Monday, February 19, 2018

TPB banking transactions moves digital

In a bide to keep abreast with the global technological changes, banks have seen the need to facilitate their banking activities through, mobile phones. The bank has seen this is the only way to get closer to their customers as they would also in turn get an easy access of the banking transactions. Tanzania Postal Bank, popularly known as TPB Bank does not left behind and this time around, the bank has decided to facilitate their transactions through mobile phones as witnessed over the week end. TPB Bank PLC in partnership with the Savings at the Frontier (SatF) programme, yesterday launched an innovative 1 million US dollar project to connect the bank with savings groups in Tanzania. The overall aim is to help Tanzanians in rural and periurban areas to save money safely and conveniently through their mobile phones. Speaking during a joint news conference in Dar es Salaam, TPB Bank Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Sabasaba Moshingi said the project will start in Ruvuma and then expand to Mtwara, Lindi, Njombe, Iringa and Morogoro. “Digitising Informal Savings Mechanisms’ project will run for three years. Through the project, TPB plans to create financial linkages with 300,000 new customers by the year 2020,” said Mr Moshingi. The CEO further said TPB was the first bank in Tanzania to introduce mass-market mobile banking under the name TPB POPOTE. It has now created a group mobile platform that allows groups to save, take loans and make contributions to their social funds, all via their mobile phones. Mr Moshingi said Tanzanians with very low and erratic incomes in rural and peri-urban areas face the main known challenge of proximity to a financial service provider. TPB’s solution allows a group and individual to use technology and save digitally, making it safer, cheaper as well as more convenient and more transparent. TPB plans to take an even more central role in promoting financial inclusion and fostering an environment that will improve the socio-economic well-being of every Tanzanian. The SatF’s Programme Manager, Mr Steve Peachey said his organisation is in partnership with MasterCard Foundation and Oxford Policy Management to improve the financial inclusion of low-income individuals and communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. TPB is the first partner institution that the organisation (SatF), will be working with in Tanzania, Ghana and Zambia, he said. “What attracted SatF to partner with TPB is the boldness of its initiative and the way it wants to help individuals create their own groups with financial linkage built in from the start,” Mr Peachey said.

Water as a perennial problem in the city of Dar es Salaam

Water has become a social problem in many places in Tanzania and the government has been trying all it can in order to ward off the impediment that con trains the development of water sector in the country. Despite this effort, the government has also been calling upon the engagement of the private stakeholders in the fight in order to get the lasting solution to the problem which by no means is quite negligible whatsoever as far as its use is concerned. In view of this however, THE government has urged the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority (DAWASA) and Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Corporation (DAWASCO) to work closely with other stakeholders in an effort to end water shortages in the region. The call was made recently by the Deputy Minister of Water and Irrigation, Jumaa Aweso, in Kigamboni District during his tour of Dar es Salaam Region to inspect implementation of water projects and accessibility of water to city residents. The Deputy Minister asked Dawasa and Dawasco to work closely with municipal and district councils in the region and other water stakeholders so as to ensure they achieve their target of ending the city water blues. According to Dawasa, currently, 75 per cent of Dar es Salaam residents are connected to formal water network while the rest are not connected to the network and lack access to safe and clean water. Some areas which have been mentioned as facing acute problem of access to clean and safe water include the newly formed district of Kigamboni and Segerea constituency which lacks water infrastructure. However, Dawasa and Dawasco are working on the problem so as to enable the areas be connected and have water access by introducing various projects in the areas, to ensure the government’s target of reaching 95 per cent of Tanzanians have access to clean and safe water is achieved. In Kigamboni District, Dawasa are conducting several projects including drilling 20 boreholes and erecting water tanks in the first phase to be followed with infrastructure such as pipes from the source to customers. Dawasa Deputy Director of Technical Services Modester Mushi disclosed that in an effort to tackle the problem in Kigamboni District, the authority is currently conducting projects at Vijibweni and Kimbiji in Kisarawe II Ward where they are drilling 12 deep wells. Eleven of them are already completed and have the capacity of providing 250,000 to 500,000 litres per day. However, she unveiled that the second phase of the project which involves the erection of infrastructure such as pipes is yet to start due to lack of funds. But, Dawasa is working around the clock to get the funds to complete the project through soft loan from Exim Bank of China, which they are expecting to get. Deputy Minister Aweso commended the good job by Dawasa for implementing various water projects in the district in an effort to solve the district water blues for good and urged them to ensure the projects are completed in time. He went on to advise Dawasa to see how they can start using the 11 completed wells to reduce water crisis in Kigamboni District.

