Sunday, January 24, 2016

An MP to insist construction of dry port in Dodoma designated capital

A MEMBER of Parliament for Mtera constituency in Dodoma Region, Livingstone Lusinde, plans to table a private motion in Parliament for establishing an inland port in the designated capital. He told reporters here that inland port in Dodoma would boost the economy of the region and help in providing job opportunities for the residents to contribute in poverty alleviation efforts by the government. He said Dodoma was a potential area for inland port investment as it strategically located to serve other neighbouring regions and landlocked countries of Burundi, DR Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. Dodoma Region is directly connected by road or rail to a seaport and could therefore operate as a centre for the transshipment of sea cargo to inland destinations, he said. 

Dodoma designated capital city.

The legislator said the region should be accorded its due status as the capital of the country and big investments which would help to raise the economy of the region and help to lift the people out of poverty. “Countries such as Rwanda, Burundi and Congo would easily take their cargo from Dodoma and this will expand investment activities and increase the fortunes of the region,” he said. He said by its location in semi-arid area, the economic potential of the Dodoma Region were limited to a few areas hence investments in inland port would be much needed. Dodoma Region is connected to Dar es Salaam with a major highway that passes through Morogoro Region. To the west, there are roads to Mwanza and Kigoma going through Tabora. The Great North Road links the city with Arusha to the north, via Kondoa. The region is also served by the Central railway line which connects it over a distance of 465 kilometres (289 mi) with Dar es Salaam in the east.

Govt orders immediate payments of debts to TEMESA

THE government has issued a three-month ultimatum for government institutions, which have not paid their debts of repairing their cars to Tanzania Electrical, Mechanical and Electronics Service Agency (Temesa) to pay them immediately. The order was issued here at the weekend by the Minister of Works, Transport and Communication, Prof Makame Mbarawa, when he was speaking to TEMESA employees at Kigongo Ferry during his official tour in Mwanza city. TEMESA is the government agency whose function is to provide electrical, mechanical and electronic engineering services to both public and private customers, to run safe and reliable ferry services and to hire out plant and equipment. The minister said he was prompted to issue the order after learning that TEMESA was in critical condition such that it had failed to run its activities due to lack of funds. He said the order was also directed to offices of regional and district commissioners whose cars were repaired by the agency but they failed to pay their debts on time. Prof Mbarawa announced that come April month this year all government institutions should pay their debts to Temesa on time. “I’m providing three months for government institutions which have failed to pay their debts after their cars were serviced to pay the debts immediately. These government institutions sometimes send their cars to private garages at higher costs and pay in cash, why should they fail to pay on time to TEMESA”, he wondered. He urged Temesa workers across the country to work hard and ensure that they were repairing government vehicles on time. “If you fail to repair government vehicles on time, the door you used to come in is the one you will use to go out. There are many Tanzanians who are capable of doing your job”, the minister noted. Prof Mbarawa said the government agency must adapt to the structure of its operation and the government will discontinue working with institutions whose workers do not want to change and manage public resources. On his part, Mwanza Temesa Regional Manager Engineer Ferdinand Mishamo said TEMESA faced many challenges including that of debts of government institutions. He said in 2014/2015 Temesa was claiming total of 411,712,952/- as debts from government institutions and a total of 173,667,234/- from other debtors. “We’re also requesting two new cars in order to carry out our daily activities efficiently considering the fact that our region has a big network of ferries services and garage operations”, he added.

Tanzania’s rural life to slightly improve

Life is set to improve 10,000 families living in rural Tanzania in the next two years following commencement of a multi-billion Tanzania Domestic Biogas Programme (TDBP) project effective this month, courtesy of the Dutch and Tanzanian government. The scheme launched by the Tanga Regional Commissioner (RC) Mwantumu Mahiza at Boza village, Pangani District in Tanga Region on Thursday will build for individual clients modern, affordable and environment friendly biogas plants at a cost of only Sh960,000 following a discount of Sh240,000 in the first six-month period ending in June. The Tanzanian government through its Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has injected over Sh3bn into the Sh9bn project whose difference was shared by the Dutch government through the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) and whose biogas plant construction costs expected to be partially contributed by individual beneficiaries. “I am sure the life standard of those setting out to embrace the programme will definitely improve, given the big money involved in the project, REA and SNV commitment to execute it and the rural residents’ desire to exploit benefits from biogas plants,” Mahiza said. She challenged rural residents across the country into taking advantage of the six-month Sh240,000 discount, courtesy of REA to install biogas plants in their households. “You have to grab this opportunity of  Sh240,000 REA has facilitated, for if  you fail to make use of it within the six-month period effective this January, the discount may be slowly reduced,”  she told the villagers. But the Dutch and the Tanzanian governments are not alone in the rural electrification endeavour as the Dutch Development Cooperation (DDV) also has forged credit line venture with Tanga Diary Cooperative Union (TDCU) through launching  a Euro100,000 (Sh230m) Biogas Credit Revolving Fund (BCRF) to offer soft loans dairy farmers wishing to acquire biogas plants in Tanga Region. “By launching the Credit Fund the dairy farmers in the region will now have double advantages. One, out of the discount and two, a soft loan to be paid gradually from farmer’s produces,” said RC Mahiza, adding; “This is a perfect development financing model for our disadvantaged farmers and peasants, marking a revolution in both biogas and dairy industries.” 

