VICE-President Samia Suluhu Hassan has asked owners of industries to give priority to local citizens living with disabilities in their workforce recruitment as the country gears for industrial development.
Making the appeal in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the Vice-President said Tanzania is now heading to the industrialisation height, and that it would be unrealistic if people living with disabilities are locked out.
"I call upon owners of industries to ensure that they don't segregate people living with disabilities so that the industrial economy becomes inclusive," she stressed, while in an official event in the city to award people living with disabilities, who have prospered in different fields.
The awards dubbed 'I Can' were founded by 'Dr Reginald Mengi People with Disabilities Foundation.' Equally, the government has been making efforts to recruit the group in its various entities without segregation.
She further reiterated that if people living with disabilities are empowered equally, they can as well demonstrate their capabilities.
"It's our noble duty to put in place an enabling environment to make the latter live safely and participate in building the economy," she pointed out.
In another development, the Vice-President hinted that in this financial year, the government plans to recruit at least 500 teachers as specialists in inclusive education in order to empower pupils and students living with disabilities to realise their academic dreams.
She also appealed to the local financial institutions especially banks with government's ownership shares to think of introducing special windows, which provide loans to the group, adding that the move would help in reducing the number of jobless people living with disabilities in the country.
During the occasion, the Vice-President encouraged the group to organise themselves in clusters and jointly establish small industries, which can support the industrial drive.
On her part, the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office responsible for people living with disabilities, Ms Stella Ikupa stated that there was essence to deploy Sign Language Experts particularly in houses of worship to help deaf people follow prayers.
"In this, we are working together with Tanzania Association of the Deaf (Chavita) in order to ensure that we have enough sign language interpreters," she pointed out.
"This also goes to the courts, where the government also wants to increase use of sign language to the group," she added. Commenting, IPP Media Ltd Chairman Dr Reginald Mengi said all citizens are the same and therefore, the group also deserves love without isolation in the society.
"To give love is to treat disabilities... it should be real love not just words... people living with disabilities have a challenge of being poor, they need to be helped," he said. Over 15 successful people with disabilities received the awards in terms of cash and trophy.
There were different categories, including those who were successful in the education sector, entrepreneurship, agriculture, politics and others.
Chairperson of the Tanzania Federation of Disabled People's Organisations (SHIVY AWATA), Ms Ummy Nderiananga, said the umbrella body will continue to have trust on the government's efforts towards empowering them.
"To an ordinary person, this can appear a normal thing, but to us it is a big thing," she said.