Monday, April 29, 2013

Thousands thrilled at Uhuru stadium for Union celebrations

ON Friday last week, PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete led thousands of Tanzanians who thronged at Uhuru stadium in Dar es Salaam to mark the 49 years of the Tanganyika and Zanzibar union which formed Tanzania in April, 26th 1964 in a colorful celebration marked by a military parade and cultural shows. He arrived at the stadium at 10.15 in a resplendent dark suit on board an open special State House car standing on the rear wearing his characteristic broad smile waving to people who responded with deafening cheers, clapping and ululation while being flanked by the Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) General Davis Mwamunyange. His motorcade was being escorted by a dozen of police motorcycle riders. He later proceeded to the saluting dais and was greeted by a 21 gun salute while at the same time the national anthem was being played before inspecting a guard of parade mounted by ten units of gallant defense and security forces armed forces including TPDF, Police, Prisons and National Service soldiers. This year’s union celebrations under the theme “Peace, tranquility and development are the good results of our union, let us cope and protect it” as usual was graced by government leaders, diplomats, business executives, political leaders and ordinary people. There were no any invited leaders from outside the country.  After inspecting the guard, the well drilled men and women soldiers first moved around in a slow march then in quick march before hitting goose steps to thunderous applause which was accompanied by wild screams in approval from thousands who turned out to witness the event.  The servicemen and women finally surged forward by 15 steps and pledged loyalty to their commander in chief in display of gallantry, the units led by military brass finally marched outside the ground and saluted the commander in chief who joined other national leaders at the main dais. After that, two special fast running military planes for training and jet fighters performed a military show in respect of the guest of honour, the President of the United Republic of Tanzania. These were controlled in systematic styles as they moved from South to North waving a fearing look to spectators in the stadium. Earlier in the morning security people had a hard time to control the influx of people into Uhuru stadium controlling thousands of people who started to flock in at around 07.00 in the morning. The situation which later compelled the officers to open the ultra-modern national stadium and allowed some people in to watch the event after having realized they could not find a space at Uhuru stadium.  The arrival of the President Kikwete had been preceded by government leaders including former national Presidents of the second and third phase government.

President Jakaya Kikwete inspecting a guard of TPDF women soldiers during the 49th Union celebrations at Uhuru stadium in Dar es Salaam.
These were Ally Hassan Mwinyi who was accompanied by his wife Siti Mwinyi and Benjamin Mkapa who was accompanied by his wife Anna Mkapa. Others on the high table were the Zanzibar President Dr. Mohammed Shein and his first Vice President Seif Sharif Ahamad. Also in attendance were the two Chief Justice of Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar, Othman Chande (Tanzania mainland) and Omar Othman Makungu of Zanzibar, Speaker of the National Assembly Anne Makinda, Speraker of the House of Representatives Pandu Amir Kificho and former Zanzibar President Aman Abeid Karume. Also in attendance were three former Prime Ministers of the United Republic of Tanzania, these were Edward Lowasa who currently is the MP for Monduli,  Fredrick Sumaye and John Samwel Malecela. The current CCM party secretary general Abdulhaman Kinana and the former National speaker Pius Msekwa. Although there were a series of national leaders both retired and current, an anonymous person was heard asking for the where about of the other former national dignitaries who ever served as Presidents of the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government.  These he mentioned are Aboud Jumbe who ruled the Island since 1972 when the first President and the architect of union Sheik Abeid Aman Karume died up to 1984, and Salmir Amour who ruled as from 1990 and 2000. Since their retirements the two have never been seen attending such public function.  The celebrations were colored by acts of activities and fan fare and other school children treated thousands of spectators with their grand performances conducted by 2695 students from Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania. Among them were 35 children who performed acrobatic games. The children performed various styles that showed various shapes that reflected the current standing situation of the security, health and economy in the country. In these, the youths showed the benefits in all aspects basing in three categories as being useful as the major achievement for the development of the union. The occasion was entertained by some groups of social and cuiltural troupes who included the Nyakitari traditional group from Tarime district in Mara region, Gonga group from Pemba, Makonde traditional group from Lindi and a special chioir that entertained the audience from Masange National Service from Tabora.  Although Tanzania celebrates its 49 years of union, the occasion takes place at a time when the association of Zanzibar Revival group and that one of the association of Zanzibar Muslim organization calls for the constitutional debate and demanded for a referendum so that Zanzibaris and the people in mainland could decide separately whether they could want the union. However, in an reclusive interview with the Guardian the Chairperson of the committee stands for constitution and law in Parliament Dr. Pindi Chana said that, everybody has a right to issue views on the constitution process in any thing regarding union matters. Speaking in an exclusive interview, after the  ceremony, politicians and retired government officials said that the government should give enough time and opportunity to people to debate and openly discuss challenges of the unions. A cross section of the opposition politicians were recently quoted as saying that, the process of writing constitution was the best opportunity for both the government and the people to review weakness and over all union problems for the development of the nation.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Tanzania Banks to adopt Cheque Truncation Systems

