ZANZIBAR, THE UNION AND OIL

TA 93 described how a row had developed over who is responsible for any oil that might be discovered in Zanzibar – the Union government or the Zanzibar government. The row has continued with the Zanzibar cabinet insisting on Zanzibar’s right to the oil.

In his national budget speech the Finance Minister said that the row over sharing of costs and revenue from oil and gas would come to an end after deliberations on the report, submitted to the Union government on June 30 this year by a British consulting firm, had been considered. The Union government had asked the firm to study how best the two sides of the union could engage in oil and natural gas exploration and how to share costs and revenue so collected. The consultants’ report called for the establishment of a Joint Petroleum Board and the review of the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation’s structure. Zanzibar was not happy.

One day after Prime Minister Pinda had expressed his anger over the anti-Union noises continuing to emanate from the Zanzibar House of Representatives, the Minister of State in the Office of Zanzibar’s Chief Minister’s said that Zanzibar would never work against the Union that had been in existence for 45 years. “Our intention is not to destroy the Union but to defend it for mutual benefit,” the Minister emphasised – Tanzania Daima.

President Kikwete said that since no oil has been discovered in the country, there was no point in arguing about distribution of revenues. “Recently the issues of oil and natural gas and its revenues has shown indications that it could divide the nation despite the fact that it is being worked out according to rules and procedures” he said. There had been hot discussions and sometimes the language used could create an impression that there was a misunderstanding between us. He added that efforts to find oil had been going on for 56 years without any success. 42 wells had been drilled since 1952 and the 43rd one was still being drilled – Guardian.

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