PRESIDENT John Magufuli has welcomed the opening of a new chapter for trade relations between Tanzania and Malawi.
He made the remarks at a state reception for Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera, who arrived in the country yesterday morning for a three-day state visit to boost bilateral ties between the two neighbouring countries.
President Magufuli received his guest at Mwalimu Julius Nyerere International Airport in the commercial city of Dar es Salaam, before the two leaders addressed the nation from the State House.
Dr Magufuli was optimistic over a brighter future, particularly rising trade volume between the two nations following successful talks on a number of issues meant to facilitate trade flow between Dar es Salaam and Lilongwe.
Among other trade facilitations, Dr Magufuli said they have agreed to establish One-Stop-Border Post to allow ease movement of people, goods and services between the two nations.
"We want the relationship between Malawi and Tanzania to become more commercial, and with this Malawian President's visit, I believe we'll move very fast," he assured before delegations from both countries at the Magogoni State House.
Since Malawi uses Tanzania's ports to export and import, President Magufuli directed the Works and Transport Ministry to ensure that the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) opens its office in Lilongwe, Malawi, so that Malawian importers and exporters are not forced to come to Dar es Salaam for doing necessary documentation work to facilitate transportation of their cargos.
On the other hand, Dr Magufuli told President Chakwera about the government's plans to improve transport infrastructures, including roads, railways, air transport and water transport that would also facilitate transport of goods and services between the two countries.
Statistics indicate that the amount of Malawi's cargo passing through Tanzania's ports has increased from 107,000 tonnes in 2015 to 367,000 in 2019.
The trade volume between Tanzania and Malawi has been in upward trend in the past five years, whereby in 2015 the trade volume stood at 60 million US dollars and the figure went up to 80 million US dollars in 2019.
During his three-day state visit, which started yesterday, President Chakwera will be engaged in various official activities, including laying a foundation stone for construction of an upcountry bus stand at Mbezi Mwisho in Dar es Salaam.
President Chakwera said his delegation felt at home upon arriving in Tanzania yesterday.
He revealed that they discussed several issues with President Magufuli that would develop their countries and their people.
"In fact, we have a lot of resources that God has given us; we want Tanzanian traders and their counterparts in Malawi to be able to cooperate," adding: "President Magufuli has told me that Malawi should not group itself into landlocked countries because it is near to the Indian Ocean through the Dar es Salaam and Mtwara Ports, so it' just a matter of how to reach these ports in transporting cargo."
He said now the two countries consider having a joint commission to work on agreements that would facilitate movement of people, goods and services.
"We also want to facilitate transport of goods at borders. We can have the One-Stop-Border post as Tanzania has done with Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya in order to ease the environment of doing business," he explained.
President Chakwera was upbeat that, in the future, there would be many Tanzanian traders who would be cooperating with Malawian traders.