Gold earnings on the rise

Tanzania’s earnings from gold exports rose by 37.9 to $2.324 billion in the period up to March 2020 due to an increase in export volume and price, the Central Bank has said. Africa’s fourth biggest gold producer after South Africa, Ghana and Mali hopes to see rebound in its mining sector after a tax crackdown and overhaul of its mining code in 2017 spooked foreign investors.

However, the BoT report did not provide figures for export volume. The country’s gold exports in the previous year amounted to $1.686 billion. Gold accounts for 55.7 per cent of the East African nation’s non-traditional exports. The country exported gold worth $1.549 billion in the year 2018, up slightly from $1.541 billion a year earlier.

President John Magufuli is pushing for more revenue from the mining sector, which is a relatively small contribution to national output. In 2017, the government passed laws which the industry complained would be costly and burdensome.

Among other things the laws hike taxes on mineral exports, mandate a higher government stake in some mining operations and force the construction of domestic smelters, a move some firms said was uneconomical. In January 2019, the president also ordered BoT to commence buying the country’s gold to curb smuggling and build reserves to stabilise the local currency.

BoT shows that total exports amounted to $9.951 billion in the year ending March 2020, from $8,747.1 million recorded in the year earlier. The central bank says traditional goods export rose significantly to $1.017 billion in the year ending March 2020 from $569.2 million in the corresponding period in 2019, as all tradition- al goods exports increased except coffee, tea and tobacco.

However, export of coffee, tea and tobacco declined on account of both volume and price effects. In March 2020, tradition- al exports rose to 64.3 mil- lion from $30.3 million registered previous year. Conversely, traditional exports were lower compared to $92.7 million in February 2020 associated with seasonality factors. Exports of non-traditional goods amounted to $4,171 billion in the year ending March 2020, compared with $ 3.608 billion in the corresponding period in 2019. All major categories of non-traditional export in- creased, except manufactured goods, and fish and fish products. This is due to an increase in exports of traditional crops.