- Published on Monday, 18 June 2012 01:55
- Written by DAILY NEWS Reporter
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THE Tanzania Association of Microfinance Institutions (TAMFI) has opened a new chapter in Mwanza, the nation’s second largest city, the Executive Secretary, Ms Winnie Terry said in a press statement released in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.
She said it was a new beginning for the Lake Zone microfinance Industry in developing a well-organised and responsible microfinance sector, which was vital for greater and inclusive economic development.
“The birth of TAMFI-Mwanza Chapter is welcome news for micro finance institutions and consumers of their services in the Lake Zone,” she said, calling all the microfinance institutions in the zone to ensure they become members of the apex body. Representatives of micro-finance institutions in the lake zone met last week and elected Mr Joseph Kahungwa of Victoria Saccos the chairman of the chapter and Ms Patricia Mboya the secretary.
Mr Abel Mapunda from SIDO Saccos was named the treasurer. The representatives from various microfinance institutions said they were happy with TAMFI’s objectives and services. The Mwanza Chapter resolved that members will work in unity to collectively seek solutions to problems ailing the sector. “TAMFI will help us sort out some of the major problems that hinder best services and progressive strategies,” noted Ms Anna Matete from Tujijenge Saccos.
She said defaulters were a major problem and TAMFI should help in identifying lasting solutions. Members agreed that creation of a credit reference bureau would help to blacklist defaulters. Ms Matete noted the microfinance industry was still at its infancy compared to similar sectors in the East African Community (EAC).
“TAMFI endeavours to push the industry to a higher level within a short period,” she said. Ms Terry informed the stakeholders that TAMFI will participate in the East African Microfinance Conference to be held next month in Kigali, Rwanda. She said the association will continue to lobby the government to create and maintain an appropriate regulatory framework for microfinance institutions.
“So far we have done well in capacity building, networking that focus on sharing of the industry’s information, trends, knowledge, market and intelligence. Hopefully, the new chapter in the Lake Zone will work to its capacity to ensure the industry makes a sky-high leap. “It should be noted that Microfinance institutions offer great services to the citizens who commercial banks often ignore due to their little financial capabilities or remoteness,” said Ms Terry.
She decried the costly loans from commercial banks as the biggest challenge that impedes the provision of services by micro finance institutions to villagers in particular. Most microfinance institutions borrow from banks to lend to the poor and unbanked at a higher rate. She also disclosed that TAMFI has prepared a programme to offer financial education to customers and the public as a practical move to improve services to customers.
Together with measures to establish a financial education programme for customers, TAMFI has developed a code of conduct. “This is for the member organisation to be transparent about the cost of their services especially loan products in order to allow customers understand their liability before deciding to borrow and other best practices,” she said. TAMFI has over 50 members including small and big microfinance institutions across the country.