OFFICIALLY opening this year Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF) also known as Saba Saba Day that takes place annually on the seventh of July at the Mwalimu J.K.Nyerere Trade Fair Grounds in Dar es Salaam, the Vice-President, Dr. Philip Mpango called upon financial institutions to ensure that they maintain a closer relationship with entrepreneurs to help them grow their capital, an opinion analyst would not hesitate to support.
Equally, NBC Bank should be praised for braving and sponsoring the DITF for 4 years in a row, given its role as the shop window for Tanzanian products as well as the East, Central and the Southern African Region.
Supported by the services of the Dar es Salaam Port that serves the region effectively, the fair acts as One Stop Centre for reaching countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Botswana in terms of trade and this is also what boosts diplomatic ties in the bloc.
His school of thought is that there is a need for these financial institutions to sit down with stakeholders - especially the private sector – to resolve the issue of higher interest rates they charge so that more businesses can benefit from reasonable loans and boost their capital. Right!
Dr. Mpango made the statement when visiting the NBC Bank pavilion at the ongoing DITF on Monday, where he commended the bank for its enormous sponsorship of the exhibition and equally asked its (the bank) management to uphold the relationship it has with traders, because it the essence of its establishment.
“NBC Bank’s sponsorship in this Fair is a good sign of its commitment to being closer to the traders. I urge you to stay closer to them so that you can help them, while continuing to improve your services at the same time,” said Dr.
Mpango. Flashing back last month, President Samia Suluhu Hassan directed the Central Bank to take appropriate measures and address high interest rates of banks to their clients, suggesting that it should be reasonable/friendly for the lenders.
The President issued the call, noting that some financial institutions were charging above 20 per cent interest rates, dwarfing business growth and this is not the business climate traders want. In this scenario, the leaders concern on reduced charges of the banks will definitely mean development right to the grassroots for all to enjoy from the presence of the financial institutions in the country.
This fair should routinely be sponsored, because it enjoys patronage of the Tanzanian business community, who both exhibit and use it as a forum for business exchange.
That was why the bank’s Managing Director; Theobald Sabi added that their participation and sponsorship was largely influenced by the need to be closer to stakeholders, especially traders.
“Our presence at this exhibition is not only limited to showcasing and providing our service,s but has also gone a step further to working with the organizers, the Tanzania Trade Development Authority (TanTrade) to ensure that our stakeholders not only participate, but also ensure that the exhibition take place in the attractive environment,” he pointed out.
The bank has recently entered into a special agreement with TanTrade that would also see it financing construction and renovation of large modern halls at the Exhibition grounds and as well building a statue of the late President John Magufuli.
Speaking during a brief Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony of 420m/- at the DITF, TanTrade CEO Ambassador-designate Edwin Rutageruka and NBC Bank MD Mr Sabi, said the move was aimed at bringing a major revolution in the exhibition that attracts thousands of participants from within and outside the country.
“This demonstrates how NBC Bank is involved in fostering a conducive business environment,” said Ambassador Designate Rutagaruka, citing the presence of bank-sponsored business clinics at the fair, including the presence of various commercial institutions and authorities, including Tantrade, Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) and Business Registration and Licensing Agency (BRELA).
In an analysis, it was good the Vice-President said it was equally important for Tantrade to assess whether they have achieved the set objectives, which are to provide opportunities for local and foreign businesses as well as various institutions to advertise, learn and exchange experiences on the service they offer.
“Exhibitors also need to focus on competition in business… where manufacturers must comply with market terms and agreements entered into with consumers. “Cunning tricks or dishonesty will make you lose customers, make sure you use institutions like Tanzania Bureau of Standard (TBS) and Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA) to ensure the products you produce meet set criteria,” said Dr Mpango, who represented President Samia Suluhu Hassan at the show.
In the same scenario, Dr Mpango challenged Tantrade, the Ministry of Industry and Trade as well as other stakeholders to focus on employees’ rights and tax compliance, saying the government is aware that some employers and businessmen have been paying workers unfairly and some harassing them.
“The private sector should also consider providing internship opportunities for college students, increase production and quality of products such as sugar, edible oils and construction materials,” he added.
Elaborating, Dr Mpango said institutions regulating trade and investment should eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy, while also challenging Tanzanians to seize regional bloc opportunities with an assurance of more than three 177 million customers.
Equally, he urged Tantrade and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to collect information from Tanzania embassies abroad on opportunities in various countries for Tanzanians to tap into that market.
“During my trip in France I met with companies that have shown interest in investing in agriculture, medicine, and the blue economy, so as a country we must seize these opportunities,” he said.