Inside Tanzania, Uganda deals sealed in Samia’s state visit

President Samia Suluhu Hassan is briefed by Roofings Group chairman and executive director Sikander Lalani on operations at the firm’s factory in Kampala yesterday. The firm manufactures steel products, including roofing sheets and pipes. PHOTO | STATE HOUSE

Summary

The two leaders also witnessed signing of two memorandums of understanding (MoUs) on the field of Development of the 400KV Masaka-Mutukula-Kyaka-Nyakanazi-Mwanza electricity transmission line, and another on Defence and Security

Kampala. Tanzania has agreed to cut a road toll by about 71 percent on the Uganda-bound cargo trucks as part of the consensus reached during the meeting of leaders of the two countries.

From mid-last year, Tanzania government charged $500 on Ugandan cargo trucks as fees collected for road repairs and maintenance.

Kampala immediately protested and filed a complaint with the East African Community (EAC) Council of Ministers accusing Dodoma of breaching the Common Market Protocol by imposing different road user charges to partner states in the same trading bloc. The Common Market is one of the pillars of the seven member regional bloc.

However, starting next financial year, which kicks-off this July, Tanzania will charge $10 per 100km on the cargo trucks plying the 1,485km Mutukula-Dar es Salaam route.

The $10 translates into about $144 for the distance, down from the $500.

While Dodoma had increased the levy on Uganda-bound cargo trucks, it maintained that of $152 charged on Rwanda-bound cargo trucks. Tanzania serves as gateway to the sea to its landlocked neighbours Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Malawi, mainly through the Dar es Salaam port.

The anticipated $144 levy, according to diplomatic sources, is the flat rate across the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) regional bloc. Comesa is a 21-member free trade area stretching from Tunisia in North Africa to Eswatini in Southern Africa.

Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan arrived in Uganda on Tuesday for a two-day visit that saw holding bilateral exchanges with her host President Yoweri Museveni.

Tanzania, according to a joint communique issued by the presidency, also made U-turn on its 2019 ban on sugar imports from Uganda. The move will plug Tanzania’s 10,000 tonnes production gap.

The two principals further directed their relevant ministers to meet and thrash out details of removing outstanding non-tariff barriers to allow the smooth flow of trade between the two countries.

The two states enjoy warm and cordial historical bilateral relations dating back to the 1960s, and recent Bank of Uganda statistics showed that the latter was Uganda’s biggest source of imports in the region valued at $149 million overtaking Kenya which hauled in a paltry $71 million.

The two leaders also witnessed signing of two memorandums of understanding (MoUs) on the field of Development of the 400KV Masaka-Mutukula-Kyaka-Nyakanazi-Mwanza electricity transmission line, and another on Defence and Security Cooperation.

Last week, the two governments inked a separate MoU to provide security to the proposed 1,443km East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) that will transport Uganda’s crude oil from the oil fields in mid-western Uganda to the international market via Tanzania’s Indian Ocean Tanga Port.

“We’re satisfied with the political stability that our country enjoy and discussed peace and security so that the entire East Africa continues to be stable,” said President Hassan.

President Museveni, who was in Tanzania last November for a three-day state visit, thanked his counterpart for reciprocating. “You are most welcome to Uganda. We are very happy to receive President Suluhu here and she has come with a very powerful delegation.”


Buying Uganda’s ARVs

In another development, Tanzania will start importing the anti-retroviral (ARVs) drugs from Uganda in the fight against HIV-Aids.

President Hassan, during day one of her visit to Uganda, agreed with President Museveni that Uganda would supply her country with the drugs.

An agreement for the collaboration on the development of vaccines was also signed during the trip.

According to the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) report there are 1.7 million people living with HIV in Tanzania as of 2019.

HIV prevalence in Tanzania has steadily declined over the past decades from 7 percent in 2003 to 4.6 percent in 2018 in adults 15 -49 years.

Tanzania’s goal is to reach HIV epidemic control by 2030, with 95 percent of people living with the disease aware of their HIV status, 95 percent of those testing positive placed on continuous HIV treatment, and 95 percent of those on treatment reaching viral suppression.