Zanzibar 5.1tri/- budget thrills residents

ZANZIBAR: SOME members of the public yesterday expressed their satisfaction with the 5.1tri/- 2024/2025 Budget Estimates tabled in the House of Representatives on Thursday.

Speaking to the ‘Daily News,’ some citizens termed the budget as people-centered since it considers many areas, focusing on uplifting standard of living in the Isles.

People with disabilities, public servants, women and the youth expressed happiness with the government’s decision to allocate 59.48bn/- for reforms in public institutions, particularly ministries that promote youth, children, women and people with disabilities.

The ministries include the Ministry of Health; The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training; The Ministry of social development, Elders, Gender and Children; The Ministry of Blue Economy and Fisheries; The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, Natural resources and Livestock and The Ministry of State – President’s Office (Constitution, Legal Affairs, Public Service and Good Governance).

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Ms Salma Saadat, the National Chairperson of People with Disabilities Association in Zanzibar, praised the government for the budget that scrapped Value Added Tax (VAT) on equipment used by the people with disabilities.

“We thank the government for reducing VAT, we are waiting to see the difference,” she said.

The government also slashed VAT on imported refrigerated vans and large capacity refrigerators so as to promote investments in fishing industry, and on gas cooking equipment to promote clean energy cooking, along with tax exemption on Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG).

“We commend the government for these changes and also introducing excise duty on imported frozen fish and chicken,” Ms Amina Shaaban, a poultry rearer said.

The government increased tax on imported wine beverages from 2,466/- to 4,386/- , and alcohol (spirits) from 35/- to 70/- per litre.

The Zanzibar National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) Director, Mr Hamad Hamad said:

“I received the budget speech with cautious optimism, while we acknowledge the government’s efforts to prioritise economic growth and development.

“We emphasise the need for greater clarity and specificity in the allocation of funds towards initiatives that directly support business growth and entrepreneurship.

“We commend the government’s commitment to infrastructure development and investment in key economic sectors, such as trade, tourism and agriculture, yet we urge for more targeted policies to foster a conducive environment for private sector growth.”

The director, additionally said they advocate for measures to address challenges such as bureaucratic hurdles and access to finance, which continue to hinder the potential of local businesses.

Mr Hamad argued that the local content empowerment needs to be streamlined in all economic investments, giving opportunity to Zanzibari young men and women to benefit from the inflowing investments.

He said that ZNCC looks forward to engaging constructively with the government, to ensure that the budget brings tangible benefits to Zanzibar business community.

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