The National Assembly yesterday heard that only two out of thirteen Union hitches currently being worked on were resolved in the financial year that ended on June 30, this year.
Tabling budget estimates for the Vice President’s Office for the year 2012/13 in the House yesterday, State Minister charged with Union Affairs Samia Suluhu Hassan said, despite planning to tackle all 13 hitches in the year, it succeeded in only two.
She informed the House that 11 matters which couldn’t be resolved were carried forward, promising that they will be worked on in the current financial year. The decision to carry them forward was reached at two joint committee meetings for resolving Union ambiguities one held on December 20, 2011 and another one on January 17, this year.
According to the minister, the two matters which were resolved successfully are that on review of power tariffs and representation of House of Representative members in the Constituency Development Catalyst Fund (CDCF).
On power tariffs, she said there was a concern from the Zanzibar government that when the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (Ewura) reviewed the tariffs for Tanesco clients in January 2008, it increased prices by only 21.7 per cent, but increased those for Zeco clients by 168 per cent.
Hassan said after discussion, both sides agreed to resolve the matter by reducing power charges for Zeco clients. “As of now, this matter has been removed from the list of Union hitches,” she informed the House.
Another issue, which both sides agreed upon, was that of representation of House of Representative in the CDCF. It was also suggested that special seats members of the House of Representatives be involved.
“This was removed from Union hitches after the government of Zanzibar established its own law to govern the CDCF,” informed the State Minister.
On problems yet to be resolved, Hassan said discussions on a number of them were progressing well. According to her, issues the government hopped will be resolved soon, include representation of Zanzibar in foreign institutions, natural gas and oil, employment of Zanzibaris in the Union government institutions and Zanzibar government shares in the East African Community’s Common Currency Board.
Other hitches yet to be resolved are, amendment to motor machines registration law, pay as you earn (PAYE) tax and accusations that business people from Zanzibar were being charged twice when they land goods on Tanzania Mainland.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Committee on Constitution, Judiciary and Administration accused the government of failure to implement recommendations the committee put forward last year.
Reading the committee’s report, a committee member, Fakharia Khamis Shomar, said: “We need the government to show willingness in resolving these ambiguities,” said the committee in the report.
The committee pointed out that the joint committee for resolving Union hitches faced a number of challenges, including meagre budget and shortage of working equipment.
In her presentation, the State Minister asked the House to approve 52.96bn/- for the Vice President’s Office for the 2012/13 financial year.