Monday, March 26, 2012

Tanzania faces shortage of engineers

THE Registrar of National Engineers Registration Board (ERB) Engineer Steven Mlote has said that, Tanzania is still faced with a large number of shortage of qualified engineers of every discipline in the country. He said last week in Dar es Salaam that, various engineering colleges and higher learning engineering institutions accredited in the country produces only 1,500 engineering graduates annually against the required number of 7,500 engineers from every disciplines who are required to be produced annually. He further noted that, currently statistics shows that the country faces the shortage of 44,000 engineers as at present there are only 11,000 registered engineers, while the actual demand is 55,000 engineers. He told journalists in a meeting as a Chairperson and a convener of the Sait Joseph University in Tanzania (SJUIT) when he met them during the occasion of launching the scholarship scheme and how the SJUIT has put down its strategies to help the needy people. He said SJUIT has offered full scholarships which will be introduced to students pursuing diploma programs, and this is in a bid to motivate youths pursuing different programs in engineering studies. He said the scholarship scheme will help to meet the demand of skilled workforce in the field of engineering.“In an effort to address the shortage of engineers and technicians in the country, SJUIT has introduced full scholarships to first three secondary students in every region who completed ordinary level (Form four examinations) with effect from last year, and were not lucy to be selected for Advanced secondary education, then were liable to apply for the scheme in order to enable them to pursue a diploma program at the university” he said. Additionally, other beneficiaries of this scholarship grant would be those students in every school who scored the top position and those would be offered partial tuition fee, while the institution will offer free accommodation facilities such as hostels to female students who will join the university in an effort to increase the number of female students taking science subjects. According to Engineer Mlote, diploma programs to be converted includes Civil Engineering, Mechanical engineering, Electrical engineering, Electronics engineering, Electronics and Communication engineering and computer science and engineering. Any student joining a diploma course can pursue a corresponding degree at a later stage by joining laterally in the second year of the program. The SJUIT Council President Dr. Thompson Ananth said during the occasion that, his university was committed to the development of youths in this nation and their efforts to promote science and technology in the country. He stressed that, the demand for skilled workforce was increasingly becoming crucial in the country taking into account that it is one of the fastest developing sectors in the country.

The Minister upholds BoC initiative program for poor people

THE Minister for Community Development Ms. Sofia Simba has congratulated Barclays-Plan-CARE joint initiative program known as Banking on Change (BoC) that is aimed at penetrating financial services to poor people in Tanzania. The Minister gave the call last week in Dar es Salaam at a cork party organized by the Barclays Bank to celebrate the successes of the Banking on Change (BoC) initiative, saying that the program has brought significant improvement of the lives of the people in six urban districts in the country. BoC initiative has been implemented in Mwanza urban, Dar es Salaam urban, Geita, Kibaha, Kisarawe and Ifakara districts respectively being pilot projects since its inception in 2009. It has been going on for almost three years and aims to improve the quality of life of poor people by extending and developing access to financial services. Indeed it has brought together expertise, financial resources and independent interests for the common good. The Managing Director of the Barclays Bank Tanzania branch, Maina Kihara noted during the occasion that, “BoC initiative is an example of a PPP that is working and truly making a difference in households in Tanzania. The initiative according to him, seeks to address the concerns of financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and job creation so that people at grassroots level are learning to save, lend to one another and develop the discipline needed to be able to transition into the formal economy. According to him, the penetration of financial services in Tanzania has been limited mostly to the urban areas. And even in the urban areas, the percentage of the population accessing any form of formal financial system is wanting. Explaining into details essence of the program, he recalled the last study published by Financial Sector Deepening Trust (FSDT) in 2009, and the picture may have improved slightly today with the increased number of players in the financial system.
THE Minister for Community Development Ms. Sofia Simba He says the percentage of the bankable population accessing formal financial services is smaGll. Coupled with that, however he noted that, Financial illiteracy, lack of physical presence of financial institutions are amongst the barriers that have been listed to explain this state of affairs. Banking on Change, focuses on savings-led finance whereby savings groups known as Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) are established. Through training and support from the implementing partner, Plan, the members of the groups learn not only how to save but also how to lend to one another. The groups select their own leaders, determine their own rules, structure and interest rates. The group members keep each other in check – hence they are self-moderating and self-selection groups which has meant that the rates of default among the members of any one group is low. After two years, the VSLAs graduate and aggregate to form Input Marketing Associations (IMAs) for the purpose of strengthening their groups and accessing additional resources. The IMAs are structured, registered at the district level hence recognised by local government. Currently the bank has more than 1,800 VSLAs and over 60 IMAs operating. Maina noted that, the bank's target in Tanzania is to form 2,400 VSLAs and reach a minimum of 60,000 households.

