Zim loses 1 000kg gold to smuggling

Enacy Mapakame in Nyanga
Zimbabwe is losing an estimated 1 000kg of gold annually through side marketing and illicit flows. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) financial intelligence unit’s Wonder Kapofu said while the country may have mechanisms to curb gold and financial leakages, the country is still losing a significant amount as the system is not robust enough to plug off all the loopholes.Mr Kapofu indicated the need to work with Fidelity Printers and Refiners, police, border patrol for instance to help curb smuggling and any other illegal trade of the precious commodity.

“For every gram of gold we hesitate to buy, there is someone from India or Dubai ready to buy it,” he said speaking to bankers at the Institute of Bankers of Zimbabwe (IOBZ) Summer School 2017 in Nyanga yesterday. As a country in need of foreign currency, we need to make sure we get as much gold coming through the official channels as possible. But when we did our survey, it showed the country is losing about a tonne of gold every year,” he said.

Gold is the country’s second largest foreign currency earner at 17 percent after tobacco, which accounts for 21 percent of total export shipments, according to RBZ figures. Zimbabwe is now producing an estimated 23 tonnes of gold a year. Its peak production was 27 tonnes achieved in 1999. Mr Kapofu said the long term plan was to surpass that figure in the next few years on robust monitoring mechanisms as well as strategies that enable small-scale miners easy access to Fidelity selling points as well as allow every amount of gold to be sold through the official channels.

“We know that we are producing more gold than what is going into the official channels. But there are so many gold buyers out there whether it’s for e-gold transaction, as a store of value or be it money laundering. There is someone willing to buy one gram and that is how we lose,” said Mr Kapofu. He highlighted the need to balance regulatory measures and other efforts that encourage official production. Indications are that the illicit outflows are not only prevalent in gold, but spread to currencies and other commodities with the country used as a hub for some illegal transactions. Mr Kapofu said the FIU worked with counterparts from across the region to detect any such illegal activities like currency flows into and out of conflict countries.

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    until u mean what you say nothing will change, it seems everything in zim must be command based, if the president doesn’t speak nothing will change, one center of power. and if i may ask who are doing that if not some of the zanu pf people who think they are untouchable and sure they are untouchable.

  • Wilson Magaya

    Wise words indeed, “for every gram we hesitate to buy…..” Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. Fidelity is key to the flow of gold in Zimbabwe, and in some way connected to our value creation system, unfortunately it is still structured the same way it was when it was created. Back then computers were non existent and global information systems were a new technology and still as manual as you could get. The time has come for us to use technology to build a base for the future Zimbabwe, the future of our value creation system (including currency). Let’s think in the box for out the box solutions…..FOCUS!

  • Farai

    Yet RBZ is using multiple pricing as they are paying 40% in Zim dollars, it’s simple all the miners need to do is send it to SA by bus overnight and in the morning they will receive 100% of the golds value in new USD notes so why waste time with RBZ? It’s your own policies that encourage smuggling.