Cassava is an important staple food for Africans

Cassava deserves to be a most leading crop in African countries for it is among the draught resistant crops grown throughout then year. It is a non seasonal crop and that is why Tanzania is in the forefront to mainstream the cultivation of this crop. Tanzania’s efforts in increasing food security by having improved varieties of cassava have received a major boost of 35 million US dollars in new funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UK aid from the United Kingdom. According to a statement issued by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) yesterday, Cornell University will expand international efforts to deliver improved varieties of cassava to smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. “This grant funds a second five-year phase that will allow us to build on previous work and focus on getting improved varieties into farmers’ fields,” said Ronnie Coffman, international plant breeder and director of Cornell’s International Programmes in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, who leads the project. During Phase 1 of the Next Generation Cassava Breeding project - also funded by the Gates Foundation and UK aid from 2012 to 2017 - researchers shortened the breeding cycle for new cassava varieties by improving flowering and using genomic selection. 

Through analysing plant genotypes and identifying cassava lines with desirable traits, such as resistance to cassava brown streak disease or high dry matter content, breeders also improved their ability to make selections based on genetics and probability without having to wait for seedlings to reach adulthood. These methods save breeding time for a crop where flowering and sexual propagation are issues. In Africa, NextGen collaborators include the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and the National Root Crops Research Institute in Nigeria; the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement in Ghana; the National Crops Resources Research Institute and Makerere University in Uganda and the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute. Another goal of Phase 1 was to make cassava genomic information publicly accessible on an open database. Cassava researchers all over the world are now comparing results and improving breeding programmes without duplicating efforts by using Cassava base. To reduce cost per progeny and improve the quality of data uploaded to Cassava base in Phase 2, Next Gen researchers will use additional methods of whole genome sequencing. “Our focus for the next five years will be to translate this research into breeding practices to increase impact,” said Chiedozie Egesi, NextGen project director and adjunct professor of plant breeding and genetics at Cornell, who is based at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria.

Waitara sparks for new airport to stir economic development

Every economic development which is being championed by any country in the world, for it to grow it needs good infrastructures that could enable the important features to be taken as part of development initiatives. In Tanzania such initiates are there like the ongoing construction of Chato International Airport in Geita Region which has taken high speed is set to stimulate and promote tourism in the area and enhance the sector’s contribution towards economic growth. The new airport will also mark a gateway to international tourism attraction sites in the region like the Rubondo island national park in Chato District and those in the Lake Zone regions. The 39 billion/- airport project is expected to be completed this year and already 65 per cent of the project is complete, the project Supervisor Eng Makoye Luhya said. The Board Chairperson of the Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa), Retired chief of defence force, General George Waitara told reporters that the airport will attract business opportunities to countries across the Great Lake Regions. While the Geita Regional Commissioner (RC), Eng Robert Gabriel said the airport will provide the area with an efficient transportation facility that opens up the region to international market and that thousands of people will be travelling through this facility for the purpose of business and leisure. Eng Gabriel made the remarks when he recently visited the airport accompanied by other government officials including TANAPA Director General, Mr Charles Kijazi, Chato District Commissioner (DC), Shabaan Ntarambe and the Head of Rubondo Island Natiaon Park, Mr John Gara. “Every individual, including farmers, in their capacity will be in a position to utilise the opportunity for the growth of their economy and that of the nation,” he said. He said that tourist attraction sites in the regions of Kigoma and Kagera will now be easily accessed by tourists from abroad.

Ethical practices are important to observe professionalism

Ethical practices on every profession are an important step forward to ensure good conduct of work rules and regulations everywhere in the world. Opening a two day workshop for stakeholders dealing with management and implementation of court broking and processes in Dar es Salaam, Dr Wambali said that they were concerned over some brokers who abuse their authorities, resulting in tarnishing the good image of the Judiciary. He pointed out that it was well known to all that court brokers and process servers have the noble duty of ensuring execution of judgments given by courts is done in accordance with available rules and procedures. “Therefore, the execution process of judgments must be served by people with, not only honesty and high moral values, but also with skills, scope and experience in laws and rules relating to servicing, hearing of cases and execution of decrees,” he said. The principal judge said that it was true in 1997 there was enactment of appointment, remunerations and disciplinary rules for court brokers and many of them applied such rules in conducting their duties. However, he said, no training has been conducted since then, save for an emergency one conducted in 2003. “This situation resulted in a lot of complaints from both parties to cases and the general public on weaknesses observed, including procedural violations and lack of moral integrity in the implementation of duties for court brokers,” he noted. Dr Wambali observed that though some court brokers had appeared before the Ethical and Appointment Committee for assessment of qualifications, understanding and abilities in carrying out their duties, most of them did not have enough knowledge on rules governing the conduct of their duties.