Tuesday, January 17, 2023
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BusinessGov’t arrests Chinese nationals over illegal mining

Gov’t arrests Chinese nationals over illegal mining

Quarterly gold exports substantially dwindle

Foreign nationals who were found engaging in illegal gold mining and extraction practices at the Shakiso extraction site in Oromia region have been arrested, the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) says.

Authorities have experienced difficulties with a sizable illicit multilevel network that includes Chinese nationals in gold mining areas such as Oromia, the South West, and Benishangul Gumz region, said Yinager Dessie (PhD), governor of the NBE, while presenting the bank’s quarterly performance report to the Budget, Revenue, and Finance Standing Committee of the Parliament later this week.

“We are buying gold from producers at more than 35 percent of the price of the international market, but what we are facing is not a similar problem,” the governor said.

Illicit miners and traders are to blame for a significant fall in Ethiopia’s first three months disappointing gold export performance, according to Yinager. The number of illegal gold miners has grown in areas that are meant to be extraction sites, lowering the amount of gold purchased by the central bank, he said.

Although the governor refrained from disclosing the total value of exports for the time period, he did emphasize that performance was worse than it had been compared to the same period last year.

Yinager says increasing the price of gold in the local market won’t bring any change unless a coordinated effort is made to solve issues with illegal traders and miners.

During the previous 2021/22 fiscal year, it was reported that gold exports had earned the country more than USD 560 million in revenue. It was one of the top export items of the country, along with coffee, khat and horticulture. With 90 percent share, Switzerland has been the main destination of Ethiopia’s gold, according to NBE.

The nation has earned USD 977 million through exports, USD 1.7 billion from remittances, and USD 217 million from non-governmental organizations, according to Yinager.

The governor also anticipates an improvement in financial support as a result of the ongoing peace agreement between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

Ethiopia imported goods worth USD 3.6 billion in the first quarter of the year, with the majority of that amount going to petroleum and consumer goods.

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