Water shortage is still a perennial problem in most rural areas in Tanzania 

The TDBP Coordinator who also represented the Centre for Agricultural Mechanization and Rural Technology (CAMARTEC) at the event, Lehada Shila hailed the move as significant in both protecting the environment and fighting the adamant rural poverty. “The launching of  the TDBP phase two has been made possible by a massive success achieved by the phase one drive in which more than 12,000 biogas plants were built across the country with Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Mbeya, Tanga, Kagera, Njombe and Iringa taking a lion’s share,” she said. “Now in phase two, we are not only going to increase the seal and speed to implement the project, but we have already managed to come up with a new, more technologically viable biogas plant with several advantages to a farmer,” she said. Commenting on the project, TDCU Chairman Salim K Rajab said TDBP has proved to be a dairy farmers’ ally in fighting poverty and in search for reliable and clean source of domestic energy. “With a biogas plant you gain several benefits including that of lighting your home with cheap, clean and reliable biogas bulb, turning animal wastes into animal food, farm manure leading to increased farm harvest.  What else do you demand out of such a profitable venture!” she said expressing admiration on the move. She was backed by Martijn Veen, the SNV Sector leader, who said even the liquid left-over from biogas process used as an organic fertilizer to increase crop production, is bound to boost farmers’ income and at the same time contribute  to environmental sustainability. He said biogas plant provides a sustainable opportunity for individual households with livestock to reduce dependency on firewood and fossil fuels, and to benefit from modern and clean energy as a biogas digester converts the dung from livestock into biogas, which is used for cooking and lighting. A quick tour to Elibariki Kishia (74), a resident of  Boza villager, who built his biogas plant several years ago with support from the TDBP showed how  his then investment of roughly Sh600, 000 shillings has transformed his economic and living standards into phenomenal heights. “Through the biogas plant I generate power to light my house, energy to cook, manage to save forests and retire my wife and grand children from firewood collection and use the wastes and leftovers as manure, animal feeds and even as insect repellents,” the elder said. TDBP started operations in 2009, as part of the Africa Biogas Partnership Programme (ABPP). ABPP is a joint venture between the Netherlands Directorate for Development Cooperation (DGIS), the Humanist Institute for Co-operation with Developing Countries (Hivos) and the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV). The programme aims at initiating and assisting large-scale dissemination of domestic biogas in Tanzania, through a market-based approach. TDBP is hosted in the Centre for Agricultural Mechanization and Rural Technology (CAMARTEC), a parastatal under the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Marketing, based in Arusha.

Germany offers Euro37m for EAC

The Federal Republic of Germany has signed an intergovernmental agreement with the East African Community (EAC) to support the economic integration, regional health facilities and water resource management amounting to Euro37m (Sh87.9bn) for 2016-2018. The grants highlight the strong commitment by the Germany government to support the East African integration process. According to the pact, Euro 10m (Sh23.7bn) in financial assistance will be invested in the establishment of a regional network of reference laboratories for communicable diseases. With this project, the German Government responds to a request for support from the EAC for the prevention and control of epidemic outbreaks in the region. The other Euro10m (Sh23.7bn) in financial assistance will be used for Integrated Water Resource Management of Lake Victoria aiming at improving water provision and management of water resources with both projects being implemented by KfW development bank. At least Euro 17m (Sh40.3bn) also will cater for technical assistance will be made available to further support the economic integration process, including a contribution to the EAC partnership fund. The programme is focusing on institutional strengthening of the EAC Secretariat and on supporting the implementation of the Customs Union, Common Market Protocols and Monetary Union. This includes the elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers such as tax harmonisation as well as Mutual Recognition Agreements for qualifications. At the same time Germany will support the EAC in promoting private investment especially in the pharmaceutical sector, including the establishment of a regional quality infrastructure for the pharmaceutical sector. These projects will be implemented by GIZ and PTB – German Metrology Institute. Dr. Richard Sezibera, the EAC Secretary General, thanked the German government for the continued support to the Integration Agenda especially at a time when integration is facing challenges across the world. He said this particular financing agreement comes at the right time when the Community is finalising its New Vision 2050. John Reyels, ChargĂ© d` Affaires of the German Embassy Dar es Salaam, said: “Our support underlines the importance we give to the East African Community. The EAC is a role model and pace-setter in Africa and we are proud working closely with you in order to contribute to the well-being and prosperity of the citizens of this region.” Since cooperation began in 1998 the total volume of German support to the EAC amounts to almost Euro213m (Sh505.7bn). Germany also has substantial bilateral cooperation with all five EAC Partner States.

