Kampala. Uganda and Tanzania are slated to meet in September to discuss trade barriers affecting the flow of goods and investment between the two countries.
Ugandan traders have on several occasions complained that their products are blocked at Mutukula one stop border point, despite the free trade agreement between East African Community (EAC) member states.
The High Commissioner of Tanzania to Uganda, Mr Aziz Mlima, yesterday said the two governments met last year and resolved some trade barriers that were hindering free and smooth trade.
“Initially, goods from Uganda were going through 21 stops before reaching Tanzania, which have since reduced to three stops. We are going to come up with more ideas on how to solve all the issues affecting our traders from transacting business smoothly,” Mr Mlima said.
Mr Mlima was speaking yesterday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the launch of Uganda-Tanzania Business Forum slated to kick off on September 4 to 5 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The business forum, which will be presided over by President Museveni and Tanzania president John Magufuli, seeks to boost bilateral trade and investment flow between Uganda and Tanzania.
The meeting will also raise awareness about investment and business opportunities, address residual non-terrify barriers that are hindering trade and investment as well as opening dialogue for interaction between the two countries.
Investing in vessels
Mr Richard Kabonero, Uganda’s High Commissioner to Tanzania, said both governments have started investing in vessels that transport goods on Lake Victoria to reduce transportation costs.
“We have already harmonised policies on trade barriers so we are just going to meet in September to discuss how to implement them. The pending challenge is the number of vessels that transport goods from both government,” Mr Kabonero said.
Mr Mlima said currently, there are only two vessels that are transporting goods on Lake Victoria.
He revealed that the two vessels can carry only 24 wagons in 17 hours, something that has caused delays in transportation of goods.
He said the government of Tanzania has finalised plans to purchase another vessel as Uganda renovates hers on Lake Victoria.