19 June 2018

Tanzania: Loan Defaulters Get Ultimatum

Dodoma — THE government yesterday declared serious crackdown on loan defaulters to recover unpaid loans, which were issued by state-sponsored empowerment funds to support youth, women and people with disabilities.

Although the government envisages consolidating the empowerment funds, which currently range between 16 and 19 to make them have a noticeable impact in the society, it has emerged that some beneficiaries are misbehaving in repaying their loans.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa has therefore ordered all empowerment funds to aggressively embark on the loan recovery from individuals or groups that took advantage of the government loans.

"We want the monies to also benefit other individuals or groups in the society and this is very important for the funds to grow," he said yesterday while delivering a keynote address at the third National Economic Empowerment Council (NEEC) forum here.

The government allocated 56.8bn/- in 2016/17 for empowerment, with at least 17.5bn/- released to finance individuals and groups across the country.

In 2017/18, about 62bn/- was allocated but 15.6bn/- was released to 8,672 groups as of February this year. The premier said, "Those who benefited from these loans are yet to repay."

He gave September 30, this year as the deadline for all individuals or groups who had benefited to return the interestfree loans.

There were no further details as to the specific number of beneficiaries or the unpaid amount that has to be recovered within the deadline.

Observers however say that the state should impose friendly approach in recovering the loans from defaulters.

According to Mr Majaliwa, the loans had opened up business opportunities, attracting at least three million new businesses in the country.

The World Economic Forum 2018 has listed Tanzania as one of the best performing inclusive economies in Sub-Saharan Africa.

"Over 30 million Tanzanians conduct mobile money transactions, increasing financial inclusion to 65 per cent," the premier said, adding: "We have also improved social services like education, health as well as addressing corruptions in public institutions."

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has directed all regions to work with the UN Development Programme to establish regional investment guides to attract domestic and foreign investors in the country.

He also ordered all authorities to allocate specific land portion for industries, with each region establishing 100 industries. Mr Majaliwa said NEEC will next year conduct an evaluation of all regions to verify their performance on executing the industrial agenda, particularly on empowering citizens, economically.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled, Jenista Mhagama said Tanzanians were now aware and want to win the battle against poverty.

She explained that the government will be implementing measures that will see industries helping to create jobs and markets for agricultural produce and increasing exports.

"We have the raw materials and we are reviewing the national investment policy to accelerate industrial growth in the country," she noted.

NEEC Executive Secretary, Ms Beng'i Issa said at least 500 delegates attended the third forum which had Tanzania Standard Newspapers (TSN) Limited, among its sponsors.

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