Sudan has reportedly announced a plan to allow local private sector firms to export gold as part of the government’s efforts to crack down on illegal smuggling, and boost the national economy.

The move will ease the Sudan central bank’s grip over gold exports, Reuters reported.

Sudan Prime Minister Moataz Moussa wrote on his Twitter account: “With the blessings of the president of the republic, we have decided to include the private sector in exporting gold.”

He added that the country’s central bank would undertake the relevant steps to make sure gold exports are routed through the country’s economy.

Currently, Sudan allows foreign gold-mining companies to export the metal, and the new deal will bring in domestic miners into the process for the first time.

The government has now mandated producers to sell foreign currency revenues to the central bank.

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Sudan local gold exporters union head Abdel Monem al-Siddiq told Reuters: “We have agreed with the prime minister to sell all revenues from gold exports to the central bank at the real current rate for the Sudanese pound.”

al-Siddiq stated that the price agreed would be higher than the exchange rate of 47.5 Sudanese pounds to the dollar prevailing since October this year.

“With the blessings of the president of the republic, we have decided to include the private sector in exporting gold.”

The government established a body in October to set the price on a daily basis.

Additionally, the exchange body has also been tasked with setting a purchase price for gold in a move aimed at encouraging miners to route their products through the central bank.

Last year, the African nation produced around 100t of gold.

According to the news agency, around 70% of the country’s production is estimated to be smuggled abroad.