PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has said the government will work hard to ensure the Agricultural Development Bank becomes operational before the end of this year.
"The bank will be the saviour to farmers. Currently, the government releases subventions for farm inputs but this alone can not address properly all challenges facing the sector, hence the need for a special bank where farmers can themselves go and get loans.
"We in the government are convinced that the bank's services will commence before this year ends. We already have in place the chairman of board of directors and we believe he is now ready to start the job," said Mr Kikwete.
The president also reaffirmed the government's commitment to promote horticulture to help farmers fight poverty.
"It is government's intention to give special and new impetus to horticulture in our efforts to fight poverty. This farming activity can earn our farmers a lot of money," said President Kikwete during a well attended and colourful ceremony at the Sabasaba grounds to inaugurate the new Njombe Region on Friday.
Mr Kikwete also warned districts and municipal councils against embezzling funds earmarked for construction of houses for teachers, saying culprits would face tough disciplinary action.
"The education sector faces a number of challenges which include shortage of houses for teachers. To address the issue, the government has begun earmarking 500m/- for each municipal council effective this financial year.
He admitted that the money may not be enough, noting that it is only the beginning and hence the need for its proper utilisation.
Njombe, made up of four districts of Njombe, Makete, Ludewa and Wanging'ombe, is one of four new regions; others being Geita, Simiyu and Katavi.