Arusha Times (Arusha)

19 January 2013

Tanzania: Teachers Busy Looking for Other Means of Survival

Teachers in Hai district, Kilimanjaro region are spending more time looking for money to meet their daily needs as well as paying debts incurred from financial institutions and elsewhere, it was disclosed recently.

As a result of spending much time out of office to boost their meager income, their work performance has declined as is their morale, according to the district commissioner Novatus Makunga.

Speaking during a meeting of the Teachers' Savings and Credit Cooperative Society (Saccos) he said education standards in schools have gone down because teachers have little time to teach and instead look for means to survive.

The situation, according to him, has been worsened by the high interests charged by the commercial banks for loans extended to them, noting that many of the teachers have been overwhelmed by the debt burden.

He called on them to join the Hai Teachers' Saccos which was established in 1993 and use the savings to meet their financial obligations because it charged low interest rates beside more flexible joining instructions.

"By joining the Teachers' Saccos, you would enable their loan facility increase its capital and, in turn make it stronger and capable of investing in new projects and raise credit rates to its members", the district administrator explained.

Mr. Makunga commended plans by the Saccos to construct a conference centre at Bomang'ombe, the Hai district headquarters, saying the town lacked modern meeting halls. Other projects on cards include a hostel and kindergartens.

According to Mr. Makunga, Hai district has about 30 Saccos with deposits totalling Sh. 1,145,011,320. Loans extended to members to date totaled Sh.3,711,037,374 he explained, adding that it has a total of 717 members, most of them women.

In all, Hai district has a total of 68 cooperative societies, including Saccos. These include 25 coffee cooperative societies, seven for dairy farmers, two dealing with irrigation and two others for traders and one for honey processors and traders.

However, officials of the Teachers Saccos complained during the meeting that the Hai district council delayed remitting their deductions, a situation which undermined its efficient operations.

For instance, it was pointed out that the teachers' salary deductions for September, October and November last year were settled on December 11th, 2012. There is also a problem of poor records due to failure to computerize the operations of the facility.

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