President of Uganda, H. E Yoweri Museveni and president of Tanzania, H.E John Magufuli addressed a joint Press Conference shortly after a closed door meeting at State House in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
President Museveni said the recent signing of the peace agreement between rival factions in South Sudan will ensure that peace prevails in the region and that refugees return home and embark on their normal lives.
“We hope that with the UN support in regards to food and basic essentials, the refuges could return home by January and take advantage of the rains that start in March in order to grow some food,” he said.
Museveni noted that, he briefed his counterpart about the recent signing of the peace agreement in South Sudan and the situation in Burundi about refugees, adding that continued conflict has affected trade and retarded development.
President Museveni who is also the current Chairman of the East African Community (EAC) said he requested for the meeting with President Magufuli to brief him about the outcome of the recently concluded BRICS Summit in South Africa during which he made a case for the BRICS countries to invest in the EAC which provides high returns on their investments, higher than Europe, Latin America and Asia.
The President stated that “Investment in infrastructure development is key especially in roads, railway and electricity. The Chinese have already helped us construct two hydro power dams in Karuma which is 600MW and Isimba 183MW.
President Museveni further stated that there is need for steel and cement which have a high demand in the construction industry,” he said.
The President also made a case for direct flights from East Africa to Asia and China saying they would open up markets especially in tourism industry citing that if the EAC brought in one million tourists from China, it would be a huge boost.
President Yoweri Museveni further called for the fast-tracking of the power lines in Kagera saying progress is being madeon the Kikagati/Murongo10 MW Hydro Power project. Reports indicate that the power sharing and sales agreement between TANESCO and UETCL was signedon September 18, 2017. The Power Purchase Agreement between UETCL and KIKAGATI power company limited was signedon August 11, 2017, as well as an Implementation Agreement with government.
Information available also indicates that an MOU on Nangoma cross-border electrification project was signedin July 2017 in Bukoba and a contractor has been selectedandworks are expected to commence in September 2018 and be completedin July 2020.
The President also noted that he was happy that the railway line from Moshi to Mwanza was in the pipeline and a wagon ferry from Mwanza to Uganda would bring down transport costs and facilitate trade.
President John Pompe Magufuli on his part stated that said he was happy to host President Yoweri Museveni to Tanzania anytime describing the relationship between Uganda and Tanzania as very strong.
President Magufuli pointed out that in their meeting the Leaders had they discussed about fast-tracking the oil pipeline construction project from Hoima to Tanga, the refugee situation in Burundi and Tanzania adding that many refuges are now returning to their homes. He commended President Museveni who is the lead facilitator on the situation in Burundi and a guarantor of the South Sudan Peace Process.
President Magufuli said they also discussed the issue of sugar trade in the region saying they should guard against too much sugar being damped in the region and killing the region’s industries and employment opportunities. He said that regional leaders must tackle the issue of illicit sugar and smuggling.
Tanzania recently denied entry of 600 tonnes of Ugandan sugar (Kakira) into their country and demanded that the importer should pay taxes of 25% contrary to the EAC Customs Union protocol.
“Our people met and discussed this. We should decide whether we need to grow our industries or becoming dumping grounds,” he said.
In July 2018, a Ugandan delegation led by Hon. GumeNgobi Fredrick, Minister of State Trade Industry and Cooperatives, held a meeting in Mutukula with a Tanzanian delegation led by Hon. Charles Mwijage, Minister of Industries, Trade and Investment and attended byHon. Charles Tizebwa, Minister of Agriculture to discuss the issue.
President Magufuli also said in order to boost transport on Lake Victoria, Tanzania is hoping to introduce big ships to replace the former MV Victoria ship. He said Tanzania has already procured seven planes and three of them have already arrived in the country to ease regional transport.
The two leaders also discussed the upcoming 2ndJoint Permanent Commission (JPC) with Tanzania which will be hosted by Uganda from August 21-23, 2018 in Kampala, to review the implementationof decisions agreed upon in various sectors.
President Museveni who is in Dar es Salaam for a one day working visit is accompanied by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Hon. Amelia Ann Kyambadde.