Vice-President Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilali.

The government has reiterated its commitment to work closely with cashew nut growers and other stakeholders to secure a ready market for the product.  This was said over the weekend by the Vice-President, Dr Mohammed Gharib Bilal,  when opening NMB Branch in Mkuranga District, Coast region.

He said the government was aware of the many challenges that cashew nut growers are facing and promised to find solutions.  “Allow me to extend our appreciation to you for extending credit to the people of Mkuranga using the warehouse receipt system. The government recognizes the challenges in accessing markets and we are trying to address it,” he said.

Dr Bilal expressed his satisfaction of the opening of the new branch, saying contribution of  the banking sector was crucial for social and economic development.  He said  opening up of new branches also meant that the banking services have become closer to the people.  Current statistics show that only ten per cent of the population has access to banking services though the figure is steadily increasing with the opening of new  branches.

Dr Bilal challenged NMB to design products that offer the best services and are affordable to reach more people.  “The government has good strategies that aim to reducing poverty. Let me throw a challenge to you to help develop and promote economic growth and employment by continuing to provide loans to the residents of Mkuranga,” he said.

Speaking earlier, the NMB Chief Executive Officer, Mr Mark Wiessing, said the opening of the new branch offers opportunities to people in the area to access banking services.  Mr Wiessing said a new bank in areas with no such facility improves financial inclusion, financial literacy, raises opportunity to finance productive activities such as trading, agriculture, and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

“It makes a true difference in the life of people, and they do not have to travel long distance to do their transactions like collecting salaries or sending and receiving money from their parents. In short, a new branch creates wealth for the community,” he said.

He said that NMB was working with the government to automate the civil servant payroll and exploring other innovative technologies.  The newly opened Mkuranga branch plans to attract 300,000 people from the community.

By MASEMBE TAMBWE, Tanzania Daily News

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