ZANZIBAR government is keen to create conducive and enabling environment for businesses and investments to thrive in the country, President Hussein Mwinyi assured here on Friday.
“Zanzibar has opened its doors for domestic and foreign investments…increased inflow of investors is inevitable for the government to raise financial resources for implementation of its development programmes,” Dr Mwinyi told investors at the launch of Zanzibar Investment Guide and Zanzibar Investment Promotion Agency’s (ZIPA) Online Services.
He said the revolutionary government is determined to institute appropriate measures to remove all system and legal obstacles that impede growth of businesses and investments in the islands, hinting that ZIPA is already undergoing massive reforms, including strengthening of investor one-stop-centre to improve services to investors.
“Our efforts have already paid off; ZIPA has in the past two years registered 226 projects whose total capital is 3.5 billion US dollars (over 8tri/-),” Dr Mwinyi said in appreciation of the great work by the investment promotion agency, adding that the registered projects have the potential of creating 13,500 jobs.
The President said the Zanzibar Investment Electronic Window (ZIeW) will enhance ZIPA services to investors, especially speedy registration and issuance of investment certificates; reduction of inconveniences; revenue enhancement and reduction of unnecessary costs to investors.
President Mwinyi directed ZIPA and all government institutions that handle investors under the one-stop-centre to capitalise on the digital platform to improve services. “You have to improve your services to investors …give high quality and international standard services,” he demanded.
But, he turned down a request by Minister of State, President’s Office, Labour, Economic Affairs and Investment Mudrik Ramadhan Soraga to have government executives handling the renting out of Zanzibar islets sent abroad for a learning picnic.
“We have already decided to rent our small islands to private investors; we no longer have discussion on whether or not to rent out the islets. Bring to me whoever is an obstacle to the process and I will know where to send them,” Dr Mwinyi replied to the minister’s plea.
Minister Soraga had asked the President to approve a foreign learning excursion for government executives handling the islet issue, citing misunderstanding among some government officials. He attributed the misunderstanding to lack of exposure, proposing the trip to some islands that have succeeded in business as a solution.
The minister also asked for increased ZIPA budget, asking the President to approve the 100 per cent retention of the agency’s revenue collections to finance investment promotion activities.
Responding, Dr Mwinyi said financing to ZIPA is not a problem as long as the money is put in proper uses, “We have no problem with ZIPA budget as long as the money is appropriately spent…the problem comes when the money is embezzled.”
ZIPA Executive Director Shariff Ali Shariff said under ZIeW, all institutions under the investor one-stop-centre will work under the system, which will allow investors to process their investment registration before entering Zanzibar. “ZIPA aspires to become a Centre of Excellency in providing quality and speedy services to investors,” Mr Shariff said.
Under the system, it will take hardly five minutes for the investor with all documentations to receive the investment certificate, ZIPA chief assured.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Representative Christine Musisi, speaking at the event, said the investment guide will help to promote investment opportunities and create investments in the islands for sustainable social and economic development.
The UN development agency had supported preparation of the document that summarises investment opportunities and provides comprehensive sector profile to help investors in making informed decisions.