Remaining four Union vexes to be addressed soon

DEPUTY Minister of State in the Vice-President, Union and Environment, Khamis Hamza Khamis told the National Assembly that the government was committed to solving the remaining four contentious issues of the Union.

He said on Wednesday that the remaining four issues were distribution of revenue from the Zanzibar shares in the East African Currency Board and the Bank of Tanzania profit, recommendations of the Joint Finance Commission, motor vehicles registration and importation of sugar produced in Zanzibar into Mainland market.

“I would like to assure the House that both governments are committed to work on the remaining issues and those which will arise in the future,” he said when responding to a main question by Mr Khalifa Mohamed Issa (Mtambwe –ACT Wazalendo) on the measures to settle the remaining union issues.

He assured MPs that the efforts of solving the remaining Union issues had not stuck nor has it been disrupted because until now they have succeeded to solve more issues than the ones remaining.

The Deputy Minister said to date the two governments have discussed, resolved, and removed 22 matters from the list of contentious issues of the Union.

He said this in response to a question posed by Same West MP David Mathayo (CCM), who wanted to know which union contentious issues have been solved and which have not.

Mr Khamis responded that some of the issues resolved include the costs of unloading cargo at the Dar es Salaam Port for cargo arriving from Zanzibar, as well as the exploration and extraction of oil and natural gas.

He said to discuss issues and solutions, both governments have adopted open and independent procedures for holding joint meetings conducted by a Joint Committee for dealing with Union issues.

Before the committee was formed in 2005, the government was resolving matters through various commissions and committees for investigating issues and recommending appropriate measures.

In a follow-up question, MP Mathayo asked which law was used to resolve the issue of oil and gas exploration, even though the constitution states that it is a Union matter.

Responding, Mr Khamis said it was true that the exploration and extraction of oil and natural gas was a challenge and there was a time when there was tension, but due to the wisdom of leaders who manage the union and the committees dealing with resolving the issues, they reached a good place to solve this matter using the law.

According to a book on resolved Union matters available on the Vice-President’s website, on oil and natural gas exploration and extraction, 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 Aberdeen University Petroleum and Economic Consultants (AUPEC) from Britain to provide technical advice on the distribution of the resource revenue.

AUPEC completed the work and proposals were submitted to the governments.

It further read that the Petroleum Act No. 21 of 2015 was enacted and gave Zanzibar the authority to establish an instrument to manage petroleum activities and natural gas issues, in September 2016,

Zanzibar’s Ministry of Lands, Housing, Water and Energy formulated the Zanzibar Oil and Gas (Upstream) Policy that among other things, acknowledged the existed gap regarding manpower, legal and institutional framework.

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