Zanzibar — Zanzibar seeks help to build new seaport
Zanzibar has started mobilising resources to build a new port at Mpigaduri Bay, on Unguja Island, members of the House of Representatives were informed on Tuesday.
"We are looking for about USD 800 million dollars for the sea port project. Our initial estimates five years ago was USD 400 million dollars," said the Deputy Minister of Communications and Infrastructure, Mr Issa Haji Ussi.
The minister was answering a question from Mr Ismail Jussa Ladhu (Mjimkongwe-CUF) who had wanted to know the status of the project since the government approved it. He said China's CRB Company would construct the seaport at the cost of USD 800 million dollars, "but we are still discussing to lower the costs down to USD 500 million dollars."
Mr Ussi informed the House that the feasibility study was over, and the only challenge was to seek support from development partners. Zanzibar's main seaport at Malindi area is so small and cannot cope with increased activities, leading to congestion as export and import businesses keep going up. The government hopes the new port will attract more investors and boost plans of making Zanzibar a free port.
Rights of disabled people to be respected
Plans are underway to improve and enforce laws that will require all public buildings to accommodate all persons including people with disabilities, the Zanzibar House was told on Tuesday.
Responding to questions from Ms Mwanajuma Faki Mdachi (Women) who decried increasing discrimination of people with disabilities, the Minister of state (responsible for people with disabilities), Ms Fatma Abdulhabib Fareji said, "all people deserve equal rights." The minister admitted that there have been snags in the implementation of the laws of 2006 to safeguard people with disabilities. "We need to improve the laws, and make sure that all pubic buildings are accessible to all people".
The legislators asked the government to make sure that disabled people enjoy rights of access to everyday services, including the right for employment. Ms Fatma said she did not have statistics to show the number of dislabled people who have been employed in the public institutions. "We plan to make a survey."
Science teachers on high demand
THE Ministry of Education and Vocational Training says that shortage of science and mathematics teachers is still a problem in Zanzibar. Deputy minister Ms Zahra Ali Hamad said when responding to questions from legislators that her ministry has started applying workable strategy to curb the shortage.
"In efforts to reduce the problem, last year we employed 197 teachers including science teachers, as we plan to employ 111 more, priority being science and mathematics teachers," Zahra said.
Legislators Mr Jaku Hashim Ayoub (CCM- Muyuni), and Mr Abdallah Juma Abdallah (CUF-Chonga) asked to know government's plans of reducing the burden of shortage of science teachers in the islands. The deputy minister attributed the shortage of science teachers to lack of interest of students to pursue science subjects, and "the few science teachers are not remaining in the profession. Experienced teachers are leaving the profession in greater numbers due to low salaries and job dissatisfaction."
She appealed to parents to encourage their children to love science subjects and also to opt for teaching profession so that Zanzibar may have many science teachers in the near future. She said that the government was doing all what it can to consider more attractive packages and working conditions than are available in the teaching profession to minimize the number of teachers leaving the profession than the teachers entering the profession.
Union matters dominate House
SINCE the beginning of the 2012/2013-budget discussion almost two weeks ago, the issue of dissatisfaction with union between Zanzibar and Tanganyika has dominated the debates with some legislators saying openly that they are not interested in the union.
Both CCM and CUF members such as Mr Salum Nassor Juma (CUF- Wawi), Mr Makame Mshimba Mbarouk (CCM-Kitope), Ms Asha Bakar Makame (CCMWomen), and Ismail Jussa Ladu (CUF- Mjimkongwe) have criticised the union arguing, "it has not been beneficial to Zanzibaris."
Debating the 12.3bn/- budget estimates for the Second Vice- President's Office, the legislators on Monday and Tuesday, said the union was a burden to Zanzibar unless major reforms are made immediately. The Second Vice- President's Office is responsible for union affairs, and Mr Mbarouk threatened to block the budget until the Zanzibar government convinces him that Zanzibar has been benefiting from the union at least "by getting share from the natural gas in the mainland."
"We have been always in endless grievances because authorities in the mainland are not willing and remain reluctant to solve the problems. I urge the Government of National Unity (GNU) to stand for Zanzibaris," Jussa suggests. The legislators also asked Zanzibar government to setup guideline for its people so that they are not confused when giving opinion to the 'Warioba Constitutions Review Commission.'