Tanzania: Reps Told to Ensure Isles Benefit From Oil, Gas Wealth

LEGISLATORS have been urged to approve laws that ensure the expected 'Oil and natural Gas' wealth benefits all citizens in the Islands of Zanzibar.

The legislators are attending orientation seminars which started after the launch of the 10th House of Representatives two weeks ago.

Lecturer at the Diplomacy College, Dr Salim Hamad was one of the facilitators of the seminar for the law makers, who cautioned that bad laws and inequality in natural wealth, when it becomes a reality, always lead to conflicts in the society.

"You are the law makers and are expected to approve laws and policies regarding use of the natural resources, including the highly expected oil and gas. You have to be careful so that you do not plunge the country into crisis because of the wealth," Dr Salim said.

Before leaving office, retired President Ali Mohamed Shein said that exploration results indicate that Zanzibar areas may have oil and gas, and that verification of data has been going on well.

Similar sentiments have been made by his successor, Dr Hussein Mwinyi. The leaders promised that once drilling starts in the near future, the wealth will benefit all the people in the Islands.

And, one of the facilitators at the legislator's seminar reminded them about risks of conflict over oil and gas if laws and policies are not well written.

"As the oil and gas programme continues, you should find areas that may lead to disputes and avoid them by having workable laws, regulations, and policies regarding drilling and distribution of the wealth," the facilitator said.

Dr Juma Kanuwa- a lecturer also from the Diplomacy College made a presentation of "Economy and Oil and Gas", putting emphasis on having better planning and good management/administration so that Zanzibar's economy can grow smoothly.

Discussing the topic, several legislators commended the facilitator for a timely topic on oil and gas organised by the 'Zanzibar Petroleum Regulatory Authority (ZPRA)', saying "It is better to take precaution to avoid conflicts before drilling starts."

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