Friday, July 3, 2009

Education on financial savings importance


The Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS) is a non governmental, independent consumer’s organisation, which has been established with interest to promote, protect, disseminate, and advocate for consumers’ right in Tanzania. Our reporter, Erick Toroka had an interview with the Executive Director for TCAS, Bernard Kihiyo, on the importance of education on financial savings.

Kihiyo says TCAS would like to be a Bank of Tanzania (BoT) advocacy implementing partner, on supplementing BoT’s honourable efforts in controlling and regulating banking industry and financial institutions in Tanzania to have sound financial management and financial accountability.

It has been habitual for most of the banks and financial institutions in Tanzania to favour big business on capital investment and ignore the poor (low-income consumers) due to their lack of security; however with the government project like MKURABITA this is not going to be an obstacle any more.

In recent years a number of good achievements happened in financial market in Tanzania; one being an abrupt increase in the number of Banks, SACCOS, and other financial lending institutions in Tanzania.

As the world is in the era of globalised economy, banking and financial customers all over the world (including Tanzania) are forced to be competent with; e-banking, e-business, e-commerce, international banking; which associate with the high degree of fraudsters and money laundry.

And it has been revealed that more than 80 per cent of consumers (including those of banking and financial services) in Tanzania suffer from lack of understanding of their consumers rights. They remain unaware, vulnerable, with no ability to fight or claim for their rights.

It is against this background whereby his organisation’s management feels that it is equally important to establish viable campaigns on raising customers awareness on several banking and financial issue under the partnership between BoT and TCAS.

“This campaign will provide information and capacity-building support to the customers to realize their potential and actively take part in country economy development in this foreseeable expanding financial market in Tanzania,” he states.

For instance, Ally Goronya says, there is a need for fraud prevention campaigns; we think personal customer safety is of paramount importance; the campaign should revolve around importance of chip and pin on fighting credit or debit card fraud, advocate for several different ways of reducing fraud and risk of identity theft.

there must be an intensive advocacy to money lenders on their rights and obligation that aim to raise borrower’s awareness on the true rate of interest being charged, loan’s terms and conditions, default, borrower’s right to restate, foreclosure procedures; arming preventing customers from being unfairly penalized or exploited unknowingly.

The campaign should also involve lobbying and advocacy on introduction of common money-lenders payment protection scheme; TCAS would like to work hand in hand with BoT, and the government on having fair insurance cover scheme that meet the demands and needs of those customers who wish to ensure that their payment protection needs are met.

The TCAS boss also notes that the scheme should cover any failure of moneylender to service his/her loan due to unforeseeable accident or sickness, involuntary unemployment, loss of business, hospitalization, death and general calamities like war, riot, commotion or other similar events.

Other unforeseeable like; case of theft-fraud, money laundering, loss acquired through misuse of e-banking card by someone else without holders permission should also be considered on the cover.

“We think the campaign should also advocate for responsible lending practices, issues such as minimum payment while serving a loan; frequent sharing of information on loan servicing, banks interest rates, default charges and insist on the banks/financial institution to have court order during enforcement on a customer who bleached a contact,” he says.

Other rights and obligation to be emphasized during the campaign are; what if someone is getting unsatisfactory services from the banks which lead to failure on paying the loan and interest in time – can the borrower sue the banker? Customer’s right to cancel loan agreements, complaint procedures, Rights to take legal proceeding, confidentiality on customer’s information.

Overall objectives of this proposed; TCAS/BoT Advocacy campaign are;- To raise customers’ awareness on banking and financial rights, increase customers familiarity with banking and financial services, inform customers about specific feature of a financial services, indicate distinctive features and/or benefit of a service, establish credibility of financial product or services, and Encourage potential customers to use such service.

Others are; to maintain loyalty of existing customers, Expand the reach of financial market, Overall enhancement of investment climate; with required necessary financial support and schemes, Catalyze effective competition in financial market, Raise customers’ financial discipline.

there is no way one can talk of citizens economic empowerment in this globalised economy without having plans in place on raising consumers’ awareness on their consumers rights, and consumers awareness is the back born of country’s sustainable economic growth.

