KAGERA Regional Commissioner, Brigadier General Marco Gaguti has told Kagera residents to use strategic location of the region to boost trade instead of sabotaging the economy through coffee and mineral smuggling.
In his greetings during the Easter Mass held at the national level at Kayanga Catholic Church in Karagwe District of Kagera Region, the regional commissioner said Kagera people needed to work hard to utilise trade opportunities from four countries bordering Kagera Region.
“Kagera Region shares borders with four countries. This is a unique opportunity to move forward economically through integration and doing legal businesses,” he said.
Kagera is located on the western shore of Lake Victoria, bordering Uganda to the north and Rwanda and Burundi to the west. It has access to Kenya through Lake Victoria.
He warned to take appropriate legal measures against those found to be involved in illegal business including smuggling of coffee into a neighbouring country.
“For those who smuggle coffee, minerals or any other produces to neighbouring countries they are to be aware that the government is wide awake,” he said.
Mr Gaguti reminded dwellers in Kagera that all land belongs to Tanzanians who should use it for economic benefits than dishing it out to illegal occupants and those who seek grazing for their cattle.
Tanzania is the fourth coffee- producing country in Africa — after Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire and Uganda — with an annual crop ranging from 46,000 tonnes to 60,000 tonnes.
The Kagera Region alone produces about 12,131 tonnes of coffee annually, a third of which is reported to be illegally sold in Uganda due to unpredictable prices in Tanzania.
Four senior police officers were suspended late last year to pave the way for an investigation into their alleged involvement in a multi-billion-shilling crossborder smuggling network.
A statement issued by the Directorate of Presidential Communication on Monday night named the suspended officers as Kagera Regional Police Commander Augustine Ollomi and the Kyerwa Officer Commanding District (OCD), Justine Joseph.
The other two were Officer Commanding Criminal Investigation Department (OC-CID) for Kyerwa District Everist Kivuyo and Kyerwa Officer Commanding Station (OCS) Robert Marwa.