VP stresses on nature restoration

THE Vice-President Dr Philip Mpango has called for concerted nature restoration efforts to save the country from deforestation and other adverse effects of environmental degradation.

Dr Mpango also issued four directives to the Tanzania Forest Service Agency (TFS) and all councils across the country, to ensure that the issue of environmental conservation is sustainable for the national economic development and the community well-being.

“Trees and a healthy environment touch all economic and development aspects of life which we cannot do without and therefore, making Tanzania green is a must and a worthy investment,” he said.

Dr Mpango made the remarks here yesterday when launching the NMB Bank grand afforestation project, aimed at boosting the decreasing stock of trees in the country.

He directed TSF to continue producing quality tree nurseries in various areas so that citizens will not be compelled to travel long distances to collect them, as well as ensuring that they provide seedlings that are compatible with each region’s environment, so that trees can grow easily.

“TFS should continue to provide education to the citizens so that they understand the type of trees that should be planted in their areas and provide professional advice on how to plant and take care of those trees. You should also make sure you provide proper planting trees guidelines to all regions,” he said.

Dr Mpango also directed all councils to continue managing and ensure that the environment in their areas remain green, attractive and clean. He also tasked them to ensure that they manage road cleanliness as well as take strict measures to control pollution.

“This exercise should be sustainable, make sure that you manage road cleanliness and ensure that all passenger vehicles have waste storage containers,” said Dr Mpango.

Through the nationwide green crusade, NMB targets to plant one million trees this year as part of advancing the bank’s sustainability agenda.

Vice-President Mpango kick-started the ambitious venture by gracing planting of 3,000 tree seedlings in the Mtumba Government City suburb, where he said afforestation and reforestation undertakings have now become inevitable and indispensable.

According to him, the NMB environment conservation initiative adds significant value to national and worldwide efforts to preserve the natural world and reverse climate change.

“The government alone cannot make Tanzania green therefore every one of us should be involved in these concerted nature restoration efforts like NMB has done by launching this tree planting and nurturing project,” Dr Mpango noted commending the lender for involving 189 schools across the country in its execution.

He said through such creativities and green investments, the goal to plant at least 1.5 million trees in every local government authority every year becomes feasible.

The sustainable finance undertaking, he added, will complement other national and sectoral tree planting campaigns that are all aimed at saving the country from deforestation and other adverse effects of environmental degradation.

“Protecting the environment is one of the main pillars of the lender’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy and its involvement in the world of sustainability whose funding that has inflated the 2023 NMB corporate giving budget to 6.2bn/-,” said Dr Mpango.

To effectively implement the project, NMB Bank is partnering with Tanzania Forest Service Agency (TFS) for professional guidance and several ministries, including the Ministry of Regional Administration and Local Governments (PO-RALG), which will coordinate the participation of students in the project.

Chief Executive Officer Ruth Zaipuna said the engagement of schools by organising a multi-million tree planting and caring competition dubbed “Kuza Mti Tukutunze” seeks to ensure the sustainability undertaking delivers the desired results.

Explaining, Ms Zaipuna noted that the bank has earmarked 472m/- for rewarding the winning schools in which the top three prizes will be 50m/-, 30m/- and 20m/-respectivel,y whereas all the participating schools will be awarded a certificate of recognition.

“The afforestation project you are launching today will be a continuous exercise to plant and take care of new trees, which start with NMB and its stakeholders planting a million trees across the country in 2023,” she told Dr Mpango.

“We strongly believe that this noble undertaking will benefit all of us in the efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change,” she added noting that the investment NMB is making seeks to remind Tanzanians the relevance of environmental conservation in sustainable national development.

Ms Zaipuna said the green project is also part of commemorating 25 years of NMB’s unrivalled service to the nation whereby corporate social investments are a key aspect of the celebration.

Normally, the bank allocates one per cent of its net income for CSR activities and from the 420bn/- profit after tax it made last year that amounts to an industry record of 4.2bn/-for social investments.

Ms Zaipuna said 2bn/- was specifically added to this year’s CSR spending to enable the bank pursue the sustainability agenda in support of environmental care and advancing sustainable development.

She stated that apart from TFS and President Office – Regional Administration and Local Governments (PO-RALG), NMB is also “partnering with Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit Agency (Dart) to plant trees along all its roadways”.

The PO-RALG Minister Angela Kairuki said the involvement of primary and secondary schools that now number 2,480 with 14.2 million students all over Tanzania in such undertakings would deliver monumental benefits environmentally and in terms of educating the youth on the importance of preserving nature.

“The tree planting contest for the schools is a good idea and I am going to direct all schools and local governments to ensure they take part in it so that the NMB project can deliver the desired results,” she noted in her remarks.

On his part, the head of TFS, Prof Dos Santos Silayo, said they will accord NMB all the requisite support to make the project a success, including supplying all the one million seedlings and coordinating the subsequent zonal tree planting exercises.

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