PRESIDENT John Magufuli and his Uganda's counterpart Yoweri Museveni yesterday identified untapped opportunities that can be explored and help the East African countries to boost their economies.
The two Heads of State made the remarks when they addressed a public rally at Chato International Airport shortly after President Museveni arrived for a one day private visit.
Speaking at the rally in Chato District, Geita Region, President Magufuli identified the opportunities as including the central railway that has been upgraded to ferry Ugandan cargo from Dar es Salaam Port.
Due to poor infrastructure Dar es Salaam and Mwanza over the past ten years, the movement of cargo destined for Kampala has been by road through Mutukula border post.
"We have already revived a cargo ship that can ferry goods from Uganda to Tanzania directly; the aim is to improve efficiency along the central railway line to faascilitate the ferrying of goods across Lake Victoria instead of going by road which is very far," Dr Mgufuli said, adding: "Please pass our message to Ugandan traders that there is an alternative route, by importing or exporting goods through the Northern Corridor that links the port of Mombasa in Kenya to Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.
It is shorter and cheaper, and we have also changed several things for easier movement of goods, including reducing checkpoints,"Dr Magufuli said for building a stronger economy in the East African countries, the new ships and repaired ones in Tanzania will be operating within the region and not only in Mwanza so that traders can do business and increase their incomes.
According to him, the value of trade between Tanzania and Uganda stood at 358 bn/- in 2018 compared to 178 bn/- in 2015.
Uganda is among Tanzania's trading partners, and so far, there are about 22 projects undertaken by Ugandans in Tanzania and invested 142 million US dollars, creating more than 2,230 jobs for Tanzanians.
He said in 2018, a total of 188,591 tonnes of cargo were transported to Uganda via the Dar es Salaam Port.
Another opportunity he mentioned was the construction of an oil pipeline from Hoima in Uganda to Tanga in Tanzania which will create many opportunities, including direct and indirect employment.
He also urged the ministers of energy from both countries to speed up the pending issues for the construction of the pipeline so that it begins as soon as possible.
The execution of the 1,445-km long underground crude oil pipeline from Hoima in Uganda to Tanga in Tanzania will cost approximately 3.5 billion US dollars.
President Magufuli further said another area of cooperation was tourism that can boost the economy of the region.
"Unity is power; there are several tourist destinations in our region on which, if we work together, we will attract many tourists and generate more income, as the number of tourists visiting the East African countries combined does not reach that of Morocco or Egypt; we need to work on this," he noted.
For his part, President Museveni expressed his gratitude to his host for implementing the construction of Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) that would ensure efficient connections to the neighbouring countries.
"I thank Magufuli for constructing SGR that will facilitate the movement of goods and people easily, we are also glad to witness the construction of Chato Airport that means traders and travellers will not depend on Mwanza Port alone," he noted
Mr Museveni, who described his visit to Tanzania as a pilgrimage, said it was crucial to maintain peace in the region as well as work hard instead of depending on government employment opportunities which are not sufficient for the growing population.
Before departure, Mr Museveni pledged to construct seven classrooms at Nyamirezi area, describing the area as his home.