TANZANIA and the Sultanate of Oman have reaffirmed their determination to strengthen economic ties as official records show that trade between the two states has been dwindling.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Bernard Membe and his Omani counterpart, Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah said during the opening of the first session of 'the Tanzania-Oman joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation'.
The meeting is a result of President Kikwete's visit to Oman last year where he signed three agreements and a Memorandum of Understanding focusing on strengthening economic ties.
Mr Membe called on the two-day meeting to chart out issues of common concern and interest such as housing, water supply, agriculture, livestock, fisheries, transport, infrastructure, health, natural resources, tourism, trade, industry, energy and minerals, education and labour matters.
"The legacy and influence of Omani presence is well traced in both Zanzibar and Tanzania mainland. We share the history, Swahili language and many cultural aspects. Today we are determined to share prosperity and the future," he said.
He pointed out the signing of Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) between the two countries as a success as it has led to the introduction of Oman Air service to Dar es Salaam in 2010. "We are glad to note that the Airline increased the frequency of flights from just a few people per week to daily services.
It is no doubt that we will record in the near future increased contacts between our people," he said. Mr Membe pointed out that there are many potential areas for investment in Tanzania, adding that the country is rich in resources while Oman has technology, capital and expertise.
He added that the two-day meeting would bring businessmen from the two countries in a roundtable to chart out a way forward in improving trade ties and investments. "Tanzania has a very conducive investment regime that is among the best in the region.
Tanzania should be a launch pad for Oman businesses and investment to the South and East Africa markets. Tanzania gives access to the SADC Region and as well as to the East African Community member countries, with a 200 million market population," he said.
He also urged the government of Oman to open its doors and allow Tanzanian good and services to enter into the Omani economy. He named agreements and MoU signed during the tour of President Kikwete last year as Agreement on Investment Promotion and Reciprocal Protection, MoU on Cooperation in the field of Archives and MoU on Establishment of Joint Business Council so as to facilitate and speed up investment and business between the two brotherly countries.
He also named the draft agreements and memoranda yet to be signed as including the Draft MoU on Political Consultations, the Draft Agreement on Higher Education, the Draft Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Fiscal Evasion, The Draft MoU on Maritime Cooperation and the Draft Agreement on labour Matters.
On his part, Mr Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah noted that relations between the two countries should go beyond history. "History is exhausted but the future is there to last. We should focus on future relations. Oman has desire and determination to work together with Tanzania," he said.