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The government is contemplating to include Tanzanite gemstones in national foreign reserves at the Central bank instead of gold which is shunned due to price instability, the Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Phillip Mpango has said.
Dr Mpango said in Parliament yesterday that the Central Bank was considering the idea of instating the rate and extraordinary gemstones in the reserves because of its price stability in the world market and the fact that it is mined in Tanzania.
Tanzanite is the blue/violet variety of the mineral zoisite (a calcium aluminium hydroxyl Sorosilicate) belonging to the epidote group. It was discovered by a Tanzanian Jumanne Mhero Ngoma in the Mirerani Hills of Manyara Region in Northern Tanzania in 1967, near the city of Arusha and Mount Kilimanjaro.
Responding to a question from Dalaly Kafumu (Igunga, CCM) who wanted to know why gold is not in the national foreign, the minister said the Central Bank was hesitant to reinstate gold in its foreign reserve due to its price instability.
He said global gold price fluctuation was one of the factors that made the government to rescind plans for including the bullion in the national foreign reserve. With gold output at roughly 40 tonnes a year, Tanzania is the fourth largest gold producer in Africa after South Africa, Ghana and Mali. The Kigoma Urban legislator, Kabwe Zitto was not convinced with the argument by the minister.
He said US dollar was as well not stable and asked the government to reconsider its position. In his main question, Dr Kafumu said the country has enough gold which he said should be turned to monetary reserve as it is the case with other African countries , Ghana and South Africa being amongst.
The Deputy Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Ashatu Kijaji had earlier said the reserves kept by the Central Bank were enough for importing goods for a period of four months. She said the foreign reserve could either be kept in either monetary gold or foreign currency but for convertibility they had opted for dollars.