Large volumes of cargo movements, both exports to and imports from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are currently passing through Kigoma port, but the reported challenges may cause the loss of such economic advantage to Tanzania.
Speaking during the Tanganyika Business Summit held here last week, some of the business people from DRC said they are facing a lot of challenges when transacting their cargo through Kigoma port, of which is causing delays and losses.
Jules Mulya, the President of Tanganyika business community from DRC claimed officials operating at the Kigoma port have bad customer relations and sometimes they use abusive languages to them.
He said there have been number of reports from DCR traders claiming that they are being harassed by port officials at Kigoma port, including throwing their cargo during searching or verification.
“If we are going to experience these challenges, we can therefore thinking of finding an alternative route somewhere. This act also is tarnishing the good image of Tanzania,” he said.
Mulya claimed that apart from abusive languages, there have been cases of bribe soliciting from some of port officials and this may tarnish the image of corporate governance of the port.
“Historically there has been a good relationship between Congo and Tanzania tha;t is why you see the majority of Congolese traders using Kigoma Port as the main entrance for their trade movements,” he explained.
“We need to hour this relationship between ourselves. So, there is no need for us to stop intimidating each other because this will affect our historical brotherhood.”
Claude Kaziri another businessman from DRC mentioned officials of Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) as another barrier when it comes into issuing permit as they are directed to go Dodoma first before crossing the border.
“A good example is transporting wheat flour to DRC where we are being asked for a permit at the Kigoma port. I case you issue a permit; they will always delay to release you until you provide a bribe,” he said.
Kilaumba Kivumo, a another trader said bureaucracy is almost in every stream of TPA and asked the government to work on curbing corruption because it was adding business costs and relationship between two countries.
“There are some young people at the port who are using abusive languages against us and they feel like they own the world. This should be dealt with because we are tax payers and we contribute to the development of this country,” he said during the summit.
Director of Tanzania Trade Authority (Tantrade) Latifa Khamis said there have been meetings conducted to create harmony and common understanding between traders and institutions responsible for facilitating movement of goods between the two countries.
TPA official at Kigoma Port Boniphace Shija said accountability is one of the main drives of the port performances.