Friday, August 30, 2013

NBC opens private banking facility centre for affluent customers

Affluent people in the society will now be subjected to special banking services, thanks to the introduction of Private Banking suite Facility by the National Bank of Commerce ( NBC). The suite will enable NBC affluent customers to access a range of products and services designed to meet their individual requirements and benefit from easier access to credit facilities offered by the bank. Under this service customers will be required to have a minimum of Sh75 million in the bank account. The NBC has opened a special centre in Dar es Salaam yesterday for that purpose. Gracing the occasion for the introduction of a newly bank service, the IPP Executive Chairman Dr Reginald Mengi said the move will help cater for the country’s growing economy. However, he thanked the bank for the step it has taken as this shows that, the bank has reached at the top higher level of performance in the country bearing the fact that, being a financial institution it plays a key role in facilitating country’s economy. He said as the number of people who require financial services in the country keeps on increasing everyday and this is made evident by the increasing number of registered banks in the country, it’s therefore prudent for banks also to think of ways to expound their services to cater for their regular needs. At this remark, Dr.Mengi praised the MD and her entire management team for the ability which has made the NBC to come at this surprise that it has enabled it to launch such a vital service at the opportune time when the country’s economy is growing at such an exceptional rate. Commenting on the launch of the bank’s Private Banking Suite. Mengi said, “The need for tailor made services is very important and added that, this is underscored by the fact that organizations which succeed are usually those which adopt to the constantly changing market dynamics by providing solutions for their customers”. 

Speaking on behalf of the bank, NBC’s Managing Director Ms. Mizinga Melu said, “since NBC has been in operation for the last 46 years the bank has been receiving new customers and hence there is a need to cope with the emerging global technological change. In view of this, therefore the bank has to look for specific requirements which have to be taken into consideration for the development of emerging technologies to suite new products and services. It is for this reason, however she added that, the bank has decided to introduce Private Banking Suite to cater for financial requirements to help achieve their ambitions and also create ways for convenience for customers by building an environment where they can realize their ambitions with ease. She said that, the centre is the first to be launched by the bank in the country, and noted that seven other centers would be replicated later in other cities and big towns in the country by end of 2014. Cornered for an exclusive interview, the Head of Bank’s retail services Mmoloki Legodu said that, with this launch the bank aim to service the diverse financial needs of their customers including their families with exclusivity. However, he said and added that, customers will be able to enjoy the attention of a dedicated relationship manager and use of this State-of-the –art exclusive facility centre to meet all the banking needs, and moreover will not need to stand in queue. Describing the suitability of the service, the Bank’s Marketing, Communications and Corporate Affairs Edwin Mhina said that, customers under this category of service would use their Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards free for every transaction. He further noted that customers will enjoy a reduction on costs for sending money through telegraphic transfer to settle payments of imported goods. These he said would be reduced to a certain percentage rate which he couldn’t immediately indicate. NBC is one of the most highly recognized retail banks in the country with 46 years experience in providing financial services. Apart from offering traditional banking services, NBC also prides itself with an expanded branch network and footprint. It has 52 branches with over 1,200 staff,  Visa and MasterCard enabled ATMs and over 250 points of sales strategically located throughout the country.

Lwaitama calls on government to accept people’s views over new constitution

As three days have remained prior to the winding up of a nationwide discussion about the new draft of national constitution, former lecturer of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) Dr. Azaveli Lwaitama has called on government to accept people’s views as directed in relation to the three tire government structure. The issue which has become a subject of debate in all constitutional council meetings in the country has sparked fear and mixed perception among Tanzanians most of whom have noticed that, the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar would come to an end if the idea would be finally approved in the constitution. Dr. Lwaitama made a remark early this week in Dar es Salaam at a constitutional council meeting which was organized by a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) known as Change Tanzania, a forum was held at a British Council hall. Describing about the issue, the don noted that, the three tire government structure would limit the President’s power and there is no means whatsoever as this issue is entirely upon Tanzanians to decide while voting for their opinions.  He said that, apart from the three government system, Tanzanians must know that there are a lot and more helpful matters to be discussed in the draft constitution which has come out with sixteen phases, in view of this, has urged Tanzanians to concentrate on other matters which will help build their economic and social life in future. The forum was attended by academicians, human rights activists, lawyers and ordinary people who gathered to discuss the way forward about the new constitution for which Dr. Lwaitama was among the three main speakers.   

