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Magufuli’s 24km wall helps curb theft of Tanzania’s gemstones, revenue up

The government of Tanzania says revenue from its rare gemstones, Tanzanite, has risen four-fold for the first quarter of this year as against same time last year.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa told lawmakers on Wednesday that Tanzania earned over $316,000 from the minerals and the government puts its down to having curbed theft.

The president last week inaugurated a 24km wall around mines in the country’s north as part of efforts to curb the theft and attendant loss of revenue from the mineral. The mines in Mirerrani produce the rare blue violet Tanzanite gemstones.

John Pombe Magufuli ordered the military in September 2017 to build the wall which is estimated to have cost the government $3.5m.

The blue-violet tanzanite gemstone is found only in the East African nation, the country is one of the region’s biggest economies only ranking behind Ethiopia and Kenya.

Smuggling of minerals is a headache that most countries are struggling with. The move comes months after the president ordered renegotiation of mining concessions with multinational companies.

Magufuli is reputed for his anti-corruption stance which has led to the firing of top government officials. Opposition, rights groups and the church have, however, decried what they say are dictatorial tendencies of the president who took over in 2015.

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