BANKS operating in Tanzania have welcomed the newly introduced Cheque Truncation System (CTS) saying that, the technology would ease their daily banking activities. The system to be introduced for the first time in the country will be made workable by IT experts in the banks by help of South African Sybrin Systems Company. It has been learnt. Considered to be a major milestone in the history of Tanzania banking sector, the introduction of the CTS System aims to make cheque clearance more efficient and reduce their clearance time to one day, thereby trimming down the floating time considerably.  Speaking in an exclusive interview last week in Dar es Salaam, bank experts and other stakeholders have said that, the newly introduced technological mechanism would help their customers have their cheques cleared quickly to less than a day instead of five or six days as it is now. The system which is scheduled to commence effectively in September this year as per the Central Bank of Tanzania (BOT) proposal, will enforce all banks operating in the country to be linked in a single digital network to ensure its smooth operation. An official from the Tanzania Bankers’ Association who spoke on condition of anonymity said that, the newly introduced system would help relieve banks with burdens as it would effectively eliminate the associated cost of movement of the physical cheques, reduces the time required for their collection and brings elegance to the entire activity of processing. Unlike at the moment, he further noted that the current systems involves vast amount of unnecessary manual labour of the cheques presented for payments at the banks that takes long days to be cleared. However, he added that under the new technology the process will be quickened by the clearing house. Detailing the need of his firm’s commitment for the introduced technological system to be soon made workable in Tanzania, the Sales Manager of the Sybrin Systems Daniel Parreira said that, cheque truncation solution involves replacing the physical paper with the electronic image at the bank’s branch where it was first presented. According to him, CTS is basically an online image-based cheque clearing system where cheque images and data are captured at the collecting bank branch and transmitted electronically to another bank branch thus eliminating the actual cheque movement. He further noted that, under the system, the process of cheques’ collection would result in better service to customers, reduces the scope for clearing-related frauds or theft and loss of instruments in transit, lowers the cost of collection of cheques, and removes reconciliation-related and logistics-related problems, thus benefitting the system as a whole.  “The firm has handled the implementation of similar systems and has 12 years’ experience in this field in many banks across Africa having implemented the first cheque truncation solution in Malawi, Zambia, Kenya and Botswana” he said.  He further noted that, his company’s Cheque truncation solution adheres to International standards and more importantly is aligned with East Africa Payment Solution (EAPS) strategy. Sybrin have successfully integrated with other IT firms in other territories and expects no foreseeable issues integrating the same in Tanzania. In view of this, a local registered Tanzanian IT company, Computech-ICS (T) Ltd has partnered with Sybrin systems Ltd after a two months’ search for the firm that has the best solution that suit the country’s market needs for the cheques solutions. The firm’s General Manager Parag Patil confirmed in an exclusive interview recently in Dar es Salaam during the one day show seminar which was organized by South Africa based Sybrin company that, his company was satisfied with the banking solutions that works for the betterment of the country’s economy. The seminar which brought together some operation officers of some banks in the country, had commended the use of cheque truncation in their operations as the solution is healthier for banks and customers alike. Interviewed participants were quoted as saying that, the solution cuts risks, time and costs which at the end of the day relieves banking operations. They have noted that the system would eliminate the cumbersome physical presentation of the cheque to the paying bank, thus saving in time and costs involved in traditional clearing system.  The CTS is expected to improve operational efficiency of the entire banking system, resulting in better customer service, improved liquidity position for banks’ customers and safe and secure banking for the entire banking public.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Transport ministry seeks money to expand Dar city commuter train service

THE Minister for Transport Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe has pledged to expand the Dar es Salaam city commuter train service project in areas which are linked to railway lines within the city for 2013/14 fiscal year. It has been learnt. The Minister made the pledge last week in Dar es Salaam after he had opened a one day’s forum for the Aeronautical Meteorology Stakeholders’ consultative meeting which was organized by Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA), in honour of the commemoration of the World Meteorological Day which officially is being celebrated today worldwide. Speaking in an exclusive interview, Dr. Mwakyembe said that, since the launch of the city train services in Dar es Salaam city, his ministry has realized a great potential for the commuters who are in dire need of the service, hence he has promised to expand the service during the 2013/14 financial year. He noted that, an extension service line from railway station to Pugu station past Gongo la Mboto will be the area to be given priority as the government is still looking for money to buy passengers’ coaches and engines to run the operation. However, he couldn’t mention how much is needed when asked but insisted that, the government is even ready to accept investors to come and help run the project on the agreed terms and conditions of contract that it would enter. “We have started well and are progressing well and so our goal is to reach the target and even beyond” he said and added that, more investments in some other parts on the city’s outskirts is needed. However, he metioned such area as From Ubungo-Maziwa to Boko and Tegeta, then from Kimara to Bunju and up to Kibaha.
A train leaves from Mwanza city

Also he mentioned other areas that needs urgent investments includes From Kurasini to Mbagala and beyond.  In October last year, Dr. Mwakyembe made Dar es Salaam history as the first city in East and Central Africa to operate commuter train services. He had promised the city’s citizens commuter trains amid great skepticism from some quarters and outright sabotage of the idea.  Dar residents witnessed ‘dream come true’ as the first commuter train rolled off the stage at Ubungo Maziwa station chugging through industrial and residential areas to offload its first batch of passengers at the Central Railway station. On board was Transport Minister Dr Harrison Mwakyembe who launched the service, promising to address any the hitches likely to crop up as the services picked up with the fare from Ubungo Maziwa to Station is 400/- for adults and 100/- for school children. Speaking before the launching of the service, Dr Mwakyembe said the government plan was to see the train operating in the city in a bid to improve the service. Earlier the Director General, Tanzania Meteorological Agency, Dr. Agnes L. Kijazi highlighted the importance of the consultative meeting lies in the fact that people are interrelated and interdependent. The aviation industry cannot do without meteorological information. And likewise, meteorological services would be less important without the aviation industry. It is my hope that at the end of the day, all met stakeholders will have a better understanding of services provided by the TMA, the country's designated authority in the provision of meteorological services for air navigation. And TMA will also be in a better position to provide much more improved services. I am properly informed that our country is among the most active members of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). This meeting has come at an opportune time when Tanzania along with other 190 WMO member countries celebrate the World Meteorological Day tomorrow the 23rd of March, 2023.  In her opening remarks, the TMA Director General said and added that in celebrating the World Meteorological Day, with a theme, “Watching the Weather to Protect Life and Property”, it also to pay special tribute to the World Weather Watch (WWW) programme which marks its 50th anniversary this year.