Dr. Azavel;i Lwaitama in public discussion

Others speakers were  Deodatus Balile who is a member of Tanzania Editors’ Forum (TEF) and the Managing Editor of a weekly investigative  Kiswahili tabloid called Jamhuri, and  Irenei Kiria who is the Managing Director of a civil society group known as SIKIKA. Dr. Lwaitama has urged Tanzanians not to spend more time to discuss much about the three tire government structure and instead they should concentrate on other basic issues which could bring revolutionary change of mindset.  He said people must go further and scrutinize their mindset which would bring about some revolutionary changes for the development of the country in general. However, he also took time to warn Tanzanians not to make a criticism on whatever has been outlined in the new draft and instead should talk with evidences tendered so as to approve their arguments the impact on the three tire government structure. “People should also talk of good things put across by Judge Joseph Warioba’s review commission team and should not criticize anything in the constitution without proper explanations” he said. He reminded the audience that the essence of demanding for a new constitution started way back in 1964 after the army mutiny, this was first amended in 1965 with the purpose of preparing the coming of the policy of Arusha Declaration which ushered the building of a socialist state. TEF’s member Balile noted that, the draft constitution did not carry some of the most important views earlier recommended by the TEF members. He mentioned them as the formation of the journalists’ council as the current one is not recognized by the constitution. He clarified a point that, in the draft is not stated directly that the rights of the people to be informed is not only through media organs, but people can also be informed through other means so longer as it is their rights to be informed.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sitta dismisses claims leveled against Rwanda and Uganda

THE Minister for East African Cooperation Samwel Sitta has dismissed rumors which have spread within the East African Community (EAC) regional bloc that, Rwanda and Uganda member states are planning to boycott Dar es Salaam port with effect from September this year. Minister Sitta made clarification in Dar es Salaam last week in an on the spot interview when cornered by journalists who attended the swearing in ceremony of the newly appointed 8 Permanent Secretaries and 14 deputies of various ministries at State House grounds. He told journalists that, his office has not yet received official documentation as related with the withdrawal of the two EAC landlocked member countries from using Dar es Salaam port as earlier speculated, and that are planning to shift to Mombasa port for cargo handling of their goods. However, he declined to say anything further when questioned to tell the truth about the details of the current status of the two countries and their political tension as related with the recent UN report that revealed their relationships of the M23 rebel groups in Eastern DRC. On the trade link between Tanzania and the two countries, Minister Sitta said that, his Ministry has tried a bit enough to reduce the number of barriers from 43 to currently 15 along main roads linking the two countries in the country since 2011. However, Minister Sitta who is a Member of Parliament (MP) for Urambo constituency and former Tanzania’s National Assembly speaker noted that, many barriers have been noticed to be disturbing traders while transporting their goods an aspect that results into high inflation. He has thanked the Minister for Transport Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe who has played a bigger role to ward off the menace which before that was contributing to a slow pace towards the achievement of the economic development of the EAC member countries. He noted that, in order to facilitate smooth operation of the trade movements within the region, his office has put in future plans to reduce the barriers and remain with only 3 by 2020. The occasion of swearing in newly appointed Permanent Secretaries was witnessed by almost all Ministers of the designated portfolios. Also in attendance were leaders of the opposition parties in the country, close relatives of the appointees including other invited government officials. The sworn secretaries have pledged to take charge of their new positions and work effortlessly in order to ensure the government’s concept of achieving the big results now.  Consolata Mgimba the new deputy permanent secretary of the ministry of Education and Vocational Training said that, as she is taking a new ministry, she is prepared to work in collaboration with close subordinates so as to ensure that, the education sector comes up with good reputation. 

