DAR ES SALAAM-- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his Tanzanian counterpart, John Pombe Magufuli have agreed to fast-track the construction of power lines in Kagera.

The two leaders say, progress is being made on the construction of Kikagati/Murongo 10 MW Hydro Power project.

They were meeting during a one day working visit by President Museveni to Tanzania.

The power-sharing and sale agreement between TANESCO, a Tanzanian electricity company and Uganda's UETCL was signed on Sept 18, 2017, while the Power Purchase Agreement between UETCL and KIKAGATI Power Company Limited was signed on Aug 11, 2017. An Implementation Agreement was also signed.

A Memorandum of Understanding on Nangoma Cross-Border Electrification Project was signed in July 2017 in Bukoba and a contractor has been selected.

Work is expected to start in September 2018 and be completed in July 2020.

Museveni lauded the progress saying it will spur development between the two countries.

Museveni said the construction of a railway line from Moshi to Mwanza and the introduction of a wagon ferry from Mwanza to Uganda will reduce transport costs and facilitate trade.

South Sudan peace

Museveni said the signing of a peace agreement by rival factions will usher peace in the region to allow thousands of refugees from the war-torn nation, scattered in various countries, return home and resume normal life.

"We hope that with the UN will extend support regarding food and basic essentials. The refugees could return home by January and take advantage of the rains that start in March in order to grow some food," he said.

Museveni said conflicts in the region have affected trade and retarded development.

He urged airline operators to start direct flights from East Africa to Asia and China to open up markets especially in the tourism industry; saying if the region attracted one million tourists from China, it would be a huge economic boost.

Magufuli said Uganda and Tanzania guard against too much sugar being dumped in the region because the practice is killing local sugar industries and employment opportunities.

He said that regional leaders must tackle the issue of illicit sugar and smuggling.

Tanzania recently stopped the entry of 600 tonnes of Ugandan sugar (Kakira) into the country and demanded that the importer pays a 25% import duty, contrary to the EAC Customs Union protocol.

"Our people met and discussed this. We should decide whether we need to grow our industries or becoming dumping grounds," he said.

Magufuli said that in order to boost transport on Lake Victoria, his government hopes to introduce big ships to replace the defunct MV Victoria ship.

He said Tanzania has procured seven planes and three of them have arrived in the country to ease regional and global air transport.