ABG committed to supply enough clean water to rural communities

AFRICAN Barrick Gold (ABG) the largest gold producer in the country has set aside $ 20 million (About Sh. 30 billion) to finance the construction of two drilling water boreholes at a famous Nyamongo village located in Tarime district, Mara region. It has been learnt. The move is part of the firm’s social corporate responsibility which aims to improve quality water supply in seven villages surrounding their North Mara gold mining site at Nyamongo village, the firm’s Chief Executive Officer Greg Hawkins said early this week in Dar es Salaam.  Speaking in an exclusive interview recently, he said that, this is a continuous long term programme which started five years ago with a view to increase clean water supplies to local people who consumes approximately 100,000 liters a day in these villages. However, he said add
Chief Executive Officer Greg Hawkins

ing that, since the programme started his firm has already built two boreholes in other villages close to their mine site.
ABG has embarked on an effective long term clean water supply programme around its four designated mining sites in the country following claims by local people that, the mining operations had caused a negative impact to their lives after major water resources they entirely depend on for domestic use have been polluted with the alleged poisonous chemicals emanating from their mining activities. The programme is among several ones which have been initiated in these areas by ABG and which arte executed under the assistance of the ABG Maendeleo Fund whose major objective is to facilitate social and economic activities to the people in the area, he said.  However, he has reiterated his firm’s commitment to continue supporting social and economic activities to the people in local communities surrounding his gold mining areas of operations in the country to work on the long standing problem of environmental pollution with the major focus on the problem of clean water supply which he said is the most crucial factor that has to be given special attention. Describing about the fund, he noted that, it has spearheaded the firm’s community investment program since its first  launch over the past 18 months and within the said period, it has supported over 50 projects worth approximately $ 7.5 million (about Sh. 12 billion). However, the CEO noted that, his firm created the fund as part of their commitment to promote sustainable development in the country for which they have seen a tangible impact in five major social areas of people’s community developments. He said that, in keeping with ABD’s objectives for its community investment programs, these have focused on long-term sustainable development projects in the areas of community livelihoods basing on supporting community development and capacity building, access to health services, education, water and environmental projects within communities surrounding the firm’s operations. However, he said that, ABG remains focused on ensuring that their host local communities benefits from their operational services and are fully delighted as they have reaffirmed the commitment of $ 10 million (about Sh. 16 billion) to the ABD Maendeleo Fund for the 2013. North Mara gold mine which opened its operations in 2002 consists of four open pits, a process plant, waste rock dumps, a tailings containment pond, and other associated facilities. Gold mining in Tanzania in modern times dates back to the German colonial period, beginning with gold discoveries near Lake Victoria in 1894. ABG is Tanzania’s largest gold producer and one of the five largest gold producers in Africa which has been contracted by the government to run four major gold mines in the country. All mining sites are located in North and others in West part of Tanzania, these are North Mara Gold mine located in Nyamongo in Tarime district. Tulawaka Gold mine in Biharamulo, Buzwagi and Bulyanhulu in Shinyanga region respectively. All mine facilities are fenced and tailings impoundment water, and other mine-impacted water, is regularly monitored to ensure that the water quality remains in compliance with the international criteria established to protect wildlife.  ABG is a UK public company with its headquarters based in London and it’s listed in the main market of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) under the symbol ABG. Prior to the company’s initial public offering (IPO), the firm’s operations comprised the Tanzanian gold mining business of Barrick Gold Corporation (Barrick) the majority shareholder.

Coca-Cola launches Coke zero brand in Tanzania

COCA-COLA in Tanzania has expanded its offering of the coca-cola range of different brands following the launch of Coke zero brand in Tanzania which took place recently at Kilimanjaro Kempinski hotel in Dar es Salaam. With this newly launched brand, the company now offers regular Coke, Coke light and Coke zero in the Tanzania market as part of its strategy to drive choice and variety to suit different consumer lifestyles and occasional needs. The Managing Director of the Coca-Cola Kwanza company, Basil Gadzios said during the launching ceremony that, the brand gives variety seeking consumers another unique and a great tasting option in addition to Coca-Cola Light. However, he noted that, the brand is sugar free though it has the same taste as the original Coca-Cola. He said that, the launch of Coca-Cola zero continues to maintain his company’s commitment to providing to their consumers with high quality products that fits their taste occasion and lifestyle needs. Describing the suitability of the new product, he noted that the soft drink is sweetened with non-nutritive sweeteners which will be available for sale in countrywide in 500ml plastic bottle at a cost of Sh. 700. According to Basil, the  launch will be supported further by a composite marketing campaign to be carried in the country in which all media channels including digital and sampling with the tagline will be involved. He said adding that, the tagline for Coke zero originated from the cola’s impressive zero sugar qualities.

The Coca-Cola brand Manager for Tanzania, Maurice Njowoka said that the new brand has a very different personality from any of their other brands. He describes the products as being fresh, edgy, bold and youthful offering consumers exciting surprises when it comes to marketing, “We believe that Coca cola zero’s taste and personality will appeal to young people who do not want to compromise on flavor or calories” he said and made another appeal to consumers to celebrate and have an exciting feel of the product during the consumer launch scheduled to take place today at Coco beach in Dar es Salaam. Coke zero, as it is often referred to, was first launched in Atlanta in 2005 and has since then has posted high sales for the last five years straight. Among more than 350 sparkling beverage brands launched since 2001, Coke zero is one of the six to surpass one percent market share, and only one to maintain it. The brand is available in more than 130 countries and continues to experience strong growth both in USA and around the world, making it the best selling addition to the Coca Cola Company’s sprinkling beverage portfolio since diet coke debuted in 1982. By using irreverent, humorous communication, the brand has established a strong connection with young adult males, a previously untapped market for diet soft drinks. Coca-Cola Kwanza Limited deals with manufacturing, distribution and selling of carbonated and other alternative beverages. It is Tanzania’s largest Coca-Cola bottling company with more than 1,000 employees serving twelve regions in the mainland and all regions in Zanzibar. The Company has three manufacturing plants located in Dar es Salaam, Mbeya and Zanzibar. The firm contributes to the welfare and development of the community where it operates by enabling availability of clean water, environmental cleaning and conservation, women empowerment through the Coca-Cola company vision of empowering 5 million women by year 2020 as well as supporting sports in schools.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