Tanzania's Minister for East African Cooperation, Mr. Samwel Sitta

However, she has pledged to make sure that, she advices her boss in the office to ward off the on-going controversy over poor educational standards in the country. She has also pledged to work on the results to be issued by the recent commission formed by the Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda to investigative the real cause of this year’s massive failure of the National form four students. Dorothy Mwanyika of the Finance Ministry has noted to work on the impending challenges that constraints the development of the entire ministry and promised to bring changes upon working closely with the stakeholders to ensure a success. On Tuesday this week, President Jakaya Kikwete announced a major reshuffle of permanent secretaries, promoting 10 deputies and dropping three others. The President also moved three permanent secretaries to new portfolios and tapped Prof Sifuni Mchome from the Tanzania Commission of Universities as the new Education Permanent Secretary in changes that saw the Permanent Secretary of the ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Patrick Rutabanzibwa stepping down voluntarily. President Kikwete also picked 14 new deputy PSs and shuffled five in a decision that saw the return of a suspended chief medical officer in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Dr Deodatus Mtasiwa who now will head the ministry of Local Government Authority and Regional Administration. Those dropped were Sethi Kamuhanda from the Ministry of Information, Omar Chambo from Transport and Mrs Kijakazi Mtengwa from Community Development, Women and Children. Announcing the changes at a news conference on Tuesday evening at State House in Dar es Salaam, Chief Secretary Ombeni Sefue, said the three dropped PSs will be re-assigned to other duties but were not specified.

TWCN: Include high leadership roles for women in constitution

MEMBERS of a coalition group, the Tanzania Women Constitutional Networking (TWCN) have analyzed various shortcomings in relation to women’s rights evident in the new constitutional draft. About 25 women groups with their representatives from various parts of the country gathered last week in Dar es Salaam in a two day seminar that aimed to deliberate various matters together with how the new constitution will help protect women’s rights in the country. The group members also had time to register their views pertaining to basic rights of women, demanding epoch making changes in key elements, apparently skipped in the draft for a new constitution. The seminar organized by the Women Fund of Tanzania (WFT) in collaboration with the Tanzania Gender Networking Program (TGNP) came up with some recommendations for consideration in finalizing the process for enacting a new constitution. One such proposal is that women should hold one of the highest ranking government positions such as president, vice-president or prime minister, by placing it in the constitution that it is part of women’s basic rights of leadership functions. Prof. Ruth Meena of the Dar es Salaam based Institute of Diplomacy, who represented WFT group, said in an interview that gender balance consideration is non-existent in the selection of high ranking government officials. This aspect of gender balance should be included in the new constitution so that it opens an avenue for women capable of holding top most positions to do so, similar to what is being done in other countries. Women’s rights on breastfeeding after child birth are not highlighted in the constitutional draft as earlier recommended by most women groups, she said. As this is a most sensitive issue for child growth, the constitutional draft should make it clear that employees (women) who are breast feeding obtain a proper   time frame to feed their babies, recommending that the time frame should be   six months instead of three as it is now, the don underlined.  There are no basic gender rights in national values, which should be introduced to value leadership ethics, she said, noting that this would lessen discrimination. 

Professor Ruth Meena analyzing a point during her presentation.

According to her, women’s rights should be made clear and with transparency embedded in the manner of implementation, such that the government’s obligations of protecting women’s rights are raised to a higher level. A regulatory tasked with following up on women’s complaints or technical inquiries is needed, to make the legal implementation process adequate, the don specified. Usu Mallya, executive director for the Tanzania Gender Network Program (TGNP), said that concern about women agenda had been raised at all levels so that they are given rights as deserved. There are still some challenges that need to be addressed in this quest, she stated. Government needs to put in place legal and policy arrangements that will facilitate equal participation of women in top level leadership, she said, underlining that a democratic constitution must acknowledge substantive gender equality.  It must include collective voices of both genders, “highlighting shared values and key principles,” she further asserted.  A Gender and Development Seminar Series (GDSS) bringing together people with disabilities, youths, entrepreneurs, small scale farmers and marginalized groups is being organized to chart the way forward in building a gender balanced society, the director noted. Susan Lyimo, the deputy chairperson of the Tanzania Women Parliamentary Group (TWPG) affirmed the vital inputs of women in attaining a democratic constitution accepted by all. Women MPs were delighted with the draft as most issues they proposed had been taken up but a few issues relating to essential expectations of women constitutionally, she said. It is vital to have a constitution which caters for the needs of all and throughout recognizes the positive contribution of women in society, she said, informing seminar participants that the deliberations and views would be tabled in the forthcoming session of the National Assembly. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Substandard products dominates local market despite ban