Despite high business competition, ACB maintains its customers

AKIBA Commercial Bank (ACB) has reinterated its needs to continue maintaining its customers despite of various challenges facing the banking sector in the country. The Bank's Head of Marketing and Communications Ms. Mary Mbelle said in an interview early this week that, “the bank has provided its customers with excellent service in order to retain them”. She said due to recent increased number of banks in the country, the trade competition has become more stiffer, therefore in view of this, ACB undertakes to expand the bank’s range of products and delivery channels with use of technology to reduce transaction costs for both the customer and the bank. Despite of current stiff competition, the bank competes with the rest of the banks and it still covers a larger market share for talent and skills in the country. When asked about the last quarter performance for the year ending 2011, she said ACB has made a profit of Tsh. 956 million. Loans and deposits exceeded expectations and reached Tsh. 86 million. She further noted that, loan volume reached to Tsh. 64 billion within the trading period, the bulk of which was provided to very Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Apart from usual facilities, others were to individual and corporate customers.
Tegeta Branch Signage, One of the Akiba branch office in Tegeta on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam city. The bank's General Manager Finance, Lefani Yakobe commented that, the success story was achieved even though there was high and increasing inflation, increase in cost of funds influenced by rates of the government paper, intermittent power supply and exchange rate fluctuation of local currency against major trading currencies. According to him, the success of this story was achieved even though there was high and increasing inflation, the increase in cost of funds was influenced by the rates of the government paper. However, he said and added that, the bank's profits which generated during 2011 trading period shall be re-invested in business in order to fund the bank's expansion activities as per the bank's business plans which is in line with the on-going product development initiatives. The year 2012 is a brighter future with promising potentials for the bank's growth. The bank expects to see Mwanza branch is in operation and most of the already newly established branch offices for the bank begins to profitably contribute to the business. In terms of the engagement on social and corporate responsibilities, the bank has put in place a policy that focus the needy people such as charity groups and special schools for physically challenged children, community development initiatives and people affected by natural tragedies. In line with corporate responsibilities, ACB ensures that it takes concrete steps to protect their clients from potentially harmful financial products and ensure that they are treated fairly through appropriate policies and practices.

Japan donation to Tanzania extends to Tsh. 18 billion

TANZANIA government has benefited US Dollar 6.1 million (Tsh. 18 billion) worth of projects as donation from the government of Japan for the last five years since 2007 up to December 2011. The money which had been issued through Grant assistance scheme for Grass root Human Security Project (GGHSP) promoted various development projects in sectors of health, education, water supply and in other social and economic activities for the people's welfare. The Japanese Ambassador accredited into the country, Masaki Okada said early this week in Dar es Salaam that, “his government will continue to issue such a grant assistance to Tanzania wherever need arises”. However, he said adding that, “a total of 71 projects had been executed through this grant assistance on behalf of his government within the said period, and that each grant project had a value of an average of approximately US Dollar 83,000 (Tsh. 12.4 million). He said that, half of the total money spent within the period went to education sector, whereby construction and rehabilitation work of government's school's dormitories, classrooms and laboratories and many others was done. The Japanese government has been a major donor funding country to Tanzania through GGHSP scheme which has been offering a financial assistance scheme for various social and economic development projects which are designed to meet the diverse needs of the people. The Japanese funding scheme supports community participatory projects proposed by the needy organizations such as Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Local government Authorities, Community based Organizations and Government hospitals in the country in the manner that the ownership and reliable planning of applicants are highly respected for the implementation of the projects. The GGHSP has acquired an excellent reputation for providing flexible and timely support to development projects at a grassroots’ level as the scheme has a direct impact on the well being of the people in the community.

