ZANZIBAR: ZANZIBAR President Dr Hussein Mwinyi has said that it is possible to create about 300,000 jobs before 2025 in the Islands.
However, to hit that mark, it was imperative for the Zanzibar Economic Empowerment Agency (ZEEA) to continue with its measures of boosting the private sector, he said.
Gracing the ZEEA one-year anniversary and the launching of Furaha ya Zanzibar entrepreneurship festival, Dr Mwinyi stressed on collaboration among key players in empowering the locals, adding that it’s a cross-cutting issue.
In particular, Dr Mwinyi praised ZEEA’s performance in the past year, saying: “This has been good and you are on right track and we hope a lot of success will be recorded within the next two years. You are doing a lot to ensure enough jobs are created through giving out loans to establish projects.”
On the continuing construction of modern markets, and infrastructures’ improvements to speed-up jobs’ creations, he asked financial institutions in Zanzibar, mainly banks, to inject funds as loans to supplement the government’s 20bn/- and 10 million US dollars (about 25bn/-) from Khalifa Fund.
Elaborating, the president said the current demand of 80bn/- to support young entrepreneurs as loans cannot be shouldered by the government alone, hence he called upon the private sector, especially hoteliers to chip in by buying locally produced goods.
He added: “Buying local products will reduce importation of goods that are produced at home. Here, owners of more than 600 hotels in Zanzibar should support.”
Also, the government is planning to review policies and laws related to employment to give priority to local content.
Meanwhile, before receiving an award in recognition of his initiatives in empowering people economically, Dr Mwinyi was also handed over certificates of appreciation.
In response, he thanked them and took the occasion to remind debtors and ZEEA that they pay fast enough, because it is a revolving fund that others also wait to apply for.
In a related development, President Mwinyi also launched APP/online that will ease application for loans, where bureaucracies taking several weeks would not be there.
Thanking the e-government department for the digitalisation development, it was noted that the process was minimised to only 14 days or less, where people can also apply through their mobile phones.
In a separate development, Dr Mwinyi graced a brief panel discussion of ministers: Simai Mohamed Said (Tourism and Heritage), Omar said Shaaban (Trade and Industrial Development), Suleiman Masoud Makame (Blue Economy and Fisheries) and Minister of State President’s Office Responsible for Economy and Investment Mr Mudrik Ramadhan Soraga, who all promised to strengthen collaboration in the interest of young people and women who want to borrow.
In his welcoming note, Mr Soraga commended Dr Mwinyi for his restless efforts in finding ways to economically empower the locals, adding that the ZEEA board is also behind the successes recorded since the agency was formed last year.
ZEEA Executive Director Mr Juma Burhan Mohamed informed the gathering that the organisation targets to reach at least 62,400 people by 2025, especially by providing free interest loans and training.
He added: “So far, we have managed to reach 19,373 (including 11,846 women), giving a loan amounting to 20bn/-.”
He said that ZEEA has signed several agreements with other institutions to clear challenges that were facing entrepreneurs.
“We thank Zanzibar Bureau of Standards (ZBS) for reducing the fee from 700,000/- to 50,000/- to enable many local producers to pay for standardisation of their products.”
Mr Burhan said that the aim of empowerment was to enable many Zanzibaris to get engaged in work for self-reliance and also contribute to national economic growth as a way to fight poverty.
He thanked development partners such as FAO for donating 18 processing machines, Zanzibar Maisha Bora Foundation (ZMBF) for supporting seaweed farmers and Tanzania Trade Development Authority (TanTrade) for helping find a market for local products.