THE government’s efforts over the control of the illegal supply of imported counterfeit products from entering in the country might have hit a snag as the local market is still dominated by substandard products, the survey can establish. The survey carried out at Kariakoo main trading hub of the central wholesale and retail market complex for all things in downtown Dar es Salaam has found out that, imported goods mostly electrical and electronic communication products of the same brand are sold at a different price rates irrespective of their country of origin. Buyers are openly informed and sometimes briefed of the nature of a product they intend to buy by shopkeepers in order to make them be assured of the manufacturing company and their countries of origin. Some interviewed shop attendants said in interview that,  most of genuine products comes from European nations as they have longer durability, with the poorest and low quality products coming from far East countries mostly China, a factor that drives a substantial number of buyers become perplexed and rather confused. The survey has noted that, it is a normal thing to see that an electrical product of the same brand, size and shape such as Circuit breakers, Earth rod and a Main switch which are used largely for wiring purposes in residential houses are sold at different price rates.The same thing applies in most retail shops selling imported cell phone batteries displayed in frames made of glasses. The extensive bulk of these products put on display have different price rates depending on their durability.  This is confusing in regard to the normal saying among the people who attributes the fact that, a product which is sold in lower price rate is low in terms of quality, compared to those sold at a higher price rate which buyers assumes to be of good quality.  The perception confuses the minds of many buyers and users of such products who together with their inferiority complex towards the general understanding of the concept, scores of them ends up buying counterfeit products without their knowledge.  Johnson Msigala (36), a resident of Mwananyamala who was cornered by this writer strolling around in a shopping spree noted that, there is a possibility of cheating on these products most of which are imported and are on high supply by some shop owners. A spot check reveals that, a genuine earth rod assumed to have longer lifespan is sold at Sh. 45,000 while others with shorter span can be fetched at between Sh. 3,500, Sh. 8,000 and Sh. 15,000 respectively depending on their sizes and their country of origin.  Shopkeepers have revealed that, earth rods have different sizes and quality in such that the highest paying product has a copper lining while the fake ones do not have copper and are purely made of iron. An electrical circuit breaker which is among important electrical equipment is sold in two different prices, the one for China made is fetched at Sh. 18,000, whereas another one supposed to have been imported from UK is fetched at between Sh. 80,000 and Sh. 100,000 respectively. The main switch with four way gang is also sold at different price rates although there are only two types available in the market. These are main switch for MCL Co. Ltd based in Dar es Salaam which can be fetched at Sh. 45,000,  A similar type of the main switch being supplied by a Dar based TAN-UK firm is fetched at Sh. 18,000.  Both of these two types of main switches are imported from China, but the two companies are the main suppliers say one shopkeeper Ismail Khan, a Tanzanian of Asian origin. However, he said in an exclusive interview that, a product which sells at a lower price rate definitely has shorter lifespan than those sold higher. James Peter a resident of Buguruni queried and wondered if shopkeepers confess themselves to be selling products with low quality design standards, what then is the government doing to save consumers in the country?  Commenting on the effects of such equipment a long experienced electrical technician working as an agent for TANESCO, a sole power utility firm in the country said that, electrical goods with the lowest price rates do not last longer if used for wiring.  Jeremiah Mukoyi (35) revealed that, by using such equipment it will require regular replacements in a periodical check up as most of these equipment are not sustainable enough in terms of use for they are prone to leakage and thus causing frequent lose connections in the whole wiring systems. The government through its organ the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) has since early this year put down various major strategic measures as precautions in order to curb with the increased phenomenon that caused fear to buyers of such goods in the country. Consumers of such products have ever since threw a blame to TBS for what it had shown as a total failure of accountability which has ultimately resulted into giving rise to mushrooming of counterfeit products in the country. However, TBS Spokesperson Roida Andusamile was recently quoted by the media as saying that, despite of much efforts spearheaded by TBS, less has been achieved to fully curb the phenomenon by 100 percent rate simply due to the presence of numerous ways used by unscrupulous traders as porous borders better known as “panya routes” within our country’s national frontiers. According to the Executive Director of Tanzania Consumer Society (TCS) Bernard Kihiyo, counterfeit products will stop flowing in the country if there would be a joint collaboration of the stakeholders among the five East African countries. Kihiyo is on the view of the fact that, there should be a mechanism that needs to be established which would be able to destroy syndicate behind the importation, distribution and sale of sub-standards goods.

