Royal Tour pushes Uchumi profit nine times

KILIMANJARO-BASED Uchumi Commercial Bank (UCB)’s net profit has jumped up almost nine times, thanks to a notable influx of tourists last year.

The bank’s profit ballooned to 87m/- in the fourth quarter of last year from 10m/- in the similar period in 2021, boosted by the tourism sector that thrived after the easing of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

The UCB Chief Executive Officer, Mr Samwel Wado, told the ‘Daily News’ that majority of the lender’s customers are in the tourism industry that last year saw huge numbers of tourists arrive in the country, thanks to several government’s initiatives to woo them.

“Tourism sector contributed a lot to our bank’s profit,” Mr Wado said.

The CEO said the coronavirus pandemic affected heavily their business in 2021 as many customers  were hit badly by the pandemic, while backpedalling tourism sector growth.

“The sector rejuvenated from the pandemic last year and the government’s determination to kick-start to sell the sector with a product like Royal Tour documentary boosted the business of most of our customers.

“Uchumi is operating in the Northern Region, which is the hub of the country’s tourism, helping us to post strong performance in quarter four of last year,” Mr Wado said.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) foreign tourists increased by 64 per cent to 1,175,697 between January and October last year, compared to 716,741 tourists in the same period in 2021.

The bank’s stellar performance was also backed up by good cooperation of the board and employees, since everyone worked hard to achieve the set target.

Additionally, the bank said farmers, who are their customers, reaped from high cereal prices to maximise their sweat returns and increase their disposable income that warranted meeting their financial end needs.

Year-on-year, the Uchumi net profit accelerated to 1.5bn/- last year compared to 542m/- in 2021.

Generally, the lender’s customer deposits rose slightly to 34.9m/-from 32.8m/- in 2021 while loans increased by 4.5 per cent to 32.47m/- from 31.05m/- in 2021.

The net income interest also surged up, albeit slightly, by 6.0 per cent to 1.15bn/- from 1.04bn/- and non-interest income went up by 14 per cent to 267m/- compared to 234m/- in 2021. UCB started operating on September 2005.

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