Ambassador of Sweden to the country, Katarina Rangnitt said here yesterday that her government is impressed with efforts being taken by President Magufuli’s government towards reducing unnecessary spending and making good use of donor funds by investing in sustainable development.
Rangnitt also paid tribute to TMEA for working with the government in improving the lives of Tanzanians by strengthening the business environment and facilitating trade.
TMEA is has been working with Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) to construct Tunduma One Stop Border Point and is working with border agencies in Tanzania and Zambia to set up mechanisms for integrated border management and harmonization of customs procedures which will reduce waiting times for clearance at the border by 30 percent within 18 months.
“I’m very happy and proud of Tanzania, Sweden has a long time tradition to be a friend and a partner of Tanzania and now we want to increase trade and investment through free trade,” Ambassador Rangnitt said during a visit to the border town.
Expressing appreciation on behalf of TradeMark East Africa, Tanzania Country Director, John Ulanga commended the Swedish government for its development assistance to the not-for-profit institution which is assisting Tanzania improve the investment climate and boost regional trade.
‘’The support being provided by Sweden in supporting trade facilitation in areas of standards harmonization and support to cross-border women traders is vital promoting cross-border trade and reducing poverty in Tanzania,” Ulanga said.
He pointed out that congestion at Tunduma border post which is busiest border in Tanzania in terms of volume of cargo, makes Dar es Salaam Port unattractive to importers in East and Central African countries.
“Transit cargo traffic represents about one third of total cargo handled by Dar es Salaam but this could drop if urgent action to decongest the border town is not taken,” Ulanga warned.
It takes 45 days (to and fro) to deliver goods to Zambia, 15 of which are spent at Tunduma while 80 percent of all transit containers destined to Burundi, DR Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia are charged demurrage valued at US$ 10 million annually by shipping liners for the delay to bring empty containers back to Dar es Salaam Port.
Director-General of TMEA David Stanton noted that TMEA in conjunction with Sweden and other development partners would replicate the success of other one-stop border posts in the region. Stanton added that TMEA would work with the government especially to improve the treatment of women cross-border traders so they can trade without hindrance, and generate greater incomes for their families.
In her speech, Karin Olofsdotter, the Director General for Trade from Sweden said, “Delivery of these trade facilitation projects including the construction of the Tunduma OSBP is expected to promote cross border trade which is vital for the many women cross border traders working in Southern Tanzania. A key outcome of these projects is increased Incomes, creation of jobs and sustained livelihoods for the people of Tanzania.”
The visiting Swedish Director General for Trade who was accompanied by Director General for International Development Cooperation, Johannes Oljelund and 8 other officials, pledged Stockholm’s continued support to Dar es Salaam.
Sweden has also been supporting the country through Financial Sector Deepening Tanzania (FSDT) has supported The National Microfinance Bank (NMB) to develop a mobile banking service that has made it less costly for traders especially women in rural areas to gain access to financial services.