Tanzania has continued to prove to the world that it can resolve its issues yesterday after writing a new chapter by resolving five union challenges for the major purpose of strengthening the merger between Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.
Vice President Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan presided over the ceremony to sign a memorandum between leaders from both sides of the Union to remove the resolved challenges from the lists of Union matters that are yet to be addressed.
Leaders who attended the signing ceremony include Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, Attorney General Prof Adelardus Kilangi, Minister for Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi, Zanzibar Second Vice-President Seif Ali Iddi, Zanzibar Chief Secretary Abdulhamid Yahya Mzee, Zanzibar Attorney General Said Hassan and other senior leaders from both sides of the Union.
The first matter resolved related to Zanzibar’s participation in international and regional affairs, in which it was being argued that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation was not according the Isles government sufficient opportunity to participate in economic cooperation with international institutions.
In resolving the matter, the two governments prepared a guide for Zanzibar involvement in international and regional affairs which has focused on the areas of national leaders’ visits, international conferences, and opportunities for higher education studies abroad, and the search for grants or loans to implement various projects from abroad.
Another issue resolved is Zanzibar's participation in the East African Community (EAC) that will allow them to submit economic development projects for inclusion in regional projects implemented in the community.
Zanzibar government presented eight development projects for inclusion in the regional projects implemented in EAC.
Four of the eight regional projects were prioritised for the preparation of project documentation, architecture and cost assessment ready for funding.
Presenting the resolved issues, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Vice-President's Office, Ambassador Joseph Sokoine said implementation of Pemba airport and Mpigaduri/Maruhubi port projects that the Isles government wanted to be financed under EAC arrangement, has been funded through other sources.
"Effort to search for financial resources to finance the construction of a dry dock and Roll on Roll off (RORO) projects between the ports of Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Pemba, Tanga and Mombasa from other sources is still ongoing, the meeting held in Dodoma on 9th February agreed that this challenge should be removed from the Union's list of challenges," he said.
Landing fee at Dar es Salaam port for cargo from Zanzibar was also a contentious issue, as it was argued that it was high (11,000/-) while the fee for cargo imported from abroad was low (4,000/).
He said according to the Tariff Book of Port Dues and Charges of April 2013 approved by Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA), the rates charged for cargo from Zanzibar were lower than the rates charged for imported goods into Tanzania Mainland or cargo from other countries via Dar es Salaam Port to another country.
The rates charged are as follows, shore handling is USD 7 for imported goods while for cargo from Zanzibar is USD 2, wharfage is USD 1.6 per cent of the value of freight for imported goods while for freight from Zanzibar is USD 2 CBM / tonne and stevedoring is USD 6 if the load is taken to the drop area and USD 7 if the load is taken in the yard area, while for cargo from Zanzibar it is USD 2 CBM / tonne.
On oil and natural gas exploration and extraction, he said there was an argument on how to share revenue from such resources when available.
After negotiations, the two governments decided to bring into play the British AUPEC consultant to provide technical advice on the distribution of the resource revenue. AUPEC Company completed the work and proposals were submitted to the governments.
Another argument that emerged surrounded the issue of oil and natural gas as voices wanted it be removed from the list of Union matters.
After discussions between the two governments of both sides, they agreed to remove the matter from the Union maters.
Thus, the Oil Act No. 21 of 2015 was enacted and gave Zanzibar the authority to establish body/bodies to manage oil and natural gas issues and Zanzibar enacted its Oil and Natural Gas Act of 2016.
The fifth issue that was resolved surrounded the absence of procedures for the joint committee meeting to deal with Union Affairs.
It was reported yesterday that on February 9,2019, a meeting was held in Dodoma under Vice-President, Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan, during which procedures for the joint committee to address Union matters were approved.