THE Minister for Trade and Industries, Innocent Bashungwa, has advised youth and female entrepreneurs not to hesitate to take loans from considerate major financial institutions, which have them at heart instead of the ones which subject them to high interest charges.
Mr Bashungwa issued the piece of advice at a workshop on Trade and Agriculture yesterday at Nyakabindi grounds in Bariadi District and organized by Tanzania Women Business Association (TABWA) in collaboration with the National Bank of Commerce (NBC) and Tanzania Trade Development Authority (TanTrade) at the ongoing Nanenane Exhibitions.
In his speech, he applauded NBC for outstanding contributions in the community, particularly by issuing loans to women and youth.
Earlier, the minister asked financial institutions to address requests of majority Tanzanians, who have been citing tough conditions on issuance of loans as a major stumbling block.
“Despite the fact that this country has a large population of women who have a great experience and capability to run business, their quests for capital was still low.
“What remains certain is that their major source of capital should be from financial institutions, but due to hurdles in accessing loans, majority of them find themselves in a trap of borrowing from unofficial lenders, who charge them big interest rates…I commend NBC for issuing friendly loans to women and youth, and I equally challenge other large financial institutions to emulate the spirit,’’ he pointed out.
The NBC Products and Channel Manager- Business Banking and SMEs, Jonathan Bitababaje, said apart from financial capacity building programmes, his bank has been offering to the traders, they have also put in place other measures in a central place.
It is a single centre where they provide all services for the entrepreneurship sector targeting mostly women.
“In ensuring that the plan becomes successful, NBC in collaboration with other stakeholders, including TABWA and Tan Trade, has been rolling out business clinics countrywide, as well as establishing NBC- Clubs which connect all businesspeople and entrepreneurs.
“They also help them to make frequent business trips, acquiring free business pieces of advices, a move that aims at strengthening their financial capabilities,’’ he added.
On his part, TABWA Director, Noreen Mawala, said that women’s readiness to access loans was, however, being affected by various reasons, including higher interests rates charged by some banks.
She further said: “We want to commend NBC Bank for their support on this as well as Tan Trade, BRELA, TRA, TBS, TMDA, SIDO, GS 1, and UDSM, among others, because they have been working closely with women entrepreneurs in efficient capacity building and providing financial assistance. They help without sticking to stiff collateral, but relax and understand majority of them.”
The ongoing three-day workshop has so far attracted over 400 participants drawn mostly from the Lake Zone regions of Simiyu, Mwanza, Shinyanga and Mara.