Dar es Salaam — Tanzania and Uganda’s private sector partnership have agreed on four issues that need addressing if local businesses in the two countries are to benefit from the $3.5 billion East African Crude Oil Pipeline (Eacop) from Hoima in Uganda to the port city of Tanga.

In a meeting held on Monday this week, the duo agreed the need for the government of Tanzania to address the bottlenecks ranging from border and work permits, red tape, to creation of a special Fund meant to help local entrepreneurs.

They also agreed that the government might do something to enhance financial institutions so that they could offer quick access to finance with no collateral and interest rate.

The aforementioned recommendations were aired yesterday here during a press conference organised by the Association of Tanzania Oil and Gas Service Providers (ATOGS).

Briefing the media, the ATOGS founder and chairman, Mr Abdulsamad Abdulrahim, said the Uganda government had already addressed works and border permits as well as bureaucracy problems.

He exuded optimism that the government of Tanzania will also walk the talk on addressing the challenges as agreed in the Host Government Agreement (HGA).

Tanzania and Total Oil Company in late October last year signed HGA that will pave the way for the construction of a crude oil pipeline.

“To ensure that Ugandan companies face no red tape here, ATOGS will be a point of contact and will have one stop desk to give them a much-needed support,” said the ATOGS chairman, revealing that more than 20 companies from Uganda have already shown interest to invest in the Tanzanian side.

On the question of access to finance, Mr Abdulrahim said to promote local content, it was high time financial institutions removed bottlenecks when it comes to quick access to finance.

Bottlenecks, he expounded, were trying to stop the local private sector from taking part in the 1,447-ilometre pipeline project.

“Some nations that we will be competing with in bids are ready to issue quick access to finance with nil collateral and interest rate,” he said, calling for a need to emulate them (nations).

To make them stronger and stronger, businesses from the two countries had agreed to form joint ventures to bid for tenders that will be announced.

Mr Abdulrahim revealed that Tanzania and Uganda had each received a $500,000 grant from the African Development Bank (AfDB) meant to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in terms of capacity building.