Dar es Salaam, New Delhi for firmer commercial ties

Dar es Salaam, New Delhi for firmer commercial ties

Indian High Commissioner to Tanzania Debnath Shaw said the two countries enjoy a good political bond which the founding fathers of the two nations forged decades ago.

“The opening of (Indian) banks shows the attempt of both sides to narrow the economic and commercial gap between India and Tanzania,” Mr Shaw said when he officially opened Bank of India’s Zanaki Street branch.

Zanaki is the bank’s second branch in the country since it re-entered the market in 2008 after being nationalised in 1969 following the 1967 Arusha Declaration’s nationalisation policy. Mr Shaw said the increasing presence of India bank in the country signifies the intention of both countries to cement the trade ties for the betterment of citizens’ social welfares.

India is the largest market for Tanzanian agricultural products, especially cashew nuts. Up to 2011, trade volume between India and Tanzania stood at 1.3 billion US dollars (about 2.08tr/-). BOI’s Chairman and Managing Director Mr Alok Misra said the bank, which currently operates in 20 countries worldwide, has its international business contributing over 20 per cent of its revenue.

“We value our subsidiaries worldwide, and in the next few months we are going to open two more branches in Mwanza and Arusha,” Mr Misra said during the opening, adding that the branches will focus on agriculture, mining and tourism. BOI Tanzania Managing Director Ramesh Kadam told reporters that the bank initially focused on corporate clients but the opening of Zanaki branch at the heart of trading district targets retail business.

“Later on we will also focus on agriculture, mining and tourism sector, the business environment is good…(which) supported us well to post profit on the first year of opening business,” Mr Kadam said. The Zanaki Branch, according to Managing Director, has capacity to transact between 30 and 35 transactions per teller per hour and at full operation it has four tellers.

One of the BOI customers Mr Ram Pande said the Zanaki branch would shorten about half a kilometre distance he used to cover to Maktaba Square branch. “I am impressed by the bank’s services especially money transfer that takes hardly two days to complete the transaction,” said Mr Pande, a BOI customer since last year.

Last the bank posted a net profit of 789.09m/- compared to 525.29m/- of previous year while the customer deposits reached 38.31bn/- and assets grew to 51.47bn/-. There are two Indian banks operating in the country, with the other bank being Baroda that was also nationalised in 1967 but made a comeback in mid 2000s.

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