CIVIL servants in Zanzibar should have all reasons to smile starting April, after President Ali Mohamed Shein announced an increase in minimum wage to 300,000/- from the current 150,000/-.
Dr Shein announced the good news at the Amaan Stadium yesterday when addressing a mammoth crowd at the climax of celebrations to mark the 53rd Anniversary of the Zanzibar Revolution. The new salaries represent an increment of 100 per cent.
“Low income earners will have their salaries increased from 150,000/- to 300,000/- starting April, this year,” Dr Shein announced amid cheers from the crowd at the stadium. Dr Shein, who is also Chairman of the Zanzibar Revolutionary Council, urged public servants to work hard to serve the people and avoid engaging themselves in anti-people practices such as corruption.
“We have taken action against senior officials involved in the misdeeds. Discipline in public offices is now improving,” he declared. Earlier, President Shein revealed an upsurge of revenue collection by 31.1 per cent in Zanzibar to 443bn/- between January and November, last year, from 336bn/- during the same period in the year 2015. “During the period under review, the government of Zanzibar received development assistance from development partners amounting to 53.35bn/-,’’ he stated.
He added that even with increased revenue, the government of Zanzibar continued to control wasteful spending by cutting the number of foreign trips by government officials as well as doing away with unnecessary allowances paid at seminars and workshops.
According to President Shein, the economy in the islands continued to grow at 6.6 per cent while the inflation rate was contained at 5.7 per cent, with per capita income of 1.632m/- (about US 817 dollars).
He was optimistic on increased revenue in Zanzibar, thanks to launching of 51 investments projects worth 497bn/-, launched prior to the climax of the 53rd Revolution celebrations, which are expected to generate 2,658 jobs. Dr Shein said the government would put more efforts in agriculture and manufacturing sectors to reduce the deficit in the balance of trade; industries in Zanzibar contributed 19.8 per cent in the GDP up from 16.8 per cent in the previous year. During the financial year 2015, Zanzibar exported goods and services valued at 91bn/- .
The amount decreased to 45.7bn/- in 2016, he explained. On the other hand, it imported goods and services worth 167.09bn/- in 2016, up from 156.64bn/- in the previous year, representing a sharp balance of trade deficit. Trade between Zanzibar and Tanzania Mainland was in favour of the latter with exports totalling 188.66bn/- while Zanzibar’s exports stood at 63.12bn/-.
The tourism sector, which contributes 25 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Zanzibar, received 332,379 tourists in 2016, up from 294,243 back-packers in 2015, which was an increase of 13 per cent.
President Shein noted with comfort that Zanzibar has opened a new chapter on November 11, 2016, when it enacted a law to guide exploration of oil and natural gas. He noted on the other hand that investment projects have been increasing significantly, including developing the economic free zones of Fumba and Micheweni and improving livestock and fishing (32,000 tonnes of fish catch in 2016 from 31,435 tonnes in 2015).
Dr Shein listed other achi- In his 51-minutes speech, Dr Shein said that following the purchase of modern equipment, Zanzibar Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) TV would be switching to digital from analogue system starting April, also promising to improve the government-owned newspaper ‘Zanzibar Leo’ in terms of production and quality.
He said there has been improvement in marine transport as the government was preparing itself to buy two more ships for cargo and oil transportation as he emphasised on handwork, collective social responsibility and fight against laziness, corruption and moral decay. “We remain committed to bringing changes to our people such as maintaining universal elderly pension, free education and sufficient medicine at all hospitals.
But everyone should support us, in addition to finding ways to overcome challenges, including unemployment and corruption facing the Isles,” Dr Shein said. gIn his introductory part of the live broadcast speech, Dr Shein shared with the audience a message from his union government counterpart President John Magufuli who was absent at the celebrations, saying “Dr Magufuli is wishing us good celebrations and while in Shinyanga, he will also talk about importance of revolution Day to our country.
” Dr Shein praised Union President Dr Magufuli for working closely with Zanzibar, stating that preserving the revolution meant protecting the Union between Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar as well.
“I will work closely with President Magufuli to uphold the Union between the two parties; we will work on all areas including even those which are not union matters for the benefits of our people,” Dr Shein remarked.
At the historic Amaan Stadium yesterday, it was a day of pomp and fanfare as security agencies, civil servants, young pioneers and school children smartly dressed in ceremonial clothes and uniforms mounted a parade to provide a fitting climax to the two-week long 53rd Revolution Day celebrations.