Swahili language and its original culture

The Swahili language is basically of Bantu (African) origin. It has borrowed words from other languages such as Arabic probably as a result of the Swahili people using the Quran written in Arabic for spiritual guidance as Muslims. The Islam practiced by Swahili peoples is often very strict. Most of the requirements of the religion are practiced by most of the people. The economic success of the Swahili throughout the coastal region has encouraged many of their inland neighbors to adopt Islam as well. As regards the formation of the Swahili culture and language, some scholars attribute these phenomena to the intercourse of African and Asiatic people on the coast of East Africa. The word "Swahili" was used by early Arab visitors to the coast and it means "residents of the coast". Ultimately it came to be applied to the people and the language. Regarding the history of the Swahili language, the older view linked to the colonial time asserts that the Swahili language originates from Arabs and Persians who moved to the East African coast. Given the fact that only the vocabulary can be associated with these groups but the syntax or grammar of the language is Bantu, this argument has been almost forgotten. It is well known that any language that has to grow and expand its territories ought to absorb some vocabulary from other languages in its way. According to the earliest known document recounting the past situation on the East African coast written in the 2nd century AD in Greek language by anonymous author at Alexandria in Egypt called the Periplus of Erythrean Sea, suggested that Swahili is an old language. The document clarified that merchants visiting the East African coast at that time from Southern Arabia, used to speak with the natives in their local language and they inter-married with them. Those who suggested that Swahili is an old language pointed to this early source for the possible antiquity of the Swahili language. It is an undeniable truth that Arab and Persian cultures had greatest influence on the Swahili culture and the Swahili language. To demonstrate the contribution of each culture into the Swahili language, take an example of the numbers as they are spoken in Swahili. "moja" = one, "mbili" = two, "tatu" = three, "nne" = four, "tano" = five, "nane" = eight, "kumi" = ten, are all of Bantu origin. On the other hand there is "sita" = six, "saba" = seven and "tisa" = nine, that are borrowed from Arabic. The Swahili words, "chai" = tea, "achari" = pickle, "serikali" = government, "diwani" = councillor, "sheha" = village councilor, are some of the words borrowed from Persian bearing testimony to the older connections with Persian merchants. The Swahili language also absorbed words from the Portuguese who controlled the Swahili coastal towns (c. 1500-1700AD). Some of the words that the Swahili language absorbed from the Portuguese include "leso" (handkerchief), "meza" (table), "gereza" (prison), "pesa" ('peso', money), etc. The Swahili bull-fighting, still popular on the Pemba island, is also a Portuguese legacy from that period. The Swahili language also borrowed some words from languages of the later colonial powers on the East African coast - English (British) and German. Swahilized English words include "baiskeli" (bicycle), "basi" (bus), "penseli" (pencil), "mashine" (machine), "koti" (coat), etc. The Swahilized German words include "shule" for school and "hela" for a German coin. For centuries, Swahili remained as the language for the people of the East African coast.
Young ladies dressed in traditional Swahili style of the coastal people. Long-time interactions with other people bordering the Indian Ocean spread the Swahili language to distant places such as on the islands of Comoro and Madagascar and even far beyond to South Africa, Oman and United Arab Emirates. Trade and migration from the Swahili coast during the nineteenth-century helped spread the language to the interior of particularly Tanzania. It also reached Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Central African Republic, and Mozambique. Christian missionaries learned Swahili as the language of communication to spread the Gospel in Eastern Africa. So, the missionaries also helped to spread the language. As a matter of fact the first Swahili-English dictionary was prepared by a missionary. During the colonial time, Swahili was used for communication with the local inhabitants. Hence the colonial administrators pioneered the effort of standardizing the Swahili language. Zanzibar was the epicenter of culture and commerce, therefore colonial administrators selected the dialect of the Zanzibar (Unguja) town as the standard Swahili. The Unguja dialect (Kiunguja) was then used for all formal communication such as in schools, in mass media (newspapers and radio), in books and other publications. Now Swahili is spoken in many countries of Eastern Africa. For Tanzania, deliberate efforts were made by the independent nation to promote the language (thanks to the efforts of the former head of state, Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere. Tanzania's special relations with countries of southern Africa was the chief reason behind the spread of Swahili to Zambia, Malawi, South Africa, and other neighbouring countries to the south. Swahili is the national as well as the official language in Tanzania. Almost all Tanzanians speak Swahili proficiently and are unified by it. In Kenya and Uganda, it is the national language, but official correspondence is still conducted in English. Thus, Swahili is the most widely spoken language of eastern Africa and many world institutions have responded to its Diaspora. It is one of the languages that feature in some world radio stations such as, the BBC, All India Radio, Radio Cairo (Egypt), the Voice of America (U.S.A.), Radio Deutschewelle (Germany), Radio Moscow International (Russia), Radio Japan International, Radio China International, Radio Sudan, and Radio South Africa. The Swahili language is also making its presence in the art world - in songs, theatres, movies and television programs. For example, the lyrics for the song titled "Liberian girl" by Michael Jackson, has Swahili phrases: "Nakupenda pia, nakutaka pia, mpenzi we!" (I love you, and I want you, my dear!). The well-celebrated Disney movie, "The Lion King" features several Swahili words, for example "simba" (lion), "rafiki" (friend), as the names of the characters. The Swahili phrase "hakuna matata" (No troubles or no problems) was also used in that movie. The promotion of the Swahili language is not only in its use but also deliberate efforts are made throughout the world to include it in education curriculum for higher institutions of learning. It is taught in many parts of the world.

Standard Chartered Bank announces record profits for 2011

Standard Chartered Bank has announced a ninth consecutive year of record profits and income in 2011. Its continued performance is underpinned by strong capital and liquidity and multiple sources of income across the faster-growing markets of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Income was up 10 per cent to US$17.64 billion and operating profit increased 11 per cent to US$ 6.78 billion. The Group now has 24 markets generating income and 14 producing profits of more than $100 million. The diversity of different businesses and geographic markets gives the Bank resilient income momentum and enables it to grow even when some markets have a difficult year. In each of the last five years, it has increased capital levels, staff numbers, earnings per share and dividends, as well and income and profits. Over the same period total lending has increased by 91 per cent. The Group has a policy of maintaining a strong capital and liquidity position, which enables it to stay open for business and take market share through the economic cycle in core areas of business such as trade finance. At the end of 2011, the Core Tier 1 ratio was 11.8 per cent and advances to deposits ratio was 76.4 per cent. The Group has no direct sovereign exposure to Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal or Spain. During the year, customer deposits grew by 11 per cent to US$ 352 billion and lending to customers by 9 per cent to US$ 269. Cost growth was in line with income growth, at 10 per cent, despite the UK Bank Levy of US$ 165 million. Staff numbers were up by some 1,600 over the year to nearly 87,000. Consumer Banking income climbed 12 per cent to US$ 6.79 billion and profit 26 per cent to US$ 1.65 billion as the transformation programme continued. The business benefited from selective growth in unsecured assets, improving deposit margins and the impact of the investments made in 2010. Good income growth was seen in all the High Value Segments of Private Banking, up 21 per cent, SME, up 14 per cent, and Priority Banking up, 10 per cent. The business has continued to standardise processes and improve cost efficiency. The focus on the strong fundamentals continues, with a low average loan-to-value of around 49 per cent on mortgages, and a well-diversified and strongly-secured loan book. The business has continued to standardise processes and improve cost efficiency to increase investment capacity. Staff numbers in Consumer Banking were up by over 1,200, mainly in China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Africa. The Bank opened 35 new branches in 2011, including 19 in China. In addition the Bank has updated more than 400 ATMs, enhanced mobile and Internet banking capabilities and increased marketing spend year on year. Wholesale Banking income and profit were both up 9 per cent, to US$10.85 billion and US$5.22 billion respectively. Client income, 82 per cent of the total, grew by 10 per cent as the Bank continued to do more business with its existing clients and invest in products and services to meet their needs. Income remains well diversified, with double-digit growth in the three largest businesses, Transaction Banking, Financial Markets and Corporate Finance. Within Transaction Banking, Trade income was up 9 per cent to US$ 1,595 million as volume growth more than compensated for year-on-year margin falls, and Cash Management income grew 27 per cent to US$ 1,652 million. Financial Markets, which includes Foreign Exchange, Rates, Commodities and Equities, Capital Markets and Credit, is linked to the Transaction Banking services provided to clients, which gives it resilience despite difficult market conditions. Income was up 12 per cent to US$3,688 million. Corporate Finance income was up 10 per cent to US$1,873, having closed 15 per cent more transactions compared to the previous year, and after a very strong finish to 2011. Wholesale Banking benefits from the Group’s strong international network and franchise, with 48 per cent of income generated from clients doing business outside their home markets. Overall loan impairment was up 3 per cent. In Consumer Banking loan impairment decreased by 9 per cent to US$ 524 million, but increased in the second half of the year reflecting the changing size and the mix of the loan book. The Bank remains comfortable with overall exposures. Wholesale Banking Loan impairment in 2011 was US$384 million, up 26 per cent on 2010, with the vast majority of this loan impairment charge relating to increased provisioning on previously impaired accounts. Credit quality across the book remains strong and the Group continues to be disciplined and proactive in its approach to risk management. Standard Chartered Bank is a leading international banking group. It has operated for over 150 years in some of the world's most dynamic markets and earns more than 90 per cent of its income and profits in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. This geographic focus and commitment to developing deep relationships with clients and customers has driven the Bank’s growth in recent years. The bank is listed on the London and Hong Kong stock exchanges as well as the Bombay and National Stock Exchanges in India.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Enjoy the pictorial scene as some photos will make you laugh