Dar airport beefs up safety equipment

Tanzania will soon install a $Sh3.4 billion surveillance and communication equipment to boost the country’s airspace monitoring system in the Eastern regions.  Currently, the Tanzanian airspace is mainly monitored by the multi-billion shilling  radar purchased controversially from the British Aerospace Engineering (BAE) Systems.  The new surveillance and communication equipment would boost the current radar system, which also suffered technical problems recently. Ms Bestina Magutu, a Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority ( TCCIA) Information Officer, said in Dar es Salaam on Friday last week that the two equipment to be installed at the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere  International airport would cost a whopping  Sh 3.3 billion to be disbursed during the 2013/14 financial year. She said the surveillance equipment known as Automated Data Surveillance (ADS-B) would cost Euro 959,490 (Sh 2.0 bn/-) and that of collecting and sending aviation reports known as Aeronautical Message Handling System ( AMHS) would cost Euro 621, 345.2 (Sh1.2bn/-), both of which would be procured from Germany. She said the move was aimed at revamping the country’s aviation communication and safety, and that a German firm known as Comsoft had since been awarded a tender which will also install satellite machines. She further noted that implementation of this project was would commence early next year. Describing the suitability of the two devices, a TCAA technician, Engineer Valentina Kayombo said that installation of these two machines would give air traffic controllers a quick and overall control of the eastern horizon of the country, including the Indian Ocean. She said  this was just the beginning of a larger project which would soon cover the country’s northern, western, and southern horizons -- depending on the availability of funds in forthcoming budget allocations. Engineer Kayombo noted that TCAA was determined to catch up global technological changes within the civil aviation industry, to effectively maintain the highest standards of air traffic control. She noted that Tanzania becomes among the first African countries to have used the newly introduced technology once  installed. Asked if these were new radar equipment, she said although were similar in function, these would help the current radar to receive more aviation information because they have greater capacity to grasp information from afar.  She made these clarifications in relation to the controversial radar system -- the biggest in the country -- which was bought from the UK-based  BAE Systems company. Kayombo said the two devices were bought specifically to help boost the capacity of the current radar system, whose lifespan would soon come to an end. Meanwhile,  the government through Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) will provide sponsorship for the training  of pilots during the 2013/14 financial year. TCAA Information Officer Bestina Magutu told a news conference that the government would ensure it gets enough and well trained indigenous pilots. She said the pilots’ training programme would be sponsored by a special training fund -- earlier established by the TCAA in 2007 -- known as ‘Civil Aviation Contribution and Administration of Training Fund’.  Various civil aviation stakeholders have since donated some $200,000 (equivalent to Sh. 320 m/-) to run the fund, she said, adding that more donations were expected.  She said five Tanzanians had been selected for sponsorship during this financial year to undergo a 14-mpnth training session in South Africa – out of 272 candidates who had applied for sponsorship. TCAA is a semi-autonomous public institution responsible for overseeing the country’s aviation industry. The authority was established in 2000 as a corporate body and is governed by seven board members. The authority is charged with ensuring safety, security and regularity of civil aviation in Tanzania by providing effective oversight and efficient air navigation services while maintaining quality, protecting the environment and safeguarding the interest of consumers and the public.