24 May 2014

East Africa: Dar Reserved Over Single Tourism Visa

Dodoma — TANZANIA will not join Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda in issuing a single tourism visa until issues related to security and dividend are made clear, Deputy Minister for East African Cooperation, Dr Abdullah Juma Saadalla, told the National Assembly on Thursday evening.

"In this world of terror, we cannot hasten the issuing of the single tourism visa as some bad people could use it as a loophole to conduct terrorist activities in the region under the guise of tourism," he said while winding up the budget speech.

Dr Saadalla added that matters related to dividends and criterions to be used are still not clear yet and the country would lose revenue in the process.

In a related development, the Minister for East African Cooperation, Mr Samuel Sitta said, "Tanzania still has memories of 1977 when the EAC collapsed and we became very weak in the aviation industry, telecommunications and marine sec- tors. We don't want to repeat mistakes," he said.

He pointed out that the so called 'coalition of the willing' was not a threat to the EAC stability, given the fact that things they were implementing in collaboration were the ones affecting their countries and there was nothing wrong in doing so.

"There is nothing wrong if Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya decide to come together and implement projects that benefit their countries, we are also free to collaborate with countries like Burundi and DRC, for example, on the construction of central railway line," he said. He added that when it comes to construction of Musoma-Arusha railway line, Tanzania will definitely entice Uganda and Rwanda.

"We are moving on smoothly and our relations are very good, just recently Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda, represented President Jakaya Kikwete at a regional meeting where Uganda and Kenya were looking for opportunities to supply fuel they have discovered to partner states while we are marketing our gas," he said.

Earlier, while debating the minister's speech, several Members of Parliament (MPs) questioned the so called 'deterioration of relations' between Tanzania and other EAC member states especially Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda.

Mr Sitta responded to the questions stating that the matter was being blown out of proposition by the media, adding that even the term 'coalition of the willing' was the terminology introduced by the media.

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