“Let us work together to achieve the fundamental trust of the government in power to bring the benefits of banking and financial institutions to the poor people”, Kihiyo concludes.

Tanzania crippled by corporate social Irresponsibility – Study

Business Times; Friday, 7-13 Dec, 2007
By Eric Toroka
A Consumer survey conducted by the Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS) has levered that the lever of consumer awareness in Tanzania is “very low” – particularly on consumer’s rights, perception and attitudes with respect to businesses accountability and responsiveness to consumer needs and interests in Tanzania.

The survey was conducted in five regions of Tanzania mainland – namely Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Coast and Mwanza – between February 1 and 27, 2007.

Speaking to Business Times in Dar es Salaam recently, Daimon Mwakyembe, and its executive director, Bernard Kihiyo, said the survey revealed that “there is very low Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Tanzania”.

Mwakyembe defined Corporate Social Responsibility as the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically responsive and accountable to consumers’ needs and interests. This concept generally entails about how companies manage the business processes to produce an overall positive impact on society.

The survey revealed that there is poor public transportation system characterised by: congestion and delays; uncomfortable travelling conditions; poor vehicle condition; poor customer services; increased road accidents. Mwakyembe explained.

Moreover, it found out that there had been wrong overestimated, inflated bills from electricity and water utility bodies. The two are giving unreliable services characterized by frequent services characterized by frequent service breakdowns in most case without a notice. These include unregulated electric frequency; un- guaranteed water supply, poor quality of water which leads to the spread of water born diseases like typhoid and cholera.

The presences of counterfeit goods with are not durable, poor in quality, unsafe, false labelling and changing of expiry dates on products – food, cosmetics and medicine are also on the raise. It is believe that 40 per cent of the products in Tanzania markets are counterfeits, Mwakyembe added. Bernard Kihiyo added other forms of unethical business conducts seemed to look new while in reality they were not, giving the example of mobile phone on sale in most of the shop in Tanzania.

The survey revealed that in same cases human and animal drugs dispenses and managed by unprofessional personnel were very dangerous to the health of consumers.

Moreover, the study revealed that there were unjustifiable excessive high prices of goods and services in Tanzania market. For instance, early this year consumers experienced a sudden hike in the prices of petrol and petroleum products. It appears that dealers in oil are forming a cartel to fix prices in order to exploit consumers.

Mwakyembe clarified that the worst scenario of the survey can be viewed on the following; - Health Care with the concept of CSR; 1829 respondents have seen complex medical cases of alleged negligence by the way of consultation, diagnosis and treatment (cross infection), both medicinal and surgical that led to severe suffering of service recipient like the recent MOI theatre scandal and in some instance death occurred. The most difficulty question is how far medical/pharmaceutical practitioners be held responsible for their professional negligence?

Transport and transportation with the concept of CSR; 1279 respondents complained of the sharp increase in road accidents. Last year alone more than 2838 people lost their lives due to road accidents, leaving 155,000 others with permanent disabilities and without forgetting those who lost their properties.
In most cases accidents are caused by drivers’ negligence including operating with un-serviced cars, operating without having proper insurances to cover customers and their properties. The most difficulty question is how far should transport operators be held responsible for professional negligence? Mwakyembe queried, showing his shock

Media have important role to play, says Mengi

Business Times; Friday 25-31Jan, 2008
By Allen Mushatsi

The executive chairman of IPP Ltd and chairman of media Owners Association of Tanzania (MOAT), Reginald Mengi, has said that media have an important role to play in empowering citizens. His remark came on Monday this week when addressing journalists during the opening of a regional training course organized by the commonwealth press union (CPU).

