The second Uganda-Tanzania Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) Ministerial meeting kicks off at Speke Resort Munyonyo from 21 – 23 August 2018.
The JPC is an effective platform for enhancing and consolidating bilateral cooperation frameworks between the two countries.
This comes at a time when Uganda and Tanzania have recently stepped up bilateral cooperation in a number of sectors.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that key bilateral issues for consideration during the visit will include “cooperation in the Transport sector, Power Projects and Uganda-Tanzania cross border trade issues among others.”
It’s understood Uganda wants to discuss with Tanzania how to harmonize charges levied on Ugandan trucks transiting through the central corridor.
Another area of discussion is the One Area Network, which intends to harmonise tariffs on voice calls and reduce roaming charges for calls originating from both countries.
The two countries will as well discuss strengthening bilateral trade through removal of non-tariff barriers.
Tanzania recently denied entry of 600 tonnes of Ugandan sugar (Kakira) into their country and demanded that the importer should pay taxes of 25 percent contrary to the EAC Customs Union protocol.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli warned against sugar being dumped in East Africa and killing the region’s industries and employment opportunities.
He said that regional leaders must tackle the issue of illicit sugar and smuggling.
Uganda has since urged Tanzania authorities to send a team to verify the source of the sugar which they say was smuggled from Kenya.
Tanzania and Uganda will further brainstorm on expanding Port Bell to serve as a transit point of cargo from Tanzania.
Train wagons will be stationed at Port Bell in Luzira to transport cargo by train to Nalukolongo, a city suburb.
Magufuli recently said in order to boost transport on Lake Victoria, Tanzania was hoping to introduce big ships to replace the former MV Victoria ship.
Officials from both countries will further hold talks on fast-tracking the oil pipeline construction project from Hoima to Tanga.
They also will discuss the natural gas pipeline from Tanzania to Uganda to process iron ore for iron.
Uganda has since last year been exploring the possibility of obtaining gas from Tanzania to develop the iron and steel industry.
According to Uganda’s Ambassador to Tanzania, Richard Kabonero, a team of experts was commissioned to conduct research and present a report.
“We have a lot of iron ore in Muko, Kabale which we need for our steel industry,” said Kabonero in a recent interview.
Tanzania has proven natural gas reserves of 57 trillion cubic feet, with at least 49.5 trillion cubic feet of those reserves far offshore in the Indian Ocean.
The East African country now plans to build an onshore liquefied natural gas export terminal at this location in Lindi.
On the other hand, Iron Ore in the form of hematite occurs in Kigezi region, Southwestern Uganda.
Natural gas and heavy oil from Albertine region would process/smelt iron ore to process ore into pure iron and steel products, turning Uganda into a major regional player in the iron ore market.
Domestic demand for steel in the construction industry has been on the rise in recent years.
The 1st Tanzania-Uganda JPC was held on April 3-5, 2017 in Arusha during which the two countries agreed on a number of Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and other cooperation frameworks.
Officials told ChimpReports the function will be an opportunity for both countries to consider establishment of new areas of cooperation.
The JPC Ministerial meeting will be preceded by a Senior Officials Session on Tuesday, August 21 followed by a Permanent Secretaries’ Session on August 22.
A Joint Business Forum being organized in partnership with Trade Mark East Africa will take place on August 22.
It will bring together companies and business people from both Tanzania and Uganda consisting of manufacturers, importers, exporters, clearing agents and transporters to discuss opportunities for trade between the two countries, and identify challenges that need to be resolved.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry said the convening of this 2nd JPC and the Business Forum “affirms the excellent bilateral relations that have always existed between Tanzania and Uganda.”