UCHUMI Supermarkets Tanzania Limited and the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) have signed a business contract under which the retail chain will have preference in the occupancy of the fund's constructed buildings across the country.
The business deal, which Uchumi Group Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Ciano and NSSF acting Director General Ludovick Mroso inked in Dar es Salaam over the weekend, will support the retail chain's expansion drive countrywide.
The supermarket which has just celebrated its second anniversary in Tanzania has announced plans to expand, with the views of taking its business close to customers.
Uchumi currently operates from Quality Centre along Nyerere road but the plans are to expand to Mbagala, Tabata, Masaki, Mikocheni, Mbezi Africana and City Centre in Dar es Salaam as well as Tanga, Dodoma and Mwanza regions.
NSSF Board Chairman Abubakar Rajabu, speaking at the signing ceremony, described the deal as a milestone to the two institutions: "The signing of the deal has great significance to the growth of the two institutions, society welfare and the national economy."
Mr Rajab said the partnership augurs well with the East African Community (EAC) dream to have investments crossing borders to explore potential opportunities in each member state for the benefits of both countries.
"Despite the win-win situation in the project, Tanzania stands to benefit more because shops will provide employments as well as opportunity to supply various products by small scale enterprises," he noted. He said having Uchumi shops hosted in NSSF buildings across the country is a unique opportunity for Tanzanians to ensure they promote their economy by supplying local made products.
The supply chain will also benefit farmers from the early stage of production. Uchumi CEO, Dr Ciano said investors from the East African states have a critical role in developing the economies of the countries for the better living standards of all the people.
To promote local manufacturing, Dr Ciano said Uchumi shops will give priority to domestic producers and suppliers, "We will solely rely on Tanzanian producers to supply to our retail outlets and we do not need even an import licence because we import nothing."
Uchumi Supermarkets expects its monthly payments to its suppliers to increase ten times to 12bn/- following the expansion drive that the firm is pursuing. According to Uchumi Supermarkets Tanzania's Country Manager Chris Lenana, the retail firm aspires to groom Tanzania's citizens into serious entrepreneurs, capable of producing and supplying to big markets.