The government has been asked to issue investment loans popularly known as ‘JK Funds’ through the Tanzania Women Bank (TWB) to enable more people, including the elderly, men, women and youths, access them.
Under the current arrangement, the funds are being issued in form of loans to small businessmen by different commercial banks.
The advise was issued here yesterday by Faida Mohammed Bakari (Special Seats, CCM) when asking a basic question in Parliament.
She said few people have benefited from the loans provided by the government since the Fund was introduced in 2006.
Bakari also said time has come for the government to assess and see how many people have benefited and the total amount issued so far.
Responding, the Deputy Minister for Finance, Saada Mkuya, said the bank is allowed to join in the loans programme, but said the government does not restrict the TWB to participate if it follows required procedures.
She said there were some procedures that financial institutions need to observe before joining in the programme, one of them being the ability to provide financial services in rural areas, good financial records and experience in serving small scale entrepreneurs.
“Up to the moment more than ten commercial banks and financial institutions are issuing Kikwete funds,” she informed the House.
The banks are: CRDB, Tanzania Postal Bank, Azania Bancorp, Akiba Commercial Bank, Mwanga Community Bank, and Kilimanjaro community bank, Uchumi Bank, Kagera Farmers Bank, Pride Tanzania, Presidential Trust Fund, Dunduliza and SCCULT.
The Deputy Minister said since 2006/7 the government had set aside 21bn/- for lending through the pro-poor scheme, noting that up to moment loans worth over 46bn/- have already been disbursed to various groups, which directly benefited over 75,000 people. She noted that the government has already started to asses the performance of the programme through the National Economic Empowerment Council which collects data that will used to assess the performance of the funds.
She said since its establishment, the TWB has been performing well and it is now expanding its branch network. The bank would soon open the second branch in Zanzibar after Dar es Salaam. More branches will be opened in the future, she noted.
Meanwhile, Special Seats legislator Amina Abdula Amour (CUF) said most tax exemptions were nuisance and they denied income to the government.
She urged the government to reduce it to one per cent of the Growth Domestic Product (GDP).
Responding, Mkuya said the government continued to review some tax exemption laws to see whether they have benefits.
She said the government intention was to see that all tax exemptions do not exceed one per cent of the GDP.
The Deputy Minister said in the financial year 2012/13 the government has taken various measures to amend tax laws aimed at reducing exemptions and tax evasion.