ZANZIBAR economy is projected to grow at 6.5 per cent this year from last year’s 5.2 per cent, the House of Representatives was told on Tuesday.
Minister of State, President’s Office, Finance and Planning Dr Saada Mkuya Salum attributed the speedy economic growth to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) soft loan to mitigate the impacts of Covid-19; increased tourist arrivals; improved revenue collections as a result of intensified systems; increased industrial production; and improved commercial activities by small entrepreneurs, among other factors. Moving the Development Plan and 2022/2023 budget outlook in the house, Dr Mkuya said the government intends to further pursue the blue economy, strengthen infrastructure, tourism and social services to wananchi. Under the blue economy, the minister cited construction of the integrated Mangapwani Port, Kibweni Port backup as well as supportive infrastructure and maintenance facility; establishment of seaweed processing factory; and increased seaweed production as the main planned activities.
The government is also determined to strengthen maritime transport and trade, the minister said. Construction of Pemba airport, highways and feeder roads; improved human settlements; and improved digital network services are among the key budgetary targets under infrastructure development.
The minister said the government plans to collect 2,207.2bn/- for recurrent and development expenditures in the 2022/2023 fiscal year, a 19.6 per cent increase from the current budget of 1,845.6bn/-
According to the minister’s proposal, almost half of the envisaged revenues will be directed to development projects.
Minister Mkuya said development projects will consume 1,097bn/-, which is 49.7 per cent of the total budget, with 1,110.2bn/- channeled to recurrent expenditures.
She said the government spending will focus on flagship projects, with the blue economy; transport infrastructure; tourism; and social services as the priority sectors.
The budget outlook also focuses on improved water and electricity supply; improvement of industrial parks; and improved tourism sector.
The minister boasted of declining budget’s donor dependency, saying under the envisaged budget, dependency will drop to 1.6 from the current budget’s 4.3 per cent.
She further explained that fund allocation in the coming fiscal year will be determined by the national priority areas and special government directives, especially on allowance improvement for civil servants in health and education sectors.
New employments and procurement of essential drugs in the country’s hospitals and health facilities also appear high on the coming budget’s priorities.
On the country’s last year economic performance, Dr Mkuya said the service sector was the best performer with 46 per cent contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a great improvement from the previous 35.5 per cent.
The service sector entails accommodation and food services; trade and repairs; transport and warehousing; information and communication; financial institutions and insurance; public administration; education; and health.
Agricultural sector–fishing, livestock, produce and forests–accounted for 26.3 per cent, a decline from 29.5 per cent in the previous year, the minister informed the house, noting that the industrial sector’s–sand mining, construction, electricity, gas and industrial manufacturing–contribution to GDP dropped from 24 to 19.9 per cent over the period under review.