When I read the caption of this photo, I really laughed. The writer compared a mindset of the carrier as being the same as the goat he has carried on his back. The difference is that, the carrier rides on a motor bike. It seems as if in some parts of this world, there are some people who do not care the rights of tamed animals as the law demand.

It is all like American NINJA Films we used top see some years ago. You might have wondered how these soldiers jumped out of this open car in which they were traveling, and what were they targeting as it is not seen. May be the military exercise undertaken is an effective practice to make them look so strong to withstand any condition around.

It is unusual to see a European preparing an African food, popularly known in our local Swahili language ‘Ugali’. This man must have stayed longer with people of African origin, as Ugali is the common staple food of the entire community members.

The caption of this photo of a dramatic scene tells itself. You do not need to be clarified when it comes to taking food, every creature takes a chance to save its life without shame.

What do you think might have been the reason why this pick up has depressed down its body? Do you think the owner did not realize this when loading such bunches of bananas on board? To my perception, I think the owner thought the body of his pickup was stronger enough to withstand the weight of these bananas on board. But the most probably reason is that, outdated cars are allowed to run along the road without checking of their quality to see if they are built properly.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Experts press for new-look minerals policy for Africa

EXPERTS from 13 countries in the eastern African zone who convened in Dar es Salaam for a five-day meeting of an Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE) on mining urged revisiting the extant mining regimes. This is with the overriding objective of coming up with mining policies and legislations that are deliberately designed to benefit the peoples of the region. The background to the meeting — a regular consultative gathering to compare notes and seek common solutions to problems affecting the mining sector — was the view that, despite abundant endowment with subterranean natural resources such as minerals in Africa, many of the countries involved do not benefit fully, or even substantially, from the potential riches! Tanzania, for example, is one such country where, surprisingly, its relatively vibrant mining industry contributes only a measly 3.3 per cent of the GDP! The gathered experts surmised that the continued lack of knowledge, coupled with insufficient mining skills among local entrepreneurs and poor working equipment, explain why such countries, Tanzania included, fail to benefit sufficiently from their naturally-endowed wealth. According to Tanzania Finance Minister Mustafa Mkulo, contribution of the mining sector to GDP was projected to reach ten per cent in 2025... But, due mainly to continued lack of mining expertise in Tanzania, the target goal under the National Development Vision cannot be achieved, Mkulo lamented when opening the meeting. “Lack of mining expertise had undermined Tanzania’s capacity to fully exploit its potential in the mining sector which, currently, contributes 3.3 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product,” Mkullo asserted. This is despite the fact that Tanzania has vast mineral resources with great potential.