ABG records impressive development investments

AFRICAN Barrick Gold (ABG) has reiterated its commitments to continue supporting social and economic activities to people in the communities surrounding its gold mining areas of operations in the country through its ABG Maendeleo fund.  The Fund has spearheaded the firm’s community investment program since its first  launch over the past 18 months and within the said period, it has supported over 50 projects worth approximately $ 7.5 million (about Sh. 12 billion). Sources from within the firm have said. ABG Chief Executive Officer Greg Hawkins told a press conference recently in Dar es Salaam that, his firm created the fund as part of their commitment to promote sustainable development in the country for which they have seen a tangible impact in five major social areas of people’s community developments. He said that, in keeping with ABD’s objectives for its community investment programs, these have focused on long-term sustainable development projects in the areas of community livelihoods basing on supporting community development and capacity building, access to health services, education, water and environmental projects within communities surrounding the firm’s operations. However, he said that, ABG remains focused on ensuring that their host local communities benefits from their operational services and are fully delighted as they have reaffirmed the commitment of $ 10 million (about Sh. 16 billion) to the ABD Maendeleo Fund for the 2013. Furthermore, ABD pays all overheads for administering the ABD Maendeleo fund separately, which according to Hawkins 100 percent of the Fund’s expenditures go directly towards community projects. To highlight some of the work done, he noted in brief that, to date the Fund has committed more than $ 2.7 million (about Sh. 4.3 billion) to help improve public health in local communities to gain access to healthcare to a wide range that includes maternal and child health care. He further noted that, other projects in this category are those that provide training of health care workers to deliver dental care. However, he said and added that, his firm support a range of initiative in this category that aimed at helping to combat core infectious diseases namely malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis.

African Barrick Gold Chief Executive Officer Mr. Greg Hawkins talking to journalists not in the picture.

Supporting projects that increase access to education is a primary objective of the ABG’s fund whereby in this category the firm has committed approximately $ 1.9 million (about Sh. 3.0 billion). Under this category, Hawkins elaborated that, his firm is increasing educational infrastructure through building and renovations of classrooms, teachers, houses, and it also provides learning materials such as books and some other important facilities needed. However, he added that, the ABG also provides scholarships and training opportunities for students and members of the teaching professions to higher learning institutions. The fund has also invested $ 1.4 million (about Sh. 2.2 billion) towards the provision of clean water and sanitation services. One of the major projects has been around the North Marta mine in Tarime district whereby the ABG has invested $ 800,000 (about sh. 1.3 billion) in the drilling of water wells to provide nearby communities with access to clean and safe drinking water. The fund has also invested $ 1.5 million (about Sh. 2.3 billion) in over 10 projects that are aimed at supporting community development in the communities around the mining sites run by the company and the country at large. The projects provide support towards capacity building initiatives and philanthropic donations. ABG is Tanzania’s largest gold producer and one of the five largest gold producers in Africa which has been contracted by the government to run four major gold mines in the country. All mining sites are located in North and others in West part of Tanzania, these are  Tulawaka Gold mine in Biharamulo, Buzwagi and Bulyanhulu in Shinyanga region, North Mara Gold mine located in Nyamongo in Tarime district. ABG is a UK public company with its headquarters based in London and it’s listed in the main market of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) under the symbol ABG. Prior to the company’s initial public offering (IPO), the firm’s operations comprised the Tanzanian gold mining business of Barrick Gold Corporation (Barrick) the majority shareholder. ABG was cross-listed on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DES) on December 7th 2011.

Standard Chartered Bank in Tanzania records profit for 2012

THE International Standard Chartered Bank also operating in Tanzania has announced a tenth consecutive year of its income, profit and dividend growth and highlighted a strong local performance reports for Tanzania for 2012 year trading period. Speaking during a media round table on Tuesday this week in Dar es Salaam, the Chief Executive Officer for Standard Chartered Bank Tanzania Ltd Liz Lloyd said that, in Tanzania the bank has shown the outstanding performance with a tremendous growth in profit for 2012 trading period. She said that, for the trading period under review the pre-tax profit has slightly increased from Sh. 47.79 billion to Sh. 50.74 billion. This is an increase of 6 percent. Interest income has grown up by 47 percent from Sh. 58.15 billion to Sh. 85.62 billion. However, she noted that, the bank’s interest expense has also increased and this is by 118 percent from Sh. 12.5 billion to Sh. 27.4 billion. The increase of interest expense is due to the increase in interest rates the bank is offering to its customers. The bank’s balance sheet is in good shape, the CEO attributed with the facts that are highly liquid and well capitalized having retained 100 percent of the 2011 profits Sh. 35.5bn/- as well as capital injection by group of Sh. 23.5 bn/- July last year. She noted that, this tie with the bank’s growth strategy and brand promise. With operations in many of the world’s most dynamic economies, the bank now has 26 markets delivering over $ 100 million income, the group is increasingly generating income through more effective use of the bank’s network as trader grows strongly across its integrated market networks.

 In 2012 over 50 percent of the clients’ income in wholesale banking was generated outside of the home market country of the bank’s clients. At the same time consumer banking is benefiting from a fast-growing middle class as these economies expand. Speaking at the global level, the Banks’ Chairman Sir John Peace said early this week that, the bank is entering in the New Year with strong momentum in businesses as this comes from a range of markets across both wholesale and consumer banking. He says Africa and China performed particularly strongly noting that China business and Africa wholesale banking have both reached $ 1 billion of income for the first time. Income growth rates were also at least ten percent in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Americas, UK and Europe region. He says China is now the largest generator of network income, and the bank is benefiting from the trade and investment links across Greater China as the region continues to grow and converge. The bank is having 100 branches and sub branches across 25 cities and it still continues to invest within its network systems. According to him, Africa’s income grew by 15 percent to $ 1.59 billion. Ten markets delivered double digit income growth, including Kenya up 34 percent, South Africa up to 28 percent, and Ghana up to 20 percent, Zambia up to 19 percent and Nigeria up to 13 percent. However, he further noted that bank’s clients have generated 8 percent income growth in wholesale banking, commercial banking which accounts for 54 percent of clients income was up strongly on the back of growing trade and investment flows to and from the main banks’ markets. Standard Chartered bank is a leading international banking group which operates in over 150 countries in the world. The bank opened its doors during British colonial rule in 1917 in the then Tanganyika territory. It closed up its operations in the country few years after independence time in 1967 during Arusha declaration which adopted Self Reliance and Socialism ideological policies.

