BUSINESS community in Songea District, Ruvuma Region have asked the government to improve infrastructure in the area so that they could be able to engage in economic activities with their counterparts in neighbouring countries.
They said Tanzanian traders have good relationship and trade-link with their fellows from neighbouring country of Mozambique.
The traders said Ruvuma Region needs reliable link with Mozambique so that they easily can engage in economic activities. The region borders with Mozambique and Malawi on Mkenda and Mbababay borders.
One of the maize traders in Songea District, Mr Saimon Swedi said the 124 kilometres road that connect Songea municipal council with Mozambique is impassable during rainy seasons and that the situation affect business operations.
Mr Swedi was speaking during a meeting that was organised by the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (TCCIA) in the region on Monday.
The businessman further revealed that the 240 kilometers road that connects Congress and Lichinga towns on Mozambique side was also inaccessible, hence hampered businesses between the two countries.
"I appeal to the government to consult with its counterparts in Mozambique and make sure the damaged roads are rehabilitated as soon as possible. The road is potential for Ruvuma and the nation at large, “said Mr Swedi.
According to government statistics, Ruvuma has a total of 4,007,746 hectare of land suitable for cereal crops cultivation.
The statistics further show that during 2018/19 agricultural season, the region produced a total of 1, 255,134 tonnes of crops. At least 644,934 tonnes of the produced crops were maize.
For his part, TCCIA's president Paul Koyi called upon the Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS) and other relevant authorities to rehabilitate the road.
He said the improvement of infrastructure would boost business activities between Tanzania and Mozambique.
"We will take this matter into further consideration by consulting the top government leaders in the Ministry of Works, Transport and communication and ensure they act accordingly to address this challenge,” said Mr Koyi.
Referring to the business environment in Ruvuma, Assistant Regional Administrative Secretary (Economics and Production sector) for Ruvuma Mr Deogratius Sibula admitted that the road was affecting business activities between the two countries.
"It is true, we have been receiving complaints from the business community in the region about the poor condition of the road. I would like to assure the public that the government is working on the matter,” said Mr Sibula.
TANROAD's Regional Manager for Ruvuma, Mr Lazeki Alinanuswe assured the public that plans were on pipeline to rehabilitate the damaged road.