The chairman said that by covering issue and activities of public interest, journalists can help create awareness among the people regarding what is taking place in society. The other thing, he said that the media was capable of sensitizing the public through analytical journalism, involving a critical approach to issue taking place in society.

Mengi went further, saying the media can empower society by setting the right agenda aimed at enlightening the public. “Indeed, the media potential to empower citizens is there. The challenge of how to make use if such potential is on the shoulders of journalists”, he stressed.

Making a point on a training course named ‘Empowering citizens through reader-friendly newspaper;’ he said trainees would brainstorm on a number of topical issues in society, apart from improving their writing skills.

“An enlightened or empowered citizen knows his/her rights and will thus strive to liberate himself/herself socially and economically. Empowered citizens are not likely to tolerate bad governance in society reflected in lack of freedom of movement and expression, or corruption, the worst forms of which are seen in plundering national resources…realize the power of their vote during election times and use it to bring peaceful and morally acceptable leadership changes,” Mengi explained.

The training course has brought together journalists from Kenya, Uganda, Malawi and Mozambique and the host country. Tanzania for the whole of this week, they covered on some strategies the media can use in order to interact with and empower citizens. Together with other speakers, Rob jamieson acted as a training course consultant

Matatani kwa kuuza Coca-Cola Fanta feki

Nipashe; 9 Novemba , 2007

Na Aisha Hamza, PST, Arusha

Mkazi wa Majengo mjini Arusha John Mwasapi (40) aliuza bidhaa Coco cola na Fanta ambazo ni bandia kwa kutumia nembo ya kiwanda cha Bonite Bottlers cha mjini Moshi, Mahakama ya Hakimu Mkazi Arusha imeambiwa.

Akisoma shitako hilo, Mwendesha Mashitaka, Zuberi Mkakatu, alidai mbele ya Hakimu Mkama Abdallah kuwa Mwasapi alitenda kosa hilo Oktoba 20 mwaka huu, huko Mbauda.

Alizidi kudai kuwa mshitakiwa alifika katika duka la Bw. Mtega Shayo na kumuuzia mkewe kreti mbili za soda kwa bei ya Sh 5,000 kwa kreti badala ya bei ya kiwandani ya Sh 6,100 akidai kuwa alipewa na kaka yake ambaye ni mwanajeshi.

Mtuhumiwa alipoondoka mwanamke huyo aliweka vinywaji hivyo kwenye jokofu na badala ya muda mteja aliyetaka Coco cola, alikuja dukani na kupatiwa kinywaji hicho.

Alidai baada ya kunywa mteja alihisi harufu isiyompendeza inayofanana na ya ndizi na kuirudisha soda hiyo, hivyo muuzaji huyo akalazimika kumfungulia mteja huyo soda nyingine ambayo nayo ilitoa gesi kasha ikamwagika yote na mteja kubakiwa na chupa tupu.

Baada ya tukio hilo mwanamke huyo alimpigia simu mumewe na kuumweleza juu ya kuuziwa chafu lakini Bw. Shayo akamshauri kuwa anunue soda nyingine kutoka kwa Mwasapi ili iwe rahisi kumnasa.

Mwendesha Mashitaka alisema siku mbili baadaye, alirudi kuuliza kama wangehitaji soda na akaagizwa alete kreti mbili na alipozileta alikamatwa kwa kushirikiana na wananchi ambao walianza walianza kumshushia kipigo.

Mwasapi alifikishwa katika kituo kidogo cha polisi Chemchemu Mbauda na kuhojiwa kisha alipekuliwa nyumbani kwake na kukutwa na kreti tupu nyingi za soda za kampuni ya Bonite.

Pia polisi walimkamata na paketi nyingi za juisi aina ya Drink O-pop pamoja na Coke ambazo alikuwa akizitumia kutengeneza kinywaji hivyo n akuweka katika chupa hizo na kusambaza sehemu mbalimbali jijini Arusha.

Mshitakiwa alikana shitaka na kurudishwa rumande baada ya kukosa wadhamini. Kesi yake imehairishwa hadi Novemba 20.

