ZANZIBAR Minister of State in the President’s Office and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council, Mr Issa Haji Ussi (pictured), says for the industrialisation drive to succeed, the private sector must be engaged fully.
Speaking to reporters from Tanzania Standard Newspapers (TSN) Limited in an exclusive interview at the weekend, the minister said the major responsibility of the government was to create a favourable environment for the private sector to flourish.
The minister gave his views while commenting on the decision by TSN to prepare and coordinate the Business Forum scheduled to be held in Zanzibar this Friday at the former chamber of the House of Representatives.
TSN is a State owned media company that publishes three newspapers - the Daily News, HabariLeo and SpotiLeo. It also serves the public through a variety of digital platforms. “The government cannot start factories; it can neither build hotels nor actively engage itself in doing business.
That’s the reason why over 90 per cent of the hotels in Zanzibar are dominated by the private sector,” he said. He added Business Forum was a commendable platform for bringing together stakeholders in the business and other sectors of the economy, as it would enable them share knowledge and experience on the existing investment opportunities, including deliberating on other unexplored potential investment avenues.
Focusing on Zanzibar, Mr Ussi said the semi-autonomous State had the potential to expand its economy if all other economic opportunities were fully exploited. “Given the fact that Zanzibar is an island, deliberate efforts should be made to invest in services (service oriented economy), we must strategise on how to benefit from the geographical nature of Zanzibar with the major focus of building the blue economy,” he added.
Blue economy, according to various scholars, entails sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, while preserving the health of marine and coastal ecosystem. Tourism currently represents about 20 per cent of Zanzibar’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which contrasts with cloves, which account for around 45 per cent of GDP.
However, recent data from the Zanzibar Tourism Commission showed that the tourism sector was growing, nearly becoming a leading economic sector in the island, providing direct employment to 11,500 people and an additional 45,000 people engaged in tourism activities. According to the commission, the sector was expected to be Zanzibar’s largest generator of foreign exchange within about a decade.
Meanwhile, Mr Ussi said Tanzanians living abroad (diaspora) were obliged to market the country’s investment opportunities and tourist attractions. The minister was explaining how Tanzanians living abroad could contribute towards building the country’s economy.
“Tanzanians abroad are important to the country; this is the reason why national leaders have been finding opportunities in their busy schedules to speak to Tanzanian diaspora during their visits abroad,” he explained. He said it was unfortunate that some Tanzanian diaspora were bent on inciting violence instead of playing a key role of acting as a bridge between their home countries and foreign nation