Curb crime on trade route
Posted Wednesday, February 20 2013 at 02:00
As more Ugandan traders gear up for transacting business through the Southern trade route, the responsible Tanzanian and Ugandan authorities will need to work closely to guard against the dangers on this route.
Uganda has recently taken positive strides in signing sea access deals with the government of Tanzania. The move to sign the Southern trade route is likely to have been fuelled by the need to cushion the country against the eventualities of Kenya’s upcoming elections on March 4.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Finance confirmed plans to revive the use of the southern sea access trade route through Tanzania to reduce the vulnerabilities that Uganda faces while transporting goods from Kenya’s Mombasa Port into the country.
Finance minister Maria Kiwanuka said the Uganda and Tanzania governments had endorsed a sea access trade deal, adding that the line agencies of the respective countries were in advanced stages to implement it.
Whichever way we look at this issue, it is in Uganda’s best interests to have an efficient alternative sea access route. But if the recent reports of consignment theft at the Dar es Salaam port are anything to go by, it is vital for us to demand unreserved assurances from the Tanzanian authorities about their ability to arrest this situation and guard against related recurrences.
Prominent among the cases is the investigation into the theft of tantalite-minerals worth $10 million belonging to a Rwandan company. The Police has since arrested senior officers at the Tanzania Ports Authority, Tanzania Revenue Authority and the Tanzania Intelligence and Security services, among others in an investigation that seeks to establish how a consignment worth $10 million was stolen in transit from Dar es Salaam port and sent to three privately owned inland container depots.
According to Tanzania’s Transport Minister, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, the privately owned Inland container depot that the government created to ease congestion at the port was now being used to steal transit cargo.
It is good to know that the Tanzanian government is moving fast to get to the bottom of this matter. That said, as more Ugandan traders gear up for transacting business through the Southern trade route, the responsible Tanzanian and Ugandan authorities will need to work closely to guard against the dangers on this route.