Stakeholders in Manyara region want plans to establish an economic processing zone (EPZ) at Mererani in Simanjiro district speeded up in an effort to tap the economic potential of the vast region.
They said the project has been on cards for a while and that it was high time the project is given due priority by the regional leaders for the economic well being of the region which has big potentials.
Responding to the requests, the regional commissioner Elaston Mbwilo directed officials of his office to act on the matter immediately and that they should contact the Economic Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) officials.
He added he had been informed title deed for land earmarked for the project was yet to be processed by the ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development in Dar es Salaam.
"I want this matter to be hastened in the shortest time possible so that our region can tap its potentials in tourism, gemstones, livestock and other sectors", he said when he addressed the Regional Consultative Committee (RCC) meeting in Babati recently.
The chairman of the Simanjiro District Council Mr. Peter Tendee said at least 1,000 hectares have been set aside near the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) and the Mererani tanzanite mines for the purpose.
The RC said the region was not benefiting much from the rare gemstones which are not found elsewhere in the world except at the Mererani hills, some 60 kilometres southeast of Arusha.
He added that the mineral has benefited the neighbouring regions such as Arusha and Kilimanjaro where tanzanite miners, dealers, brokers and exporters have invested heavily because of revenue accrued from the rare gem.
Manyara region was formed in 2002 following the split of Arusha region which by then covered nearly 10 per cent of the country's land surface. Currently it has five administrative districts; Babati, Hanang, Kiteto, Mbulu and Simanjiro and six local authorities.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the 50,921 square kilometre region rose to Sh 1.2 billion this year from Sh. 332 million ten years ago.Likewise the per capita income more than doubled from Sh. 319,682 in 2002 to Sh. 879,014 this year.