The government yesterday said that it has no objection to Zanzibar conducting exploration and extraction of oil in the island.
Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda said that the government was working on the possibilities of allowing Zanzibar to proceed with exploration while working on other legal procedures of whether to remove the item or not from the list of Union matters.
Pinda was responding to a direct question by Konde MP Khatibu Said Haji (CUF) who had wanted to know the stance of the Union government regarding the statement issued by Zanzibar’s Minister of State Mohamed Aboud that oil exploration and extraction will be done by Zanzibar government.
Haji said oil exploration has been one of the main challenges facing the Union and that Zanzibar government has already presented its stand to the Union government in regard to oil exploration and extraction.
Responding, the Prime Minister said personally I don’t see a problem in this …if Zanzibar discovers oil we as Mainlanders are not going to lose anything instead we are going to get oil from nearby at affordable prices,’ Pinda said.
He said the problem was on the constitution and laws. He said the Union government has started working on the matter and it will be taken to the cabinet so as to allow other processes to continue while other procedures of whether or not to remove oil and gas from list of Union matters is addressed.
He further explained that oil discovery has many steps and the first process of exploration was crucial. He admitted that for Zanzibar exploration process was yet to start due to a number of reasons.
“I want this matter to be dealt with by considering the prior process because oil exploration takes up to 8 years. We want to allow the exploration to continue and as we proceed with reviewing our constitution it will be taken into account.”