How Tigo-Tanzania values its customers on financial inclusion

Mid this week, financial stakeholders in the country witnessed a mobile operator Tigo announcing the first quarterly payment for 2016 of 4.4bn Tshs (US$ 2.1 million) to be shared among its 4.6 million Tigo Pesa users. This is a new year’s development to the beneficiaries of this lump sum money who includes individual customers, retail agents and company’s business partners each based on the e-value they have stored in their Tigo Pesa wallets. The dividends has been distributed by the company to millions of users of Tigo Pesa, making it the first telecom company in the world to share its Trust Account profit in the form of a quarterly distribution. Clearly this is an encouragement that shows how the mobile phone operator values its customers in a business oriented operation aimed at promoting the development of financial inclusion in the country. “The objective of this dividend is to offer all Tigo Pesa stakeholders an opportunity to share in this return on their investment depending on the e-value they have stored in their Tigo Pesa wallets”, says Tigo Head of Finance and Risk for Mobile Financial Services, Obedi Laiser when he announced the offer. According to him, such a transaction is an expression of the company’s continuing commitment to support economic and financial inclusion in Tanzania by extending the use of Tigo Pesa across the country. It has become a trend of normal circumstances as this is the seventh time in a row that the company is distributing profit to its mobile financial services users since 2014 when Tigo Tanzania first started to pay profit share to its mobile phone users. Tigo Tanzania started to effectively engage in money transfer technology in 2009 and five years later the company began to distribute its share profits as dividends among its customers in the country. Tigo sees this as the next logical step in financial inclusion, with important customer and agent benefits, and hopes to be able to replicate this in other markets. The revenue share model has the approval of the Bank of Tanzania (BOT), allowing Tanzania’s leading digital lifestyle company, to increase e-money deposits and mobile money transactions via new loyalty incentives. The Tigo Pesa profit share distribution scheme is in line with the Central Bank Circular issued in February 2014 whereby the company’s financial statistics shows that Tigo has so far paid a total of 35.5bn/- to Tigo Pesa users in seven quarterly disbursements since the launch of the service in July 2014.  Within the said trading period, the Tigo Pesa Trust account has been accumulating returns at rates between 5 and 20 percent respectively. 

With the notion to improve financial inclusion in the country, the company has launched over 500 new network sites between 2103 and 2014 and plans to double its investment by 2017 in terms of coverage and additional capacity networks for deeper penetration in rural areas. Such development initiative is a milestone bearing in mind the fact that with the introduction of mobile money transfer technology in Tanzania, commercial banks have been flourishing as customers make regular transactions to cater for their daily business needs. Users of Tigo mobile money transfer have praised this technology since it was introduced in the country in early 2010, with Tigo pesa being among the leading money transfer technologies that opened up the Tanzania market. Laiser further says that, “Tigo Tanzania launched a new campaign dubbed ‘Choose Tigopesa, It pays’ that aims at bridging the unbanked gap and increase financial inclusion. The aim of this initiative campaign is to increase availability of Tigopesa services all over the country. “Tigo now covers 90 per cent of Tanzanians who own cell phones and our main objective is to provide a trusted service ensuring that Tigopesa continues to be the most preferred mobile financial service,” he said. According to him, Tigopesa is convenient, more secure and profitable to their customers, thus making it the easiest way to store, send, grow, pay or borrow money especially for unbanked customers in the country. Tanzanians transferred more cash more via their mobile phones than the entire banking system in 2013, with official data showing that mobile transactions reached almost Sh29 trillion – equivalent to 54 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Transactions through mobile phones totaled Tshs. 28.8 trillion in 2014 to consolidate the position of mobile transfer as an increasingly important player in the country’s financial system, Bank of Tanzania (BoT) figures show. That was a 65 per cent growth from transactions worth Sh17.4 trillion conducted in 2012, according to the BoT’s Directorate of Banking Supervision Annual Report, 2013. To put this into perspective, the value of mobile transactions in 2013 was equivalent to 54 per cent of the total market value of all goods and services produced in Tanzania. The BoT figures show that mobile transfer is fast becoming the most widely used medium of cash transactions, overtaking traditional systems such as automated teller machines (ATMs) and points of sale (PoS).