Dodoma — THE government plans to construct four fish landing sites near the shores of Lake Tanganyika with the assistance of the Lake Tanganyika Biodiversity Project.
The Minister of State Prime Minister's Office, Investment and Empowerment, Dr Mary Nagu, said this when responding to a basic question by Mr Ramadhani Haji Saleh (Bumbwini - CCM) who asked what efforts the government was making in investing in the marine sector.
"The government is investing a lot in strengthening and rehabilitating infrastructure. For instance, we have rehabilitated 25 fish landing sites on Lake Victoria and built three along the Coastal Zone," she said.
Dr Nagu said that the government had also invested in the construction of fish markets to receive fish from ferries in Dar es Salaam and Kirumba, Mwanza and Kasanga market in Rukwa region.
She explained that there were other efforts to try and lure the private sector into adding value of fish by starting 17 modern industries that process fish as well as other marine products and 84 warehouses.
"The government with the participation of the private sector continues to woo investors in different aspects of the marine sector.
"We have scrapped value added taxes on marine equipment like thread to make fish nets, boat engines and duty to export fish abroad," she explained.
In his supplementary question, Mr Saleh inquired how the government planned to take advantage of the statistics from a recent study that showed that Tanzania has very many varieties of fish in the Indian Ocean.
Dr Nagu responded that it was true that research had found that there were many species and that the government planned to increase investment and security such that Tanzanians get to enjoy more of the fish and that foreign ships are checked.
She said that through private - public partnership initiatives, the government hoped that more ships will be able to reach the deep seas and take advantage of the opportunities there.
Mr Alphaxard Lugola (Mwibara - CCM) asked what the government was doing about increasing the number of sailors since the marine sector wasn't only about fish.
Dr Nagu said that the government hadn't forgotten the importance of having skilled and well trained sailors who will be required to steer ships to deep seas and that the efforts to train more was being done.
CCM Ukonga Member of Parliament, Eugene Mwaiposa in a supplementary question asked why the government allowed the importation of fish from Japan and other countries if the country had large varieties of fish.
Dr Nagu said that it was only right that Tanzanians were able to enjoy a variety of products but was quick to add that it would help the country if people consumed products of their own because of the freshness of the fish and safety because it didn't come from far.