Tanzania will construct a dry port in Mwanza and repair the MV Umoja ferry on Lake Victoria to boost trade in the region.
Infrastructure development was a key item in bilateral discussions Saturday between visiting Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Tanzania’s John Magufuli.
At a joint news conference in Dar es Salaam, Magufuli said when the dry port is completed, there will be no need for Ugandan traders travelling to Tanzania’s major port on the coast, situated over 1,000 kilometers away from Kampala.
“At the same time my government will repair MV Umoja in Lake Victoria to ease cargo transportation between Mwanza and Uganda,” Magufuli said. The two countries onlso agreed to rehabilitate an 11-km road stretch from Port Bell on the shores of Lake Victoria to Kampala.
TThe two leaders ordered for immediate pipeline construction take-off of the 1,403-km pipeline to transport crude oil from Hoima in Uganda to Tanga in Tanzania.
They said any minor issues will be resolved while construction activities were on progress.
Other areas discussed during the visit included the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The two leaders urged the experts to continue studying the matter and would advise the principals who are also consulting further.
On Joint Electricity/Power projects, the two countries revealed they are exploring the following shared electricity initiatives; Kikagati-Murungo, Nishongyezi-Nsongeza and Masaka-Mwanza projects.
Ministers of foreign affairs concluded the talks by signing a memorandum of understanding on political and diplomatic consultations between Tanzania and Uganda
Museveni hails Bakhresa Group for economic integration
On the final day of his visit, Museveni visited factories of the Bakhresa Group of Companies in Dar es Salaam.
Museveni was impressed by the value addition the group adds to Tanzanian produce.
“A group like Bakhresa is good because it’s integrating at various levels. It is helping save foreign exchange for Tanzania but also earning foreign exchange because it’s exporting,” he said.
“I welcome Bakhresa to Uganda. They already have a presence through a TV station and are setting up a grain milling factory in Bweyogerere. They can also diversify into juice processing.”
Museveni criticized Uganda’s businesses that focus only on importing items.
“It is doing both import substitution and export promotion. They would form what we call the national bourgeoise, different from the comprador bourgeoise who import from outside.
“The comprador bourgeoise are those who turn our country into a supermarket. I have a lot of those in Uganda. Good enough we recently had a conference and the traders confessed their ‘sins’.”
He revealed that Uganda produces a lot of maize and exportst about 3 million tonnes to the region but in grain form, thereby losing money and bi-products like animal feed.
Owned by the Bakhresa Family, the group is involved in food and beverages production, transportation, energy, sports, entertainment, hospitality and real estate development.
Museveni returned to Kampala on Sunday afternoon.