Dar es Salaam. President John Magufuli and his Zambian counterpart Edgar Lungu yesterday launched the Tanzania and Zambia one stop centre at the Tunduma–Nakonde border post.
The two were positive the move would ease and boost trade between the two countries and beyond as it would cut red tape.
“The one stop centre would facilitate trade as goods will be inspected once given that all authorities will be operating under one roof,” noted President Magufuli.
He said Zambia’s investment to Tanzania jumped from Sh89.2 billion over the last nine years to Sh265.6 billion last year.
He further added that eight companies were set up in Tanzania by investors from Zambia in the last three years.
At the event, Dr Magufuli said, some 312 people were employed by Zambian companies.
He further pointed out that in the past two years, 38 per cent of all cargo attended to by the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) was carried to Zambia.
“This one stop centre will fuel trade between the two countries,” he said, cautioning: “the efficiency of this border post rests on the shoulders of its officials.”
President Lungu, for his part, said the one stop centre would cut down the cross border clearance time to 24 hours from the previous four days.
The centre will bring on board institutions from the two countries to work as one team, something that makes them exchange their experiences, which will improve their day-to-day operations.
Mr Lungu said the facility would simply the transportation of cargo and people from both countries.
He said that 600 vehicles pass through the Tunduma-Nakonde boarder every day.
“The one stop centre will address all key challenges that have been thwarting trade between the two nations,” noted President Lungu.
As it is, he added, it would encourage people to do the cross-border trade.
He said improvement in business environments in both countries was targeting small scale traders, who are majority.
This, according to him, was important as far as small scale businesses were accounting for the lion’s share of businesses in both countries, is concerned.
President Magufuli said the Zambian Head of State requested to purchase 50 tonnes of cashew nuts from Tanzania.
“He wanted to buy 50 tonnes, but I have decided to give him half of them for free, meaning that his country will have to pay for only 25 tonnes,” noted Dr Magufuli.
He clarified that Tanzanians would, on behalf of their neighbour, foot the bill for the 25 tonnes he offered to Mr Lungu.
President Magufuli directed Tanzanian Agriculture minister Japhet Hasunga to ensure that the cashew nuts in question reach in Zambia within a week.
“I want 25 tonnes to be carried to Zambia before next Saturday. You have to select big seeds that will enhance productivity as they (Zambia) embarks on growing cashew nuts,” he directed Mr Hasunga.
Tazama and Tazara
President Magufuli said all was well with the Tanzania Zambia (Tazama) oil pipeline, but there were many challenges with the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara).
He said the efforts by the two governments to make Tazara efficient have proved futile so far but that they have not given up.
Dr Magufuli said after their speeches in yesterday’s event, he would sit with his Zambian counterpart to find out who was impeding the performance of Tazara.
“We will have to fire anyone who seems to be an obstacle to the performance of Tazara,” noted President Magufuli.