Tanzania: New Bank Product Set to Boost SMEs

AS a stakeholder that supports the fifth phase government in its mission to realize its industrialization goals, NBC bank yesterday introduced an exciting product for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), whereby they would get unsecured loans to facilitate their growth and open more job opportunities to the local people.

Making the revelation at the International Trade Fair (Saba Saba) , the bank's Director of Business Banking, Elvis Ndunguru, said the fifth phase government's industralisation drive prompted them to initiate the plan, and for a start, they would offer the unsecured loans for trade, contractors, oil and gas, tourism and hotels, transportation, manufacturing and agriculture, which employ majority of Tanzanians.

He said the strategy would mostly cater for SMEs, who distribute and supply large companies with goods and services in an arrangement, where the bank would shoulder their transfer businesses costs.

"NBC has taken this initiative to help SMEs' empowerment as the bank's top priority to support the government's industrialization agenda," he pointed out.

Various research reports show that SMEs occupy about 95 per cent of all businesses in the country and it is one of the fast-growing sectors of the economy, besides contributing about 35 per cent of the nation's GDP.

"Therefore, the bank shows the need to grow with the sector, because it conducted regular market research and devised the approach as the appropriate financial solutions that would meet our customers' needs, to support them in their journey towards growth," added Mr Ndunguru.

Elaborating further, he said the bank had trained and offered over 80 bn/- as loans to over 3000 SMEs for a start in the past year alone, adding that more credit facilities were in the pipeline for them.

The director noted that the sectors which had benefited from the loans had been in trade, contractors, oil and gas, tourism and hotels, transportation, manufacturing and agriculture.

According to Ndunguru, the bank is currently implementing various initiatives, including reviewing its credit policy for SMEs and forming new business credit committee to bring impartiality in their decision making processes.

"NBC will remove the need for SMEs to prepare financial statements when applying for loans below 100m/-.We want to make lending and documentations to SMEs a simple process to spur further growth and make this more friendly, he said.

Mr Nduguru said the bank was currently undertaking a programme, whereby it educates and invites traders to form business clubs, where they can network and display their wares as in trade exhibitions like Saba Saba and international business and meet large entrepreneurs and investors.

In a related development, the director said the bank has introduced an SME strategy aimed at increasing its market share through potential value on selected segment.

"To make this friendlier, the Bank has also developed a dedicated online platform to facilitate transactions for clients' convenient locations. The channel is affordable, reliable and very convenient. It allows all payments both local and international," he added.

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