Play your role effectively,  Mwinyi tells cooperatives

PRESIDENT Hussein Ali Mwinyi has urged cooperatives to play their role effectively, a move that will significantly contribute in the implementation of government’s initiatives meant to achieve national development goals, including the blue economy objectives.

Dr Mwinyi said cooperatives have contributed a lot in economic and social development as well as tackling unemployment and enhancing environmental sustainability.

“But, more needs to be done for the country to increase job opportunities and provide better services to people,” he said.

Dr Mwinyi made the call in his speech, read on his behalf by the Second Vice-President, Hemed Suleiman Abdulla at Ziwani area where members of cooperatives and stakeholders gathered to celebrate the International Day of Cooperatives (IDC), which is celebrated on the first Saturday of July every year.

For Zanzibar, the IDC was pushed back to yesterday, as the first Saturday of this month coincided with celebrations of the Eid al Adha, a festival celebration for Muslims after Pilgrimage to the Holy place in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

“We are happy that cooperatives have contributed to creating jobs, narrowing the gap between unemployed and the employed. At least 4.1 per cent of 900,000 unemployed people in Zanzibar (capable of working) have been employed. This is a huge support to the government,” said Mr Abdulla in the speech.

He said the government has been taking different measures to support the growth of the cooperatives in the Isles including providing loans through Zanzibar Economic Empowerment Agency (ZEEA).

Through the agency, more than 25bn/- has been released to members, thanks to the IMF Covid-19 Relief Fund to developing countries.

Provision of equipment including boats to people engaging in seaweed farming and fishing, and spice farmers are among things the government has been doing to support people in cooperatives.

The Cooperatives Union of Zanzibar (CUZA), through their national chairperson Mr Hafidh Hamid Soud asked for the review of the current Zanzibar cooperatives law, and policy to overcome some of the challenges in carrying out their roles.

In response, the second Vice-President agreed and directed the Ministry of State in the President’s Office (Labour, Economic Affairs and Investment) to start a review process of the law and policy with the responsible minister, Mudrik Ramadhani Soraga promising to start organising a forum of stakeholders to discuss the legislation and the policy.

Principal Secretary in the  Ministry of State, President’s Office ( Labour, Economic Affairs  and Investment  Ms Maryam Abdalla said some of the 3,041 registered cooperatives in Zanzibar have been doing well, particularly the Savings And Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs) in supporting its members in different ways and also establishing projects to generate income.

She said this year’s IDC celebrations programme in Zanzibar started in February this year by carrying out a number of activities such as holding fundraising event from which 6.3m/- was collected, organising a  forum to discuss development of cooperatives; blood donation, and environmental cleanliness.

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