Tanzanian Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Isack Kamwelwe, on Tuesday met Rwandan business community, especially traders exporting and importing goods using Tanzanian ports.
He was in Kigali to meet his Rwandan counterpart, Claver Gatete, on the financing of the Isaka-Kigali Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project aimed at reducing logistics costs, boost trade and ease the movement of people.
Accompanied by Tanzania Ports Authority Director General, Eng. Deusdedit Kakoko, Kamwelwe discussed with traders challenges that hinder them from smoothly carrying out their business in Tanzania so they can be addressed.
The discussions came two months after local traders also met Tanzania's Ambassador to Rwanda, Ernest Jumbe, over the same issues.
During the meeting, traders were happy that the cases of criminal activities on Tanzania roads had been resolved.
Other issues raised include delays in cargo inspection, security, corruption, visas and work permit issues in Tanzania and difficulty in following up on the movement of their goods while at the port as well as delays of caution fees.
Emmanuel Gatsinzi, the chief executive of CLOFFIK Ltd, a logistics and freight forwarding company, said he was glad that there are major improvements in customs clearance services at Dar Port.
"We believe that such efforts and initiatives being made by the Government of Tanzania will play a crucial role in reducing the cost of doing business which mainly affects the final consumer. We have been told about different improvements being made to address our challenges and we are looking forward to seeing them come up with solutions," Gatsinzi.
On the issues of delays in transport of goods due to numerous checking points by security organs deployed at different stops on the road to Rwanda, Kakoko told the media that the Government of Tanzania had already stated that there would be a maximum five stoppages.
Kakoko said that the decision was taken after it emerged that some police officers would set up unnecessary road-blocks for corruption purposes.
"These are isolated cases and they call them surprise check-points but we can avoid them. They should be gazetted and made official so we can then take measures against any police officer who tries to do conduct checks on his own," Kakoko said,
Rwandan traders have for long been calling for intervention on issues related to visas and work permits which were too expensive, although visa for doing business in Tanzania was reduced from $2000 to $500.
On the issue of delays in customs clearances due to a big number of traders queuing up at Dar Port, Tanzania is improving the ports supporting Dar Port, to facilitate local traders' access timely services, the visiting officials said.
Officials have also said they will assess traders' wish to access the port so they can follow up on their goods to ensure their security and avoid unnecessary payments to shipping agents
"Since Rwandan traders reported to us issues of security of their goods, we have taken serious measures at the port," Kakoko said.