The Minister for Energy and Minerals Mr. William Ngeleja

These include precious metals (gold, diamonds and other gemstones, including the unique tanzanite); ferrous minerals and base metals: coal, uranium and other industrial minerals such as soda, kaolin, tin, gypsum and phosphates. Furthermore, reports of the Ministry of Energy & Minerals show that the mining industry has experienced a boom in both mineral exploration and mining activities during the past ten years. For example, while gold production rose from one tonne in 1998 to about 50 tonnes in 2008 — making Tanzania the third largest producer in Africa at that time; today it is the fourth, led by South Africa, Ghana and Mali in that order — the spread of benefits from the activity to the general population is very, very minimal! Despite seeing foreign direct investments of more than US$2.6bn in less than a decade, the industry has provided direct jobs to less than 14,000 people! Among other things, delegates from the 13 participating countries discussed how Africa should manage its mineral resources for the benefit of the continent. They, for example, pointed out that, while Tanzania is phenomenally rich in mineral resources of different varieties, the country still records high poverty rates compared with other countries having no such resources — or just marginally so endowed — in the sub-region and Africa as a whole! Speaking at the meeting — whose theme was 'Harnessing the African Peer Review Mechanism potential to advance mineral resources governance in Africa,' — Tanzania Minerals Minister William Ngeleja declared that Tanzania is in the course of revisiting the country's mining policy with a view to enabling more Tanzanians to benefit from the sector. Notable mining developments during the 'boom' period following the controversial mining policy (1997) and mining legislation (1998) include the commissioning of six large scale gold mines at Nzega, Geita, Bulyanhulu, North Mara (Nyamongo), Buhemba and Tulawaka. During that period, about 15 prospective sites for gold, nickel and uranium mining reached various stages of exploration. These developments resulted in increased minerals production, making the mining industry the second fastest growing sector of the economy after tourism. Despite these 'developments', however, the government in Dar is often blamed for lapses of accountability and transparency in mining operations. Furthermore, integration of the industry with other sectors is severely limited, as processing of minerals takes place outside the country, thus exporting jobs and domestic revenues! This is to say nothing of conflicts of interests involving the large (foreign) miners and small (indigenous artisanal) miners, as well as surrounding communities, including crop farmers and pastoralists. In that regard, Mining Minister Ngeleja says “the government has initiated a comprehensive review of the minerals sector, with a view to rectifying these drawbacks, by setting out a new minerals policy and mining legislation.” The minister admits that, despite being so phenomenally endowed with vast natural wealth, “nothing has so far triggered the much desired sustainable and equitable growth and poverty reduction among the people in the country!” In the event, he blamed the old policies formulated during colonial times as being the reason why Tanzania does not benefit from its minerals! The history of mining excavation policies used in the country from colonial times were based on the conditions given to the Mwadui Diamonds Mine in Shinyanga Region in the late 1920s, the minister argued. And, apart from the Mwadui mine, most mining sites were established in the past decade, and it had not been possible to change that policy format as it was intended to attract investors. In any case, the government admits that there are constraints to a fully beneficial mining policy and legislation. Ngeleja was quoted as saying that the new Mining Act promulgated in 2010 (and the 2009 mining policy) would benefit the nation as they seek the listing of local mining companies with the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE)! The minister further said the Act is already working, whereby the government owns shares of between 20 and 45 per cent in some mining companies, especially those starting activities in the wake of the new regime. The government's intention is to take up to 50 per cent of shares in newly formed mining entities, with the minister affirming that “the implementation of this has started after the nation learned a lesson from Botswana and South Africa!” Under the new mining regime, the government will have free-carried shares in upcoming mining entities, while another portion of the remaining shares will be available to the general public via DSE. Furthermore, while the mining companies were paying US$200,000 (about Tsh320m) a year to finance social services in their areas of operation, the new Act has tightened this aspect of 'taxation' to relate to the miners' real incomes, the minister indicated. Still, the problem of equity and sustainability is not adequately resolved, as the contribution doesn’t go to the national budget and be used in an equitable manner for national development as a whole.

Tanzania Finance Minister Mr. Mustapha Mkullo

The full amount goes to District Councils, whose expenditures are usually subject to abuse that no central government agency can control! All in all, the meeting, which was organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA), discussed in broad terms how to improve the governance of natural resources. Participants observed that, despite its vast mineral resources, the continent continues to play an insignificant role in the global economy. Drawn from Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Uganda, DRC and the host Tanzania, meeting participants deliberated with a common stand to ensure that minerals in their countries benefit their people and the national economy. They agreed that countries need to be careful with mining companies entering into excavation contracts so as to ensure that they take greater focus on people’s welfare, including the provision of social services. Apparently, most African countries sign mining contracts without being aware of the impending dangers. But this should not be reason for failure of such companies to help the communities surrounding their operational sites, the participants declared. As Minister Mkullo told the meeting, it is important to take the requisite precautions in negotiating mining agreements “so that indigenous people should liberate themselves from poverty, and embark on economic growth of the nation at large.” In that regard, Tanzanian mining experts at the meeting urged their government to fully appraise the terms and conditions of the contracts made before being approved to avoid conflicts between investors and the surrounding communities. Kathryn McPhail, director of the International Council of Mining & Metals (ICMM), said “the lack of collaboration between governments, civil societies and the community is a result of policy failure in the sector. It takes time to strengthen policies for the benefit of the society,” she told the gathering. She said “various institutions should be involved — not just governments and the mining companies. Defining the country’s objectives like creating more employment opportunities enables a particular country to properly focus on development.” Sotari Gotera, the ICE senior economic affairs official for East Africa, said regulations governing mining hinder the sector’s productivity. “These should be reviewed to benefit the people, since most regulations are centred on business,” he argued.

More banks join TMRC to facilitate mortgage business financing

INDIVIDUAL Tanzanians who are interested in taking housing loans from banks operating in the country have to sigh a relief following the increased number of banks which have subscribed to Tanzania Mortgage Refinance Company Ltd (TMRC) in order to facilitate mortgage business financing. TMRC's Chief Executive Officer, Rished Bade said early this week in Dar es Salaam that, already 10 banks doing their businesses in the country have subscribed their shares and became members of his company with a view to facilitate mortgage financing business in the country. He mentioned such banks as NMB bank, CRDB bank, TIB bank, AZANIA bank, EXIM bank, DCM bank, Banc ABC, NBC bank and NIC bank. He said in an exclusive interview during the occasion of handing over a cheque worth Tsh. 1 billion raised by NBC Bank to his company being a acquisition of a 10.87 percent stake in TMRC. The occasion took place at NBC Boardroom and was hosted by NBC Managing Director Lawrence Mafuru. He said TMRC's mission is to source funds in Tanzanian financial market as efficiently as possible and channel the same to member banks as a competitive rate. This will facilitate affordable access to housing finance to the Tanzanian population, while contributing to the development of capital markets. NBC is engaged in mortgage financing in the country and this is a long term funding to poor Tanzanians who would like to get the assistances for housing development schemes, and the bank is making everything possible to achieve its targets.