Dispatch of soldiers to DRC, the government seeks for parliament approval

Tanzania government is seeking for the Parliament approval before it finally sends its army soldiers to join others in a peace keeping mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Benard Membe said last week  in Dar es Salaam. Membe made a clarification during a press conference on which he took time to explain about the current government’s stand on its border conflict with Malawian government and thereby this reporter asked him a question to clarify the DRC peace settlement issue into details. In his explanation, he said that, his ministry had planned to meet the Parliamentary Accounts Committee on Defense and Security matters led by former Prime Minister and an MP for Monduli Edward Lowasa in order to discuss the matter and send a request to seek for the approval from the Parliament which starts its budget session next week. However, he noted that, Tanzania has to participate in this operation whatsoever and would be required to dispatch the first batch of 850 soldiers to fight the rebel group of M23 who have become troublesome in eastern part of DRC, and added that, this is to abide by the UN resolutions. “As other SADC countries have agreed to send their troupes to DRC, my office is going to discuss the matter with the Parliamentary Accounts Committee on Defense and Security to get an approval from the Parliament so that Tanzania may join other 6 SADC nations peace keeping force in this operation”  he affirmed. The UN Security Council last week passed a resolution No. 2098 which requires the deployment of soldiers in DRC in order to curb with the rebel groups which have been now and then causing havoc and disunity among the innocent civilians living in eastern DRC. A spokesperson from Tanzania People’s Defense Forces (TPDF) Colonel Kapambala Mgawe said Tanzania troupes are ready at any time to join the operations and are ready prepared for the mission. He said the TPDF soldiers would join with other s from Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa and other SADC nations. He said that they are waiting for the United Nations to arrange for day to start the operation ion straight as it is the body which is going to finance the operation whose mission is to restore peace in a war torn area which has become notorious with rebel groups for quite a long time now. 

Meanwhile, recent reports from New York says that  the Security Council members met on Thursday this week  whereby it was agreed to deploy about 3,100 soldiers in a war torn area mostly in Goma Town which h is located in Kivu estate which has become a centre of the rebel groups of M23. The troupe to work under the auspices of the UN would be apportioned in three different battalion, one battalion would be concerned with the direct fighting, the other would be special for air force dealing with the jet fighters, whereas the third battalion would be composed of soldiers deployed for investigating the conduct of the rebel soldiers. For couples of years now, the eastern part of DRC has not been having peace  due to the emergence of various military soldiers who form rebel groups rampaging lives of the civilians now and then and the most notorious groups of all is that one which calls themselves M23 rebels. The recently issued UN report condemned two countries in great lake regions of Uganda and Rwanda that they are directly supporting the rebel groups in eastern DRC. However, the two countries refuted the allegations. This will be the second time for Tanzania troupes to be sent to restore peace in another country. In 2008, one battalion of Tanzanian soldiers were sent in Anjouan, Comoro Island which had apparently separated with Comoro and this was in line with the implementation of the Africa Union resolutions.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Women emancipation is still facing great challenges, says a DC

IN unpresented move, then District Commissioner for Temeke district, Dar es Salaam region has said that, despite of the continued struggle to free women in the world, emancipation of women in most parts of the world Tanzania included is still facing greater challenge. Sophia Mjema made the call recently in Dar es Salaam during a three hour cocktail party event which was organized by the staff of the Eco-Bank in Tanzania for which she was the guest of honour. The party was prepared to honour women’s day which was celebrated worldwide on that day. In her speech, the DC noted that efforts is still needed from various human rights organizations and activists in order to facilitate the freedom movements of women in the world in all aspects of social and economic ways of their lives. She said that, women are denied many rights including the rights of land ownership which she said have to be allowed and use their title deeds to use them collaterals to get loans from banks, and added that this sense of reality gives an opportunity the knowledge development that would uplift the standards of women’s life. The DC has thanked President Jakaya Kikwete whose government he said has tried with many efforts to integrate women participation in decision making process. However, she has also thanked him for his ambition that aimed at promoting women in his efforts to put the gender balance equality. She has however noted that the solution to all the problems facing women is by participating them in decision making should start from the level of wards, moving to district and regional levels. “Let us reaffirmed our commitments in the right of women in this country so that women would be freed with everything possible” she said noting that, this is a concern of everybody and government organs. The event was held in honour of all women stakeholders at Eco-Bank and then banking sector in the country.

District Commissioner for Temeke Mrs Sophia Mjema

The bank celebrated this yearly event under the theme, “Gaining momentum” as the bank is in the forefront of promoting financial inclusion for women who play a very crucial role in the country’s economic growth. In his part, the Managing Director of the Eco-Babnk Enock Osei Safo said that his bank recognizes the role being played by women in Tanzania’s society. For one this, he attributed the fact that, women still remains the biggest group of food producers who forms the largest group of emerging small and midsized businesses with the highest percent rate of production. He noted that, women’s position is a key in contributing to the provision of education and basic needs. However, he added and gave an example of a popular saying that, “if you educate a woman you educate the society.” The concept has a significance in it as it implies that, it’s women who contributes a lot in the production rather than men whose contribution is lower but least to the development various social activities especially in rural areas. The Eco-Bank’s Human Resources Manager, Mrs Maryam Mgeni resounded the Eco-Bank commitment to promoting women’s position in society through the recognition of their values at the work place as their unique contribution to the country’s growth. However, she said Eco-Bank has benefited from the knowledge, skills and passion of the female’s workforce that covers about 47 percent of the 164 workers. Judging from the management of rte bank, she said that, women have been able to contribute in the phenomenon way to the growth of the bank which started its operations in 2010. Eco-Bank is one of Africa’s leading banks with a distribution of more countries in Africa and is one step bank that provides full range of products and services including investments banking, commercial tirade, business and personal banking. It operates in 33 African countries most of which from south of Sahara desert.

