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Vol 41 No 5

Published 3rd March 2000


Cleaning diamonds

New controls are meant to enrich the government and impoverish its enemies

Angola has transformed the market for its diamonds, cancelling or suspending all existing marketing contracts for the stones. The government claims that this radical shake-up, made by decree on 31 January, will bring huge flows of illegal revenue into the formal tax system. This should both boost its efforts to reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund this year and help to restrict the flow of 'dirty diamonds' from mines controlled by the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola, which have been finding their way into government-approved marketing channels. Regulation of the industry has been feeble; the government says it earned only US$21-25 million in taxes last year, on total sales of some $700 mn., and that the new measures should bring in tax revenues of $50-$70 mn. this year. For once, Angolan claims of movement towards better economic management and transparency appear at least partially credible.

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