The Chairman of the Bankers Association in Tanzania and the Managing Director of the National ank of Commerce Mr. Laurence Mafuru in an interview with Television crew.

The bank ranks the 10th in a series to join membership with the TMRC to make sure that the individual housing problems in the country comes to an end. The move enables Tanzanians to have easier access to decent accommodation and shows its deligence in supporting the mortgage industry in Tanzania. TMRC is a financial institution owned by the banks which was formed by the Central Bank of Tanzania (BOT) with sole purpose of supporting banks to do mortgage lending by refinancing banks' mortgage portfolios. The institution started with a capital of Tsh. 7.6 billion provided by its share holders with a single shareholder owning more than 33 percent of the equity. Currently the institution is running with Tsh. 9 billion capital plus Tsh. 52 billion given by the government to facilitate the mortgage credit financing facilities. According to CEO, as the balance sheet of TMRC gows, shareholders will be expected to increase their capital in the company. However, he noted that, there is no restrictions on other banks or other eligible institutions to participate in the equity of TMRC. He says banks engaged in mortgaging must have the capacity to pay back the loan taken from TMRC by following the conditions laid down just like any other lending financial institutions in the country. In 2011, NBC along with other six banks signed a mortgage finance deal with the National Housing Corporation (NHC) in order to let Tanzanians have easier access to decent accommodation. Statistics made available by the NHC in the country shows that Tanzania has a housing demand of 200,000 housing units per year, but its supply is 15,000. Therefore with this appalling statistical records which is exacerbated by poverty stricken situation, banks through TMRC are striving hard in order to help cover a wide range of a deficit of more than 185,000 houses.

Banking: why clients have abnormal phobia of ATMs

DESPITE Tanzania boasting around 45 commercial banks and thousands of related Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), local bank customers still opt to accomplish their banking transactions with help from flesh-and-blood tellers manning service counters in the banking hall, instead of using the state-of-the-art technology built into the teller machines at everyone's disposal! A random survey has established that many bank customers in Dar es Salaam flock into banking halls where they line up in single file, and slowly inch their way to the service counter of their choice to have their transactions processed by tellers. This may take hours to accomplish, although it is believed that the ATMs system would be quicker. At the end of the day, bank tellers are harrowed, harried and harassed by flocks of customers who, albeit well-meaning, could have saved frayed tempers if they had chosen to treat the ATMs' path! The survey showed that one of the reasons for this is that many customers are not particularly familiar with operations of the ATMs systems and, as such, give them a wide berth, preferring to deal face to face with fellow human beings, known in the trade as 'bank tellers!' This, however, is not particularly surprising, partly because ATMs have this nasty habit of breaking down in mid-transaction. This could be for technical problems on the part of the machines; it could also very well be because of faulty operating of the machine by account holders... or hackers! This latter is another reason why account holders avoid ATMs.

A European lady withdrawing cash from the ATM machine. The machines have become losers of people’s cash and are no longer trusted.

Customers who spoke to Business times on this one complained (on condition of anonymity) that they have had some of their moneys stolen from their accounts through the ATMs system. Customers of the third largest bank in Tanzania, National Micro-finance Bank (NMB) who spoke to this writer expressed disappointment regarding the time consumed in accessing services at the counters, especially at the end of the month when salaried customers turn up for their pay! But, they all fell short of reasons why they eschew the ATM's networks. Instead they all called for the bank authorities to look into ways and means of reduce congestions in banking halls... If necessary by additional staff and service counters! NMB is one of Tanzania’s largest banks by assets, accounting for some 40 per cent of the industry’s capital; 45 per cent of loan issuances; 48 per cent of the assets; 52 per cent of deposits, and 54 per cent of number of branches and investments in government securities. The bank boasts customer base to 1.4 million accounts,; more than 400 ATMs, and offers debit cards and mobile banking services to its customers across Tanzania, using a new system based on IBM’s Power servers and storage technologies. But all this notwithstanding, NMB banking halls are about the most congested in the country! An electronics technician, Josephat Zegayo. noted that the ATMs system is basically designed for money withdrawals, not for deposit purposes. For this, customers wishing to deposit money have to line up and head for the tellers at the counter to be served ― oftentimes taking up to two hours for this! Ahmed Kisembo a bank customer with the CRDB Bank Dar es Salaam since 2005, frankly stated that he does have difficulty operating an ATM. CRDB Bank Plc is another “leading, wholly privately-owned commercial bank in Tanzania. The bank offers a comprehensive range of Corporate, Retail, Business, Treasury, Premier, and wholesale micro-finance services through a network of 60 branches, ATMs, Mobile branches, Point of Sales (PoS) terminals and scores of Micro-finance partners institutions. It also operates through Internet and Mobile banking services...” For her part, Marceline Mwambane ― another CRDB Bank customer ― complained of the bank’s failure to provide enough working facilities, as well as efficient clerks. She assumes that the few available clerks are routinely overburdened by the number of customers flooding banking halls. Mzee Isaya Kizimba Dyoya, a businessman from Kasulu District, and a long-standing bank customer since 1960s, expressed dismay at the human congestion in the banking hall of the NMB Headquarters Branch along Azikiwe Street in Dar es Salaam. He spent 90 minutes in the sweltering place to deposit a cheque! Another bank customer, Zuberi Mwika who came to Dar from Bagamoyo to withdraw money from his account, also complained of long queue in a sweltering banking hall. Asked why he did not make a beeline for the ATM outside, Mwika said after his ATM card got stuck in the machine sometime ago, he has developed a morbid fear of ATMs as a breed! A senior bank official who agreed to comment on the issues on condition his identity was not published stated “most ATMs are not serviced regularly, an aspect that makes some of them fail to work properly. “However,” he said, “the banking sub-sector does all it can to rectify the machines, a work that is mostly done by professional design experts from outside the country...”