The Ministry insists on use of Osaka training knowledge

AFTER having maintained a poor performance record during the previous 2011/12 financial year as per the CAG report, the government has directed executives from district to regional levels including Regional Administrative Secretaries (RAS) to apply the best practices of their knowledge they had attained in Japan in order to strengthen their local governments. The directives have been issued by the Minister for Local Government and Regional Administration Hawa Ghasia to stakeholders who gathered recently 
Minister for Local government and Regional Administration Hawa Ghasia

in Dar es Salaam for a one day forum with a view to deliberate ways and possible means on how to improve their local governments in the country. The call by the Minister was preceded before she had launched a 214 paged book titled ‘Best Practices hand book’ which describes the best practices the stakeholders attained in Japan in different regular training schedules being conducted in Osaka and attended by district council directors and RASs in the country. The program is being financed by the Japanese government through its Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and run under the Prime Minister’s office. The details in the book have highlighted various examples and various methodologies adopted for development in Japan and that could be used to reform the provision of various social services in the country.  The book which has been compiled by over 250 alumni members who form Tanzania-Osaka Local Government Alumni Association, (or in short TOA) includes district council directors, RAS and other senior regional and national officials in the ministry of Local Government and Regional Administration. The stakeholders have been attending the program eleven years ago since its inception in 2002 in Osaka, Japan, the book basically describes best practices and learning technologies taken on how to strengthen local governments and later, these have been made applicable in various district councils in the country.

Describing the nature of the book, the Minister said that, the contents are worth to be emulated for the development of the local governments in the country. However, she added that, it will also work as a stimulus for information dissemination as it shows various successes attained so far while undergoing various development initiatives for public needs. The Minister insisted on the issue of time and asked the executives to be time conscious as this is one of the most prestigious resources while implementing their development initiatives targeted for their councils at all levels. The Chairman of the RAS group in Tanzania mainland, Liana Hessani told The Guardian in an exclusive interview during the forum that, the adoption of Japanese training has opened an avenue of conducting their councils matters more efficiently and to the best of their knowledge. Liana who is among the beneficiaries of the training is also the Regional Administrative Secretary for Singida region said that, the Osaka trainings is a reform program that can change the shape of the work performance in district councils in the country. The district council director for Kilindi in Tanga region, Daudi Mayeji, who is also among the beneficiaries of the training said in an exclusive interview that, the trainings he received in Japan are categorized in various segments that includes how to maintain council records and the dissemination of services to the people. He said that, generally the trainings involvers how to integrate people and coordinate their activities together into achieving better results. It also involves the coordination with the people in various development activities which are in various areas of development from production of the commodities and its supply to the market. He further described that, they are taught on how to integrate people in matters concerning with their councils and in this way it makes them to have a comparative advantage in a particular sector of development. However, he added that, good governance is another aspect of their concentration is to ward off the existing bureaucracy which has been seen to be existing thus causing an obstacle to development . He said were also taught on how to work closer to their subordinate staff and this provides closer monitoring of their work performance. Statistics made available by the Ministry of local governments shows that, during the 11 years under which the Osaka training has been conducted, more than 100 reform leaders have participated in the training and among them, the number of RASs and council directors amounts to over 70.  However, due to various reasons such as retirements, transfer and some other causes, only 21 council directors and 7 RAS who have remained in the system. However, due to that reasons further trainings are highly needed for purpose of sustainability of the original aim of Osaka training.

Office renting a nightmare in Dar es Salaam city centre

RENTING for office space in the city centre of Dar es Salaam has currently become a nightmare despite of the current high rates introduced for renting space which has been in place for the last three years, a property management expert working with the famous Knight Frank (T) Ltd has said. The firm’s Property Manager, Hamisi Hussein said recently in a telephone interview in Dar es Salaam that, the maximum rental office space on commercial grade for an office property in Dar es Salaam city has increased by 25 percent for the last three years. He said within the period under review the renting for office spaces which is hired to clients by his company and charged in terms of US Dollar, has increased from $ 15 to current $ 21 per square meter per month while the lowest has increased from $ 10 to $ 16 per square meter for the last three years. These rates are slightly lower than what is being charged in other buildings on the outskirts of the city. For instance, at Mlimani city located in Mwenge, renting charges is measured at $ 40 per square meter. However, Hussein has attributed the sudden increase as to have been exacerbated more by the recent introduction of a Value Added Tax (VAT) on property renting which started effectively during 2012/13 financial year.  In addition to these renting rates, clients in most properties have to pay a service charge of between $ 3 to $ 4 per square meter. This is for other expenses such as water, security, fumigation and refuse collection as well as land scaping with the exception of electricity and telephone charges.  Apart from office renting rates, there are other residential renting rates which are hired at an exorbitant price rates in most prime areas within the city of Dar es Salaam. According to Hussein the high class apartments are hired at between $2,000 and $ 8,000 per month depending on the location and quality of a house. He says that, in Mikocheni, Upanga, Masaki and Oyster Bay, these are the most leading prime areas in the city of Dar es Salaam whose house renting rates is higher than any other areas and charges their apartments at between $ 3,500 and $ 8,000 per month. Other areas under which his company operates is at Kijitonyama, Kinondoni and Mbezi Africana on the outskirts of the city. In these areas an apartment is hired at between $ 1,500 and $ 3,000 depending on its location and quality.  Due to the increased scarcity of the office spaces however, some residential flats in prime areas of Dar es Salaam have been converted to commercial properties, and that this is happening because offices are scarce in the city’s central business district (CBD) in downtown Dar es Salaam, this is an aspect which has forced many people to look for offices in the city’s outskirts.

An aerial view of the Dar es Salaam city.

