By Patricia Kapulula
Tanzania President John Pombe Magufuli has expressed concern over slow implementation of trade agreements between Malawi and Tanzania saying it has impacted trade and investment between the two countries.
He expressed the concern Wednesday at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe when he held bilateral talks with Malawian counterpart President Arthur Peter Mutharika.
Magufuli is on a two-day State visit to Malawi upon invitation by the Malawi leader.
He cited the construction of a One-Stop Border Post at Songwe-Kasumulu border post whose Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed in 2015 as one of the agreements whose implementation has been slow.
He, therefore, called for speedy implementation to facilitate trade between the two countries.
“There is need to redouble our efforts to boost trade. There is need to improve border areas as well as improve efficiency of the border posts in order for us to experience improved trade and investment,” Magufuli said.
He observed that transport and infrastructure are critical to trade and investment hence the need to improve border post efficiency.
In a joint communiqué between the Republic of Malawi and the United Republic of Tanzania issued during the State visit, the two governments have reaffirmed the need to boost trade ties between the two countries.
“To this end, the two leaders agreed to commence the construction of the One-Stop Border Post at Songwe – Kasumulu border post with immediate effect,” reads the communiqué in part.
During the official talks, the two leaders discussed a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues and expressed satisfaction with the cordial relations which exist between the two countries.
They underscored the need to further deepen the cooperation in various areas such as transport, communication, tourism, culture, investment and social affairs.
Magufuli, who arrived in the country through Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe, visited the Parliament Building where he laid a wreath at the statue of the late President Bingu wa Mutharika.
At the conclusion of the bilateral meeting, the two leaders witnessed the signing of two bilateral instruments, namely, the Bilateral Road Transport Agreement and the MOU in Culture, Arts and Sports.
Presidents Magufuli and Mutharika are expected to tour the Lilongwe Auction Floors on Thursday where they will jointly officially open the 2019 Malawi Tobacco Marketing Season.