Officiating Arusha Gem Fair yesterday, Fadhili Nkurlu, the District Commissioner for Arusha insisted that it was imperative for dealers and buyers to comply with rules and guidelines put forth by the Mining Policy of 2009.
“The government condemns the theft of gemstones from the country …it is, therefore, imperative for you to comply with the existing rules,” the DC told a host of dealers and buyers at the start of a three-day fair in the region.
Early this year, the Moshi Resident Magistrate’s Court sentenced an Indian national, Anurag Jain, to six years in prison or a fine of 10.5m/- after being found guilty of possessing and exporting tanzanite without a legal permit.
Jain was found in possession of 2,015.59gms of rough and unpolished tanzanite worth 310,137.255 US dollars, contrary to Section 18(1)and (4) of the Mining Act No 14, 2010.
He was arrested at Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA), while trying to export them to Hong Kong in China, as opposed to the passage of the Mining Act Number 14 Section 18 (1) and (4) of 2010.
The rampant smuggling of minerals from Tanzania is said to cost the country a whopping $2.7 million in lost revenues every year.
Section 6 (4) of the Mining Act 2010 stipulates that an individual mineral smuggler is liable to a fine of 10m/- ($5,000) or a three-year jail term, whereas a company would pay 50m/- ($25,000).
In the same vein, Nkurlu urged dealers of precious gemstones in the country to revolutionize the industry by investing in value addition strategies. He also called for local dealers to capitalize on the fair.
Meanwhile, Minerals Commissioner Ally Samaji said the government had a duty of promoting the sector which has high prospects of contributing to the country’s economy.
“It is a promising industry to the country and the government needs to do much to promote it,” noted the commissioner.
According to Samaji, the government raked in a total of 301m/- worth of royalties from the previous Gem Fair held in 2015, following the auction of 7.2bn/- worth of gemstones.
This also meant that the government cashed in on $5.4million in royalties from the sector between 2011 and 2014.