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Tanzania central bank set to create reserve for precious minerals

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- The Bank of Tanzania (BoT) has said it was working on modalities to rebuild a reserve for precious minerals, including gold, tanzanite and diamonds, as it is done in other countries worldwide.

The move follows a recent proposal by Tanzanian President John Magufuli when receiving two probe reports by special parliamentary committees which were formed to investigate diamonds and tanzanite mining which were found replete with fraud.

Benno Ndulu, the BoT governor, said the central bank was aggressively working on to come up with arrangements to be able to procure the precious minerals.

"There are number of things to be considered and properly put in place before starting to purchase the minerals," said Ndulu.

He added: "We have started working on the matter... we need money and several other things.

"These are things you cannot do right away because it is a sensitive subject."

Ndulu said establishing such procurement procedure required consultation with various experts and government officials at different levels.

"We need to consult and document everything before the central bank turns from only reserving cash to a buyer of gold, tanzanite and diamond.

"The buying and selling of the minerals need special expertise," said Ndulu.

Magufuli and Minister for Finance and Planning, Philip Mpango, have been aggressively pushing for the central bank to rebuild reserves for precious minerals.

"BoT should come up with a special arrangement to start establishing mineral reserves, as it is done in other parts of the world instead of dealing with cash reserves only," said Mpango on Sept. 9 during his prompt visit to the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam where he received reports on smuggled diamond that was seized at the airport.

BoT halted its previous gold purchases after the 2009 collapse of a Dar es Salaam-based gold refinery, Mwananchi Gold Company Limited (MGCL), which was set up as a joint venture between the central bank and some private investors.

In November last year, Mpango told the National Assembly that the government, through BoT, was exploring the possibility of using tanzanite for currency reserves, not bullion, because experience has shown that gold was no longer suitable for this purpose.

Tanzanite is a gemstone unique to Tanzania, as it is only found in the Mererani area of the country’s Manyara region.


Tanzanian parliament speaker advises MPs to ensure personal security

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian National Assembly Speaker Job Ndugai has advised members of parliament to be cautious of their personal security, against the backdrop of unexplained shootings by unknown gunmen.

"Since the security situation is not conducive, I am advising you to be very careful with what you do, where you walk and even your behavior because security begins with you," Ndugai told the closing session of a two-week parliamentary session in the political capital Dodoma.

The advice was sounded a week after unknown gunmen shot and seriously wounded Singida East MP and legal advisor for opposition Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo, Tundu Lissu, at his residence in Dodoma.

And ln Sept. 11, Vincent Mribata, a retired major general with the Tanzania People’s Defense Forces, was shot shortly after coming from a bank.

Last week, Ndugai directed the parliamentary committee on defense and security to meet and discuss the state of the national security.

Four killed in southwestern Tanzania’s road mishap

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- At least four people were killed and nine others injured in a head-on collision that involved five vehicles and a motorcycle in southwestern Tanzania’s region of Mbeya, police said on Friday.

Mohamed Mpinga, Mbeya Regional Police Commander, said that the accident occurred at Iwambi hill, few kilometers to a small town of Mbalizi along the busiest Tanzania-Zambia highway (Tanzam).

According to Mpinga, the accident occurred on Thursday night at around 8 p.m. local time in a hilly area with a steep slope on the way to the Tanzania and Zambia border town of Tunduma.

He said that two drivers and a motorcyclist were among the dead in the road mishap.

The cause of the accident was yet to be established, though preliminary investigation show that driver of a truck which was heading to Zambia from the Tanzania’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam lost control before ramming into other vehicles, Mpinga said, revealing that the injured people were rushed to Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital for treatment.

"Drivers using the Tanzam road should be extra careful as the highway has many sharp corners and slopes," said Mpinga.



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