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Addressing Zanzibar’s Escalating Commodity Prices Crisis

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By: Ebenezer Mensah
Addressing Zanzibar’s Escalating Commodity Prices Crisis

President Hussein Ali Mwinyi of Zanzibar has voiced concerns over rising prices of essential commodities, particularly sugar. Despite the absence of any significant changes in taxation, the prices have been on a steady increase, causing financial strain on consumers. This situation has raised questions about the rationale behind these hikes.

Responding to the public outcry over inflated sugar prices and other essential commodities, President Mwinyi convened a meeting with major business stakeholders. He urged the authorities, importers, and traders to reduce food prices, especially sugar, and emphasized that the government would not tolerate arbitrary price hikes. To prevent potential shortages, the President also appealed to importers and traders to place their orders in a timely manner.

Addressing Complaints Over Privatization of Malindi Port Cargo Terminal

President Mwinyi acknowledged the complaints about tariffs following the privatization of the Malindi port cargo terminal. He directed Zanzibar Ports Corporation to collaborate with the new management to tackle the challenges arising from these changes.

The Minister for Trade and Industrial Development attributed the sugar price hike to vandalism of sugarcane plantations and instability in the global market. He urged the public to refrain from setting fires near sugarcane plantations. The unstable global prices and reduced exports from major sugar producers have also contributed to the inflation in countries like Zanzibar.

Government’s Support for Local Sugar Production

Despite the challenges, the Zanzibar government remains committed to supporting the Mahonda Sugar Factory to boost its production. The factory’s output is currently below 10,000 tonnes, a stark contrast to Zanzibar’s monthly consumption of approximately 30,000 tonnes. This discrepancy has led to a reliance on imported sugar, which the government aims to reduce by enhancing local production.

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