THE scrutiny of forex shops’ credibility is in final stages and soon the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) will give the green light for them to resume businesses, the Prime Minister said yesterday. Scrutiny, according to PM Kassim Majaliwa, will soon be completed by BoT and credible forex shops will be allowed to continue with businesses.
“We are working on the forex exchange business. With time, we will start scrutinising those we haven’t reached. You should not be worried. BoT is still investigating the matter and will act accordingly as soon as possible,”
Mr Majaliwa told a well-packed CRDB Bank Plc shareholders’ seminar before the 24th annual general meeting. The PM, however, said those allowed to operate would be licensed to do so in specific areas.
Mr Majaliwa said before forex shops were abusing BoT regulations, thus compelling BoT to close some of them late last year and early this year especially in Arusha and Dar es Salaam. “I commend CRDB for taking a lead stance and becoming the leader in foreign exchange dealings,” Mr Majaliwa said at the stakeholders’ seminar, which he later opened.
CRDB lately capitalised on a shortage of forex shops and opened a special window at its 263 branches across the country and at most entry points it set up forex shops.
The Premier also said recent government initiatives to put in place a law, accountability and transparency policies had started paying off based on recent banks’ good performance led by CRDB on profit making in quarter one of this year.
“The government believes CRDB will continue to be the market leader and an exemplary bank… Growth in CRDB’s profit during the first quarter is a testament that positive steps are being taken by the government,” he said commending the bank for a smooth top post succession plan, which was transparent.
Arusha Regional Commissioner Mrisho Gambo said CRDB should look into ways of setting aside one branch that will issue such services up to 11pm.
“Being a city that is famous for tourism, we need such services beyond normal banking hours,” Mr Gambo said, adding that the bank should support the government initiative to promote domestic tourism.
CRDB Chairman Ally Laay said at least 35 per cent of the bank’s profit was shared among shareholders as dividends each year. “Last year, CRDB issued 19.5bn/- dividend to the government and we promise that the amount will keep going up,” Mr Laay noted.
He also said concerted effort was needed to raise public awareness about investing in shares, which was still too low in Tanzania compared to Kenya and “we need to work towards improving it.” “We need to change our school curriculum to start teaching our children at primary level on the benefits of investing in shares,” the chairman said.
CRDB Managing Director Abdulmajid Nsekela said every year they had been conducting seminars before the annual general meetings to educate shareholders about various issues related to share investment. “However, this is the first time a high profile government official gracing these seminars… we thank you Mr Prime Minister,” he said.
The bank currently has 263 physical outlets and 8,000 Fahari- Huduma banking agents. It plans to increase the number of branches to 300 and to have 10,000 Fahari Huduma agents by next year.