India appeals to Dar to ease tanzanite export restrictions


INDIA has appealed to Tanzania to lift the restriction imposed on export of tanzanite weighing over one gram and subsequently double its export tax as a measure to curtail illegal trade of the blue gemstone.
Since Tanzania decided to ban export of raw tanzanite in 2012, it had sent shockwaves to gem and jewellery industries, especially those based in the northern Indian state capital of Jaipur, deemed the leading centre for cutting and polishing tanzanite worldwide.
“Smuggling is huge and complex. It’s not easy to spot the real smugglers but there are options to curb the situation,” India’s Deputy High Commissioner to Tanzania, Mr Robert Shetkintong, noted in an exclusive interview with the ‘Daily News’.
Mr Shetkintong was of the opinion that smuggling had surged as a result of restrictions to the much-demanded blue gemstone, which if combined with other gems, makes a precious and highly-priced jewel. Current government figures released in 2014 show that tanzanite worth 635bn/- is smuggled annually from Arusha and Mirerani, finding their way into either Kenya or Asia.
A recent survey by the ‘Daily News’ revealed that there is a big scam in the tanzanite Industry worth millions of dollars rare gemstone, which is being smuggled by using the Maasai herdsmen as conduits.
Dar es Salaam Special Police Zone Deputy Commissioner Mr Hezron Gyimbi told reporters in the city on Friday that the police had as well uncovered a similar method being used by smugglers to evade law enforcers who had managed to block all other routes formerly used.
The new innovations, according to the police, were short-lived following a special operation to seal all smuggling routes after discovering that tax evaders had trained cows to illegally ship goods, including electronic goods.
The demand for tanzanite is undoubtedly high while the export ban has even caused industry paralyses, according to critics. “Tanzanite is among the gemstones mostly sought after in the world despite the fact that it can be replaced by other gems.
Technically, if Tanzania has banned its exports, that’s fine.
But we think that a review can be considered for the benefit of both countries,” the deputy high commissioner said in his office on Friday.He went on to suggest that increasing the tax-base for exports of rough tanzanite plus lifting the ban can help to reduce the rate of smuggling— in which Tanzania loses more.
Mr Shetkintong pointed out that the business was largely conducted by two Indian communities -- Gujarat and Rajasthan -- who have high-tech skills and well-specialised connections in gem fraternity.
“Besides that, we’re encouraging Indian investors to invest in cutting and polishing units in Tanzania. This is the other way that both countries can replicate the friendship,” he said.
The diplomat explained that some 20 investors arrived in Tanzania last week for the same undertakings, adding; “they will need to study the area while it is their decision to make or not make a deal.”
India processes over 90 per cent of the gem mined worldwide only in northern Tanzania’s Mirerani Hills in Simanjiro District, Manyara Region. Mirerani traders said the blue gemstone is easily smuggled as the authorities can’t watch everything.
Tanzania announced it will set up a state-of-the-art facility in Mirerani where cutting and polishing units of tanzanite will be installed. The plan, according to the government, will help add value to the rarest gem and improve lives of the communities and miners thus contribute to the country’s GDP.


India appeals to Dar to ease tanzanite export restrictions India appeals to Dar to ease tanzanite export restrictions   Reviewed by on 11:00:00 PM Rating: 5

No comments: