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Tanzania and Uganda record low trade volume: Confirms official

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Trade volumes between Tanzania and Uganda were exceedingly low, a senior Tanzanian government official revealed on Monday.

Ramadhani Mwinyi, Permanent Secretary for Tanzania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, said that as of last year the volume of trade between the two countries amounted to only 98 million U.S. dollars.

“This trade volume is very low compared to our deep rooted bilateral relations. I am sure we will all agree that this is a challenge and we all need to work on it,” Mwinyi said.

Various sectors from the two countries should find out why trade between Tanzania and Uganda was so low, not reflecting the reality of their cooperation and historic ties since the 1960s, Mwinyi said during a three-day bilateral talk being held in the east African nation’s northern tourist town of Arusha.

Nearly 70 officials - 40 of them from Tanzania and the rest from Uganda—were attending the talks of the first session of the Joint Permanent Commission of cooperation set up in 2007 between the two countries.

The Commission was set up in 2007 but has never met ever since with officials playing it down, saying the two countries cooperated through various regional platforms including the East African Community.

Areas of cooperation being discussed include utilities, transport, communication, industry, trade and investment, tourism, fisheries, monetary and fiscal policies, monitoring and surveillance of Lake Victoria.

Others were agricultural modernization, fisheries development and disease control, health sector, education and training and environment and water resources as well as matters pertaining to security.

Mwinyi said the Commission was convened following a directive made by Tanzanian President John Magufuli and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda during the latter’s official visit to Tanzania in February this year.

“The directive indicates that our leaders are committed to re-activating our cooperation in a more meaningful manner. They wanted the Commission to be convened as soon as possible to discuss all areas of cooperation between our countries,” said Mwinyi.

Patrick Mugoya, Permanent Secretary for Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said several agreements will be signed by the two countries at the end of the talks on Wednesday.



Tanzania signs new budget support agreement with EU

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania signed a 245-million-U.S.-dollar budget financing agreement with the European Union (EU) on Monday aimed at supporting strategic development projects in the next four years.

Doto James, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Finance and Planning, said the 2016-2020 grant will effectively start to be implemented in the 2016/17 fiscal budget.

“The grant we have signed today (Monday) is to improve the country’s management in agriculture, industrial development, health and infrastructure,” said James.

Under the agreement, he said, the government of Tanzania will receive 60 million U.S. dollars from the EU as first installment for the 2016/17 fiscal year budget, adding that the remaining funds will be disbursed every fiscal budget.

James said the budget support will play an important role in complementing domestic resources for financing priority expenditures under the five-year development plan phase II.

Tanzania is on a path to rapid industrialization and aims to reach a middle income by 2025. To ensure that this growth is sustainable the government has to guarantee that it optimally captures potential revenues for the national budget.



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