The Zanzibar government has said that the question of oil and natural gas cannot be removed from the list of union matters before proper legal procedures are followed.
The clarification was given by State Minister in the Second Vice-President's Office Mohammed Aboud Mohammed when responding to a question by Old Stone Town constituency lawmaker Ismail Jusaa Ladhu in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
He said according to the Union constitution, oil and natural gas fall under union matters, adding however that a special committee was formed to look into problems facing the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar.
“We all know that oil exploration falls within Union matters, therefore taking them out of the list would require special legal procedures," said Aboud.
The minister said that former chief minister Shamsi Vuai Nahodha and Second Vice-President Seif Ali Iddi had on several occasions written to the Prime Minister asking that the matter be taken out of the Union list.
He said the move was taken after the Revolutionary Council decided that it would be wise to remove oil and natural gas from the list, a move which was also supported by the House of Representatives.
Minister Aboud said that at a joint meeting between the Zanzibar government and the Union government held on January 28, this year, under the chairmanship of union Vice-President Dr Mohammed Gharib Bilal, the issue was discussed whereby it was decided that a quick solution should be found to handle it.
However, the minister said that through the constitutional review process, the wananchi and members of the House of Representatives would have the opportunity to express their views on problems facing the union.
Earlier, Jussa had wanted to know measures the government had taken in order to remove oil and natural gas from the list of union matters since the House of Representatives had passed a resolution to that effect way back in 2009.