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Central Bank comes up with new consumer protection rules

THE Bank of Tanzania (BOT) is rolling out Financial Services Consumer Protection Regulations, in a bid to protect bank customers against financial fraudsters.

The central bank further revealed that plans were afoot to have the regulations published not later than this month.

“Currently, the regulation is being reviewed by the Minister of Finance and planning before it is made public,” disclosed Dr Benard Kibese, BOT’s Deputy Governor in charge of Financial Stability and Deepening in an exclusive interview with the ‘Daily News’ yesterday.

The move is aimed at protecting bank customers against fraudsters and enhancing Cyber security measures within the banking industry which now comprehend with rapid advancements in technology across the sector.

Dr Kibese who was fielding questions on the sidelines of the 19t h East African Banking School, said the central bank had put in place a raft of measures that hinged on protecting unsuspecting customers against financial fraudsters.

According to the BOT Deputy Governor the measures include auditing of staff in all financial institutions, an exercise which was due to start anytime this week.

“Fraud still exists in the financial sector; the exercise will therefore seek to identify staff who have been conspiring with propagators of fraud and eventually fleecing bank customers,” explained the Deputy Governor.

Detailing further on the exercise, Dr Kibese said the move entails at vetting employees of various financial institutions in the country to ascertain their professional conduct and their levels of trust towards their customers.

“The exercise will eventually expunge dishonest bank officials,” he observed.

Dr Kibese noted that the central bank had made it a requirement for financial institutions in the country to be updating to the BOT on the number and nature of fraud cases reported at the banks on a quarterly basis.

The financial sector has in the recent past, witnessed a rise in social engineering attacks through sophisticated approaches with bank customers becoming the weakest points.

At 57 per cent economic crime incidence rate according to the results of the survey, Tanzanian organization continue to grapple with a relatively high prevalence of economic crimes, although faring better than its East African neighbours other than Rwanda, according to a 2018 Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey released by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The survey, has however taken note of the government’s efforts in putting in place mechanisms to ensure that such prevalence is suppressed in the near future, with President John Pombe Magufuli being keen in creating an environment of zero tolerance to corruption and other forms of economic crimes in the country.

Organized jointly by Institutes of Bankers in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, the East African Business School brings together employees, employers, regulators, policy makers and experts within the financial services to bridge the communication gap, promote co-operation, interaction and networking, exchange ideas and seek solutions to similar challenges within respective economic and banking sectors in a regional context.

Earlier on, the Chief Executive Officer at Kenya Institute of Bankers, Mr Gilbert Allela said the region was grappling with the challenge of financial fraud, calling on the partner states to cooperate in curbing the vice.

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Author: EDWARD QORRO in Arusha

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