Akizungumzia tukio hilo, mkuu wa usalama wa kituo kiwanda cha Bonite Bottlers, Bw Kundaeli Kuyata alisema, alipigiwa simu na polisi ili kwenda kukagua jinsi mtuhumiwa huyo alivyokuwa akitengeneza soda.

Alisema aligundua kuwa alikuwa anaweka unga wa juisi za Coke na Fanta kutengeneza vinywaji na unga huo ulikuwa umebaki chini ya chupa.

“Huwezi kugundua haraka ujanja wake kama si mchuuzi ndiyo maanaalikuwa anawatapeli wateja wengi. Ule unga hata ukichanganywa vipi lazima kuna chengachenga zinabaki chini ya chupa alifahamisha.

Alienda kueleza kuwa alichofanya mtuhumiwa Mwasapi ni kosa kubwa kwani alitumia nembo ya biashara ya kampuni hiyo badala ya kubuni ya kwake mwenyewe.

JK slams Sumatra for failure to check marine accidents

The Guardian: Friday, June 5, 2009
By Joyce Kisaka
President Jakaya Kikwete yesterday slammed the Surface and Marine transport Regulatory Authority (Sumatra) for its failure to prevent marine accident.

He sounded the blame in Dar es Salaam at the official inauguration of new ‘Mv Magogoni’ ferry, which has the capacity of carrying 50,000 passengers a day together with 1,000-2,500 cars. The cost of the pontoon is 8.6bn/-

President Kikwete said last year, 28 accidents occurred whereby 49 people died, while 240 were rescued, adding that analysis showed that carrying large numbers of passengers than authorised, cargo, poor sea vessel maintenance, weather and failure to do regular inspections were the main causes of accidents.

“Sumatra should do regular inspections, failure to do so will cause more disasters, he insisted.

Speaking on the issue of the ferry, he said despite the government efforts to have more ferries, construction of Kigamboni Bridge was in pipeline. The president said the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) which is undertaking the project was in the tendering process.

The president mentioned other ferries as ‘MV Kigamboni’ expected to start in September.

Speaking about the new ferry, President Kikwete said he was happy with the achievements made in facilitating sea transport, because the vessel was Tanzania made.

About 30 people got employment and ferry building technology during its construction, and would not continue to work on other ferries like ‘MV Kigamboni’ he said.

President Kikwete however, denied allegations that Kigamboni area had been sold to business in the US and the Arab world, saying all was mere fabrication.

“There is nothing like selling this area, but what I know is that Ilala Municipality will collaboration with the Ministry for Lands and Human Settlements to survey the area,” he said.

Earlier, infrastructure Development permanent secretary Engineer Omary Chambo said the government signed a contract with a Germany company for construction of the ferry in November 2006 at the cost 8.6bn/-

He said Sumatra will do regular inspection in order to maintain the standard of the ferry and avoid accidents.

He said the government will continue with construction of ferries all over the country as it now has money from the World Bank.

TBS calls on other govt agencies to educate public on their functions.

The Guardian: Friday 19, June 2009
By Correspondent; Gadiosa Lamtey

The Tanzania Bureau of Standard (TBS) has called on each government agency dealing with control and management of good to educate the public on its functions.

The call was made on Wednesday by TBS Head Marketing Unit Daudi Mbaga at the on-going Africa Public Services Week being held at the Mnazi mmoja ground in Dar es Salaam.

He was responding to questions from the public that several government agencies were duplicating duties.

“People are confusing between TBS duties with those done by other government agencies such as the Fair Competition Commission and Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority, but we are operating different constitutional establishments,” he said.

Mbaga called on people to view all agencies as important because all were created as per respective laws and have the force of law to operate.

“The public should not misunderstand our roles. We all target to reach at one specific point and that is quality of goods for the consumer and for the betterment of the nation,” he said.