Areas that have been affected most include Upanga, Oyster Bay, Masaki, Mikocheni, Kinondoni and Sinza areas which are also increasingly becoming office blocks. According to the source, all prime office properties available at CBD are fully occupied. However, he further noted that the trend is set to increase in future as the scarcity of offices is increasing in the city. Another real estate expert who spoke on condition of anonymity has noted that, turning residential buildings into offices was contrary to regulations although the trend is a sign of the growth in the real estate industry. He said it was an indication that there was an influx of investors in the country, hence increasing the need of office space in most prime areas. The other reasons might have been due to new companies’ expansions and the situation was contributing to the rising demand. However he added that high rate renting in Dar had become a problem as many people prefer having offices in the CBD where most government offices are located and where social services are provided reliably. Meanwhile, an official with the Dar es Salaam based housing stakeholders commonly known as 'Merchant Chamber' has said that, there are an estimated 14 million people who spends approximately 40 percent of their income for rent housing mostly single rooms in urban areas in the country. The organisation’s Secretary General Shaukat Jaffer told The Guardian in an exclusive interview early this week in Dar es Salaam that, the high cost of renting a house is due to the shortage of 3 million housing units facing low income people in most towns and cities in the country. He said that, there is an annual average increase of 200,000 housing units in cities and towns in the country which does not suffice to cater for the need of the people in urban settlements.  But despite of this slow pace of real estate development, the cost of house rent is spiraling in the city of Dar es Salaam with house owners who keep on raising the cost of their house rents year after year. The survey can reveal that, houses in prime areas are hired at an exorbitant price rates than those in ordinary areas. It has been noticed and carefully monitored with proof that, whenever the Tanzania Electricity Supply Company (TANESCO) rises the cost of their utility, owners of houses also finds it a loophole to raise the cost of their houses on pretext that the power utility firm has increased the use of electricity. The survey by this paper has discovered that, the cost of house rent in various city’s suburbs differs depending on the location of the house and its value. For example a house in Buguruni is rented differently compared to the one found in Kinondoni or Magomeni area. The survey has discovered that, renting a room closer to a central business area is fetched at a much higher rate than that one in far flung area. The reason being that, the nearest located house to a central business has good potential than those in distant areas owing to many potentials including less expenditure on transportation. It has been discovered that, a house is hired at between Sh. 300,000 and Sh. 500,000 per month for middle class people and a single room is hired at between Sh. 30,000 and 80,000 in various parts of the city suburbs. Most single rooms are affordable by low income people majority of who are in the lower class. Most rooms in this category are found in slum settlements that cover about 75 percent of the total area of the city of Dar es Salaam. The areas are Manzese, Kimara, Tegeta, Bunju, Salasala, Mwenge, Ubungo and Kawe which are in Konondoni district, Vingunguti, Kipawa, Uwanja wa Ndege, Jetty Lumo, Kinyerezi, Ukonga, Gongo la Mboto, Tabata, Segerea and Buguruni in Ilala district. Kurasini, Mbagala, Tandika, Temeke, Kigamboni   and Mbagala in Temeke district. All, of these areas compose Dar es Salaam city. All renting costs are exclusive with the charges of electricity and water supplies which are paid separately as additional expenses which a person who hires a house has to incur as operational costs

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mwinyi stresses the need for IT development

FORMER President Dr. Ali Hassan Mwinyi has underscored the need of the Information Technology (IT) for economic development and urged IT institutes in the country to stand out as pioneers in meeting the required demand to equip professionals with quality IT and business relevant skills. The Ex-President expressed his concern recently in Dar es Salaam at the 13th graduation ceremony whereby he conferred certificates for diplomas, advanced and degrees in IT and business disciplines to about 130 IT professionals who have graduated at different levels including Masters Degree at the Institute of Information Technology (IIT). The institute is affiliated with NCC education, the University of Greenwich and Pearson Vue which has been making it a one stop training and certification centre in the country for the last 23 years since its inception whereby it has trained over 12,000 graduates up to now. At present, the institute offers courses in two major areas of studies these are International programs at the level of the diplomas in both Computer studies and Information Technology as well as business studies which are internationally and locally recognized. In addition to that, it also offers one International Advanced Diploma in Business. Apart from the diplomas, the institute also offers Bachelors degrees in Business studies as well as in business information technology.  The centre also offers Masters of Science degree programs in strategic business information technology. In his speech, Dr. Mwinyi noted that the institute’s affiliation with outstanding centers of learning abroad has enabled it to transfer the IT technology to Tanzania much needed knowledge and skills for the country’s social and economic development.

Former Tanzania's President Dr. Ally Hassan Mwinyi

However, he said adding that, this affiliation with internationally renowned centers of learning means that the courses offered at IIT are also world class. The former President has however observed that, in the relatively brief period, IT and transfer of technology was universally accepted as one of the ways through which a third world country like Tanzania has managed to catch up with the developed countries in terms of knowledge and skills. “The knowledge and IT training skills provided by IIT is a springboard for rapid advancements of our people and the nation at large Your graduation is just a beginning of as new journey in which you will prove your real worth at the work place” he stressed. He also counseled the graduants in whatever they would plan to do for the development should determine a passion for excellence and read hard to develop more ideas for further understanding. Earlier the IIT Executive Director Moiz Salemwalla said in his speech that, his institute is fully committed to offering the highest quality and was always in the forefront in developing and introducing new courses and noted that, the biggest milestone of the institute is to gain the right competencies for either self employment r joining the job market. He further noted that, in July this year this institute is going to start a CBET Degree program which will be approved by National Council for Technical Education (NACTE). The program will be developed by the assistance from senior experts from Netherlands. According to him, the newly program would develop and make experts learn new innovations on teaching methodology and IT innovations making them the relevant and up to date comprehensive skills.

With population on rapid increase, Dar housing is becoming more challenging

MOST Dar es Salaam residents living from all corners of its suburbs are faced with a great challenge of acquiring land on which to build permanent houses of their own, a week long survey by The Guardian can reveal. Some of the biggest challenge includes availability of plots which currently could be easily obtained in far flung areas from the city and their prices a bit higher coupled with the high prices of building materials such as cement which is skyrocketing. The areas which are now designated for new plots are Chanika, Pugu Kajiungeni, Msongola and Kigogo Fresh along Kisarawe road and Vikindu and Kisemvule along Kilwa road as well as Bunju all the way to Bagamoyo and Kibaha about 40 kilometers away from the city. Generally these are the areas one can get a plot on which to build a house, the four road network are the major outlets that link the city of Dar es Salaam with other upcountry regions. Other challenges graced are to do with the transport which becomes so expensive for and ordinary worker when coming to work and going back home from the city. Even with those with personal means of transport, the cost of fuel becomes yet another obstacle.