Need to have rent restriction Act in a new constitution

Stakeholders say it will save 14 million Tanzanians who are denied decent and affordable urban housing

THE Dar es Salaam based housing stakeholders commonly known as 'Merchant Chamber' has appealed to the government to look at the possibility of injecting an Act on the newly adopted national draft constitution which would help house tenants to achieve their legal rights from their landlords. They say that, the law amendments of rent restriction in the newly adopted constitution of the Republic of Tanzania would save about 14 million Tanzanians who are denied decent and affordable urban housing settlements. According to housing stakeholders, there has been little control of the rental housing business especially in urban areas where about 60 percent of urban residents reside in rental houses while 40 percent of their incomes is spent on accommodation. They have therefore asked the government to review the Act in its newly adopted national draft constitution so as to establish a specific law of controlling this business because its absence has made landlords wield so much power over their tenants. The law should among other things forbid landlords for claiming for yearly rental fees yet employees are paid salaries monthly, a situation that has been placing tenants in arrears while others engage in corrupt acts to afford the housing expenses.

They resist the currently used rent restriction Act saying it's outdated ever since it was enacted way back in 1950s during colonialism. But the new Act would mean to safeguard the welfare of tenants. Among other things, the law will put a barrier for landlords from demanding advance rent payments. However, in 2005 this law was repealed for reasons best known to those who engineered its deletion. The detrimental effects this decision caused, is that it condemned millions of tenants to the uncertain life they continue to endure until today, as landlords are free to hike the house rents with impunity. According to Merchant Chamber, under the new constitution, the experience teach that, “there is the need for the right to decent and affordable housing to be included among other rights which are presently set out in Chapter 1, part 3 of the constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania. Basing on their basic demand as far as the issue is concerned, the Chamber claims that, “by favouring the National Housing Corporation (NHC), the government has given a green light to all other landlords to victimize millions of tenants and pose a great threat to national peace and stability”.

A German company offers a counterfeit drug detector in Tanzania

MEDICINE Users in the country are assured of safe and quality medicines of the locally manufactured as well as imported products following the donation of a five mobile mini-laboratory medical equipment by a German company in order to detect fake drugs circulated in the local market. The equipments were handed over early this week in Dar es Salaam to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. The equipments would be used by the ministry to support government led initiative aimed at halting circulation of counterfeit drugs, which has increasingly becoming a big threat to millions of Tanzanian lives. A German based Pharmaceutical, Chemical and life science company known as Global Pharma Health Fund donated the mini labs to be used by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with its agency for detecting inferior and counterfeit medicines which are said to have dominated Tanzania market. Counterfeit medicines are a serious threat to health care not only in Tanzania but worldwide, says Dr. Karl Ludwig Kley, the Chairman of the Merk Executive Board who officially presented the donation to the health and Social Welfare Minister Dr. Hadji Mponda. He has expressed optimism that his compact laboratory equipments would help improve the structures of drug monitoring and ensuring scarce resources are not wasted on worthless and even hazardous medicines.

Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Hadji Mponda

Dr. Mponda has however, assured Tanzanians that the equipments will help to intensify the country's fight against counterfeit hospital medicines as the compacts have the ability to detect products quickly and cost efficiently and reliably. He says, his ministry through its agency Tanzania Food and Drug Authority (TFDA) instituted a quality assurance program in the country in 2002 in order to check counterfeit drugs which has so far shown a tremendous progress indeed. The program which had been funded by World Health Organization aimed to screen the quality of medicines entering Tanzania market from foreign and domestic manufacturers and to a greater extent it has denied the market entry to substandard and counterfeit medical products. Among other objectives the program intends to develop is an appropriate and comprehensive national quality assurance system that would be able of easing to a greater extent that both imported and locally manufactured medicines meet. Fake and counterfeit drugs is a global problem and its negative effects are felt by many countries, and in view of this, it therefore requires massive support from all stakeholders and key players in the country, says TFDA's Director of Laboratory Services Ms. Charys Ugulum. According to her, TFDA has put down effective and strategic measures in order to eradicate the escalating phenomenon, and therefore fight against unscrupulous traders in the country who are fond of doing such malpractices. According to the International Police Organization (Interpol) estimates that up to 30 percent of all medicines in Africa are either counterfeit or of inferior quality.

An international company eyes for uranium business in Tanzania

A United States based company by the name of Spice Magic Ltd is looking for the possibility of investing in Tanzania in order to deal with business on the uranium minerals whose deposits have been recently found in some parts of the country. The company's Director, Mehboob Lilan said during an interview with the Business Times in Dar es Salaam over the weekend that, he is interested to invest in Tanzania in various areas of development, but more preferably in uranium business. He said, if the government would lisence his company to invest in uranium business, he is assured of taking risks to curb with any danger, and also to abid by the international rules and regulations set for safety as per the international standards required of handling such dangerous minerals. Lilan who owns two companies in UK, has entered in a joint venture business with a Tanzanian veteran business man Jaffer Sabodo, and he is currently looking forward to open an office in the country as soon as possible from where his investment plans would be engineered. However,

Mr. Jaffery Sabodo in an interview with an ITV television crew at his house in Upanga area in Dar es Salaam city. Seated with him on extreme right is the Chairman of the CHADEMA opposition party Mr. Freeman Mbowe, when the latter paid a visit to him.