He said there had been several questions from the public in regard to counterfeit products as many people think that it is only TBS which deals with the issue.

Mbaga called on the public to use the week as a way of learning different issues that have been perturbing them regarding the functionality of government agencies.

Meanwhile Fair Competition Commission Head of Consumer Complaints and Education Department Martha Kisyombe said that counterfeit products worth 1.6bn/- had been destroyed since the commission was established in 2007.

She said FCC would continue to destroy fake products whenever they are found.

She called on the public to report once they suspect that a certain product is fake.

Kisyombe added that FCC was aimed at reducing counterfeit products to ensure that all imported goods meet required quality and standards.

The Africa Public Services Week which started on Monday this week involves more than 160 government institutions and other institutions from some other African countries.

The decision to have public service day was reached by the ministers of Africa responsible for public service who met in Windhoek Namibia in 2000.

The African public day is celebrated at the continental level in one of the African countries once every two years.

Over 200 companies to mark CSR Day on May 22

The Guardian; Thursday 7, May 2009
By Immaculate Njalangi

The corporate sector in Tanzania will, for the first time, mark Corporate Social Responsibility Day (CSR) on Monday 22, this year.

Briefing journalists in Dar es Salaam, events coordinator Elly Kimbwereza, urged firms and institution which considered CSR as good business practise not to reduce workforce but rather sacrifice profit margins.

Kimbwereza said that Tanzania faced a number of challenges, among them being unemployment compounded by the ongoing world economic crisis.

He said most companies, when faced with the problems they rushed to reduce the workforce, while CSR emphasised that they should consider reducing profits and maintain staffs.

Kimbwereza said that since 80 per cent of the country’s population depended on agriculture, more CSR activities would be directed on it.

He however added that the CSR day will gather high level delegation from various firms and organisations active in CSR activities.

“CSR requires a commitment to social development principles that provide several advantages to communities to help them avoid negative economic, social and environment impacts,” said Kimbwereza.

He clarified that the day would also champion for corporate citizens to become a sustainable model of excellence in offering corporate social responsibility to communities found in the vicinity of their working stations.

The coordinator of the event, Anthony John, said that more than 200 firms are expected to take part in marking the day.

He said CSR goes beyond donations to projects, development programmes and charities.

Budget 2009/10; more of burden to consumers, taxpayers


The budget as presented Finance Minister Mustafa Mkulo has been dismissed as burdensome as it takes more that what consumers can pay.

Responding on the 2009/10 Budget, the Executive Director for Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS), Bernard Kihiyo, told Business Times yesterday that at the end of the day consumers would be the ones to foot for the budget.

He said customers would foot, government duties, fees, and taxes, either directly or indirectly. Dismissing the budget, he said it was asking the most vulnerable people in the society to tighten their belts so that to foot for government spending, which in one way or another was politically motivated.

“Regardless or how one views the specifics; government spending on development projects is focused on the quantity say number of schools, dispensaries, hospitals, and kilometres of roads under tarmac built but not on the quality and sustainability on every invested government funds onto those social development projects. It is evidently on the kind of primary, secondary schools, dispensaries, roads which had been built under other budgets” he said…

He said some politicians assume that spending comes from nothing and that any increase in government spending is good because it helps the people.

“There is cost it”, he said, adding it comes in the form of higher payroll taxes, government fees, higher commodity and services prices which cut into family budgets.

He called on the government to improve the tax base-streamlining the private sector to be an engine of the economy while focus on reduction of unnecessary spending.

For his part, opposition MP John Cheyo said the Government should empower a local bank to cater for farmers to moderise cotton farming which had been adversely affected by the global financial crunch. He said the budget was not fair to consumers of hard beverages.

Another MP Nafael Chegeni said he was happy about the budget as it shows how the nation will handle the global financial crisis. He said President Jakaya Kikwete had explained the foundations on how to handle the crisis.

CCM MP Christian Mzindakaya praised the budget for being agro oriented as that was what the majority populace was looking for.