to the Tanzania People's Defence Force (TPDF) that was used in the construction of quarters for soldiers manning the perimeter wall.

Constructed through President John Magufuli's directive, the wall was completed ahead of schedule in April 2018, as a way of curbing smuggling of the rare gemstone.

Earlier on, Minister for Finance and Planning Dr Philip Mpango highlighted the achievements registered by the mining sector since the construction of the wall.

He pointed out that industry had grown in leaps and bounds, thanks to the major transformations orchestrated by President Magufuli.

"The sector performed dismally before these transformations came on board, posting a mere three per cent to the country's income," he explained.

According to Dr Mpango revenue collection in the mining sector jumped to a record 470bn/- up from an annual average of 196bn/-, in the last four years, thanks to the sweeping reforms in the sector.

Equally, the Minister urged Simanjiro residents to be extra vigilant in reporting and exposing smugglers.

He assured the residents that the township will witness drastic changes, in a space of ten years if they are keen in exposing cartels behind the smuggling of the precious gems.

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