Tanzania gold export earnings rise by 25% in year to August

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) – Tanzania’s earnings from gold exports rose 25.1% in the year to August, buoyed by higher output of the precious metal, its central bank said on Thursday.

Gold exports fetched $1.91 billion in the year ending August 31, up from $1.53 billion the previous year.

“Gold export rose by 25.1 percent … driven by volume, and accounted for more than half of non-traditional exports,” the Bank of Tanzania said in its latest monthly economic report.

It did not give figures for export volumes.

Africa’s fourth-biggest gold producer after South Africa, Ghana and Mali hopes its mining sector will rebound after a tax crackdown and overhaul of its mining code in 2017 spooked foreign investors.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli, who took office in late 2015, is pushing for more revenue from the sector, which is a relatively small contributor to national output.

In 2017, the government passed laws the industry complained would be costly and onerous.

Among the measures were higher taxes on mineral exports, mandated a higher government stake in some mining operations, and forced the construction of local smelters, a move some companies saw was uneconomic.

Tanzania’s current account deficit widened 30.9% in the year to August, underpinned by an increase in imports.

The gap widened to $2.18 billion in the 12 months to August from $1.67 billion in the same period in 2018.

Imports of goods and services rose 6.1% to $10.52 billion, while total exports rose slightly to $8.77 billion from $8.71 billion previously, the bank said.

Earnings from tourism, the main source of foreign exchange, rose to $2.34 billion from $2.32 billion previously, helped by more visitor arrivals.

Reporting by Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala; Editing by Clement Uwiringiyimana and Karishma Singh

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