EALA lawmakers impressed by ease of movement on Dar-Dodoma trade route

Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) currently conducting an on-spot assessment of EAC organs, institutions and facilities on the Central Corridor, Thursday said they were impressed by the progress to ease movement from the Tanzanian port city of Dar es Salaam to Dodoma.
A truck carrying goods from Tanzania crosses into Rwanda at Rusumo border. File.
A truck carrying goods from Tanzania crosses into Rwanda at Rusumo border. File.

Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) currently conducting an on-spot assessment of EAC organs, institutions and facilities on the Central Corridor, Thursday said they were impressed by the progress to ease movement from the Tanzanian port city of Dar es Salaam to Dodoma.

The lawmakers who had toured the Vigwaza Weighbridge located 80 kilometers from Dar es Salaam on Wednesday, later paid a courtesy call to the Tanzania Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation in Dodoma, where they addressed a press conference.

“So far, we are very impressed by what is happening on the Central Corridor,” said the head of delegation, Muhia Wanjiku (Kenya).

The Vigwaza weighbridge was constructed in 2014 as part of the one stop inspection station facility in Tanzania to ease movement along the trade route.

The facility is meant to help reduce transit cargo travel time and enhance road safety by providing rest zones for drivers up to 12 hours a day and is among the three similar stations constructed under the East Africa Trade and Transport Facilitation Project (EATTFP).

Previously, there were seven weigh bridges along the central corridor. These were reduced to three after enactment of the EAC Vehicle Axle Load Control Act, 2013 by EALA.

Fatuma Ndangiza (Rwanda) told The New Times that compared to the many issues in the past, she too concurs with her colleagues that things on the route have “really improved.”

Ndangiza said: “There is no doubt that from the distance we have covered so far, the improvement is big. Even the cases of theft at Dar port reduced.

There is great improvement but, of course our wish is that it is sustainable such that people, be it regular travellers or traders, continue to benefit”.

MP Maryam Ussi Yahya (Tanzania) told The New Times that despite the notable improvements “NTBs (non-tariff barriers cannot be eliminated completely” as new ones keep coming up.

According to Ussi, the issue of congestion at Dar port is a particular bother but the good news is that the Tanzanian government plans to revamp the port and make it an issue of the past.

“This issue of course won’t be a permanent one since very soon once construction is finished, say in the next five years, congestion will ease,” she said.

“Drivers at Vigwaza Weighbridge also informed us that even though there was no congestion when we were there, sometimes they see long queues. They want separate lines for passenger buses and heavy trucks and this is something we are going to report too”.

More than 80 percent of Rwanda’s import and export cargo goes through the central corridor.

Lawmakers on Monday begun an onsite assessment of both the Central and the Northern corridors with two teams deployed on each. The team on the Central corridor kick-started it’s tour in Zanzibar while the one up north started in Mombasa, Kenya.

The lawmakers of the newly sworn in fourth Assembly will traverse the region taking notes and will eventually meet up in Kigali on February 24 to compare notes and wrap up their field trip.

From Dodoma, the MPs headed to Kahama through Singida.

They hope to cross into neighbouring Burundi on Friday after touring the Isaka Dry Port facility in Kahama.

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