The survey shows that, the prices of most plots in the designated areas which are suitable for construction of residential buildings are rising. Even unsurveyed plots are being sold at higher prices as the demand is hiting the roof, but in newly developed areas such as Majohe, Nyantira and Bomba Mbili within Ilala municipality a .hectare of land is currently sold sat between Tsh. 3.5 million and Sh. 4 million. “This is a tremendous increase says Matiko Megwe, a long time resident of Majohe kwa Mwanagati, a newly established suburb. Megwe bought his plot twenty five years ago before he started constructing his house as th3e are was still too bushy. However, he said in an exclusive interview early this week in Dar es Salaam that, the price of the same piece of land has now increased by over 20 times and could be fetched at over Sh. 5 million. Without knowing the development of human settlements, ignorance is one aspect that drives most people into a misunderstanding about their future life. According to an expert in human settlement at Ilala Municipal council who spoke on condition of anonymity, land prices in most areas surrounding the city of Dar es Salaam has been rising because population is rapidly increasing and this surges up the need for having houses to accommodate people. A government program to formulate the informal sector including surveying land and issuing title deeds to owners in various Dar es Salaam suburbs, has made the land move more valuable because the surveyed plots can be used as collaterals to borrow money from a lending financial institution. A village chairman for Bomba Mbili village in Chanika ward, Said Bakiriu says that land will soon become ac scarce commodity, judging from his own area which he said people are pushing to buy it noted that people have taken larger plots and around his area. According to the Ministry of Land and Human Settlements, Prof. Tibaijulka has drawn strategic plans throughout the country from district level had started surveying land in unsurveyed areas. For Dar city another big towns and other cities with all its suburbs,. For Dar city alone, statistics that up to December 2008 about 410,000 land owners living in unplanned areas were identified. Around three quarters of the population within the city lives in squatters. However, about 150,000 home owners have been registered and given the deeds since 2002 when the exercise started. Coupled with the rapid changes of the newly built structure coming up in more magnificent sc ale in the city of Dar es Salaam with the escalating commercial and residential flats, the sector has witnessed a tremendous boom for the last 15 years. Among the major key players in the on-going real estate boom in the city and even in upcountry regions is turning out to be none other than real estate developers who have encouraged real estate agents for commercial renting for office and residential business.

BOT issues guidelines to facilitate mobile banking services

As Commercial banks are striving to extend their services closer to the people through mobile banking services in the country, the Bank of Tanzania (BOT) has issued guidelines on agent banking for banking institutions in a bid to quicken the process. It has been learnt. The BOT guidelines to be applied to all banking institutions through their agents would help to expand and facilitate their move as in accordance to financial regulations which are made under section 71 of the banking and financial institutions Act of the year 2006. The guidelines which have been issued with effect from February 2013 by the Directorate of the Banking at the BOT, are clearly specified in a 20 paged report book a copy of which has been made available last week in Dar es Salaam. The report which contains ten main topics in it says that, the objectives of these guidelines is to provide a framework for conducting agent banking business in the country as a delivery channel for offering banking services in a cost-effective manner. In the report, the issued guidelines clearly instructs the banking institutions on the proper ways to follow how to get agents who would work on behalf of their banking activities and also to adhere to the rules and regulations set under financial Act 2006.  The report has given a summary of the detailed instructions to be followed by commercial banks and is preceded by the main topics which are illustrated and outlined into details under sub-topics given thereafter. An example of some of the few but important points is in the third topic of the guideline which connotes the approval process and permissible activities which states that, “a banking institution seeking to conduct agent banking business shall be accompanied by the documents listed in the schedule within thirty days following the receipt of an application to engage in agent banking”. However, BOT shall review the application and an approved banking institution which should engage in the most important banking activities that involves cash deposit and cash withdrawal, facilitate cash disbursements and payments and transfer of funds which according to the stipulated Act, the transactions shall not be carried out in currencies other than Tanzania shillings.

On agent eligibility, the guidelines notes that, a person intending to be appointed as an agent is required to have operated a lawful commercial activity for at least two years preceding the date of the application to become an agent and that such a commercial entity must be in full operation. The guidelines further notes that, a banking institution seeking to contract a person who has already been contracted by another banking institution to carry out agent banking, shall assess the capacity of the agent to manage transactions for different institutions in terms of space. However, an approved banking institution shall select capable and reliable agents by establishing internal selection criteria to ensure that the agents are able to discharge duties responsibly and with knowledge, capability and competency to conduct agent banking services at an acceptable quality. Coupled by the introduced BOT guidelines, some bank customers in the city of Dar es Salaam have appreciated the move when interviewed by this paper on Monday this week. Ayoub Kaswani (42) a customer with the NMB Bank said that, mobile banking activities in the country would help ease the long queue which is seen at most banks as common phenomenon especially in the city of Dar es Salaam. He says that, most bank customers are disappointed especially during end of the months’ periods when banks are flocked and the service counters becomes busy an aspect that, it takes time for a customer to be served quickly and on time.  However, An economist, Consolata Masalu noted that, mobile banking activities would help quicken the economy as there will be a quick circulation of money, compared as at a present time when far flung people especially in rural vicinity banking activities are very scarce, thus banks do not get enough money to run national economy. However, she has suggested that, the BOT who regulates the activities of the commercials banks in the country to take a quick move and make it as a force to commercial banks which out of the registered 46 banks in the country, about 90 percent of them operates in Dar es Salaam city alone. “This is not the way to mobilize the country’s economy as most people keeps their money at home” she said adding that, if money is not circulating properly, it results into higher inflation rate as the major sources of the national economy would lack money.