Mr. Sobodo who is the chairman of Sobodo group of companies advised his friend with whom they were born together in Lindi town to direct part of his USD 50 million he has for the development of Pawpaw cultivation in the country. The two fiends were separated for the last 38 years since 1974 when he (Lilan) visited the country for the last time before he earlier left for United Kingdom in 1960 when Tanganyika (now Tanzania) was not yet independent. As he recalls, he left the country by a special document issued by the colonial British government. Lilan who is now in his early seventies was impressed by the way Tanzania has developed as compared as it was before independence time especially in terms of buildings, roads and schools to mention just a few. Unlike before during the time they were schooling together in Lindi, he says such things were rarely seen and Dar es Salaam city had few storey buildings which he says some have been demolished and replaced by more magnificent buildings. “I was born and grown up in Lindi town and what I can now see is indeed a spectacular look which has impressed me” he said amid great astonishment when he recalled the past. In view of this he is convinced that Tanzania is the right place to invest. Spice Magic Ltd does its business activities worldwide, and the company owns a hotel in UK where it promotes Indian foods and engages in the importation of spices and pawpaw from India to United Kingdom. The company is also involved in active socio-economic development in various areas such as communications. Apart from that,

The Director of Spice Magic Company Mr. Mehboob Lilan talking to journalists (Not in the picture) at his friend’s house at Upanga in Dar es Salaam.

Lilan calls for massive investment in education in order to empower people especially women from undeveloped countries Tanzania included so that the indigenous can play a most key role in providing skilled services to various investments taking place in the country. He says, since education matters in every sector of economy, he is able to establish scholarships in order to build the capacity of local Tanzanians to learn more from outside. He is on the view of the fact that, Tanzanians must learn English language which is globally spoken in order to achieve the country's most crucial development goals. He has insisted that, it's impossible to have people if they do not know the foreign language and as a result employment becomes difficulty in foreign firms. Spice Magic Ltd is operating in two African countries e.g Ghana and Zambia, and have other offices in Mumbai-India, Florida State in USA and in New York city.

President Jakaya Kikwete opens a Bank branch

President Jakaya Kikwete opens a plague to officially open First National Bank Tanzania (FNB) branch office in Dar es Salaam last week. He uis flanked on his left by the Banks' Chief Executive Officer, Sizwe Nxasana. The bank has opened 3 branches since it started its opearion in the country in July 2011.

DCB Bank records an impressive business performance

A progressive Dar es Salaam based people's bank, popularly known as Dar es Salaam Community Bank (DCB) has recorded an impressive business performance for the year 2011. The report has shown together with other things the banks annual net profit which stands at Tsh. 3.7 billion. It has been learnt. According to the report, during the period under review, the bank has increased its deposits to the tune of Tsh. 78.8 billion and issued loans to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which amounted to Tsh. 60 billion. The Bank's Managing Director Edmund Mkwawa said that, the performance is after securing Tsh. 14.5 billion capital an aspect that will soon make the bank become a fully fledged commercial bank. According to him, about 46,506 of the bank's customers who had benefited from their loan fund scheme, used the money in various social development activities including individual house construction. He says that, about 16 percent of the bank's 9,540 customers used their credit loan facilities to cater for the need of their children's school fees. Other 6 percent which is equivalent to 3,577 customers used their loans to establish small scale business enterprises that generated their incomes. The report further states that, other 52 customers used their loans to dig up water wells within their residential compounds and as a result, they used water for their domestic purposes and others sold this precious commodity to their neighbours, thus making it as a lucrative business. He analyzed the development of other small scale business enterprises which he said that, up to 30th November 2011 had reached to 2,088 groups, loan issued to them was Tsh. 29.9 billion, and the total customers were 104,415 among them 81,444 were women representing 88 percent and men's number were 22,971 representing 12 percent. The bank expects to increase its network activities by increasing other office branches whereby it's scheduled to open another branch in earnest at Chanika township which is located about 32 kilometers away from the city of Dar es Salaam. DCB is a local Tanzanian bank which was established in 2002. The bank is led by Tanzanians whose shares are well being traded at Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange bouse. The share values are currently being traded at Tsh. 640 from Tsh. 280 in 2008. The Bank's CEO Mkwawa also analyzed the outlook of the bank for the year 2012 and noted that, the bank expects to increase its deposits to Tsh. 116.8 billion and loan by 42 percent from the current Tsh. 59 billion to Tsh. 84 billion. The bank also expects to increase the value of its dividends from Tsh. 57 per share to Tsh. 65 per share per year. Furthermore, the bank plans to establish new bank services such as macro-credit facilities which would be issued for houses and investment loans. Meanwhile, according to, the Dar es Salaam Community Bank (DCB) has emerged the fifth among the top ten best performing stocks in Africa for the year 2011. All the top ten winning companies averaged weekly trading volumes in excess of $10,000 during the year 2011. Dcb which started operations nine and half years ago, focuses on lending to small and medium enterprises. Dcb management boosted its 2010 dividend by 71 per cent. A statement issued by peter machunde, ceo of vertex securities, brokers of the dse the bankfs earning also increased by 23 per cent in the first nine months of 2011, propelled by a big gain in net interest income.