Sunday, August 27, 2017

Samia stresses the need to help women in Tanzania

The Vice-President Ms. Samia Suluhu has called on banks to consider creating a special lending interest rate for women in small and medium enterprises in a bide to reduce the high level of poverty among them. Ms. Samia made the call during the launching of the Women Empowerment Forum that kicked of on Friday last week in Dar es Salaam. The event had been sponsored by CRDB Bank with the view to help women in the country the majority of who are still faced with high level of poverty. The VP thanked the CRDB Bank Ltd for their innovative strategies they have shown to help women rom high interest rates which are crippling their undertakings now and then “High interest rates are backpedalling women’s efforts in coming out of poverty shackles,” Ms Samia said. She added that banks "should also come up with innovative ideas to attract women in banking their savings ... I know most of them are using piggy banks as means of saving their income. The VP launched the Dar Women Empowerment chapter before a crowd of almost 4,000 women across the city's five districts - Ilala, Kinondoni, Temeke, Kigamboni and Ubungo. She said that by uniting under the umbrella of Dar Women Empowerment Forum, the banks will go to them since the forum makes it easy for financial institutions to address women’s needs and create tailor-made products such as loans at affordable rates. Dar Women Empowerment Forum has some 15,000 members coming from grassroots levels - start-ing from street to ward to district levels. Speaking at the event, National Economic Empowerment Council Executive Director, Beng’i Issa said Dar became the 23rd region to estab-lish such forums. “The idea after opening a regional forum is for the same to cascade to dis-trict up to street level in every region,” Ms Beng’i said. She said that so far Njombe, Rukwa and Ruvuma regions have yet to create such forums in their respec-tive areas. The Tanzania Women Commerce Chamber Secretary General, Jaquiline Maleko, said the regional forum came after successfully establishing nine of them at border posts to assist women from understanding their business rights and opportunities around them. “The idea of having regional women empowerment forums is the Brainchild of VP Samia after seeing the success of the border posts ones. She then ordered the creation of the same starting at regional level,” Ms Maleko said. To support the initiative, CRDB Bank, apart from sponsoring the event that was televised live, donated 20m/- as seed money for the revolving fund to empower women in Salaa. CRDB Bank Managing Director, Dr Charles Kimei, said women are good when it come to saving but under mattresses and the bank has come up with a new product Sim Account that operates similar to mobile phone money platforms but has a bank account. “SimAccount is a bank on mobile phone and one can open an account from any mobile phone service opera-tors.” “The group account is like a WhatsApp account and any one in the group can deposit and preview the account statement to see amount deposited or withdrawn,” Dr Kimei said. The bank used the forum to launch the SimAccount that is geared towards simplifying banking services and combined mobile phone money transfer and banking services. “The SimAccount will increase banks’ financial inclusion, which at the moment stands at 17 per cent of total bankable population,” Dr Kimei said. Ilala District Commissioner (DC), Ms Sophia Mjema, said that in the near future they want the women forum to establish specific areas as markets for their products. “We want to have designated markets for selling these women’s products at specific areas in Dar. For instance, buyers will know that if I want say flower pots, I can get them at this area and so forth,” she said. The DC was also representing Dar RC at the forum and she is also Dar Women Empowerment Forum chair.  The agenda, she said, is empow-ering a large number of women and elevating them to next level coming 2020. “CRDB Bank is ready as to lend us women under the forum. We should seize the opportunity,” she said. At the moment 23 regions, 105 municipalities, and 236 wards have established such forums countrywide.

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