TANZANIA – National Microfinance Bank (NMB) has opened a new branch in Busega District, Simiyu Region making it the 225th outlet nationwide with a promise to the locals of better services and affordable loans, report Daily News.

Presiding over the occasion, NMB Acting Managing Director, Ruth Zaipuna, noted that new branch in the rural area would serve mostly farmers and livestock keepers in line with the government directive to ease financial services to the citizens.

However, she emphasized that soft loans would be extended to small, medium and large businesses, and in particular peasants as inputs for their farming activities.

“Through NMB Foundation, the bank also provides financial management education to farmers through their Amcos, and all kinds of insurance and online payment,” said Ms Zaipuna.

The acting director further said that apart from opening more branches, their customers would also be able to open accounts with ease via their mobile phones without necessarily visiting the bank’s branches and hence, asked those in the rural areas to utilize the service.

Ms Zaipuna that said through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), they have allocated over money to finance various community development projects, with Simiyu Region in particular receiving more than most of it to implement its education and health projects.

Addressing the public during the branch launch, the Vice- President Ms Samia Suluhu thanked the bank for its good performance, adding that it was supporting the government to earn over money through various taxes and levies.

Equally, she applauded NMB for allocating and spending to finance development projects through its CSR, saying: “Stable financial sector services is an important segment in the country’s economic development, which the bank is occasioning through its strengthened operations.

However, the government would continue to create a better business environment for all banks and financial sectors to do business.”

Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr Ashatu Kijaji earlier ordered the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) to meet with banks and financial institutions to determine how to reduce loan interest rates.Dr Kijaji said the government through BoT had already reduced interest rates on banks and financial institutions from 16 percent in 2016 to seven percent, therefore, the relief should go down to the public.

“Commercial Banks and financial institutions have continued to charge interest rates between 17 and 20 percent despite the BoT interest rates reduction from 16 percent in 2016 to seven percent,” she said.