The last few days have witnessed the Tanzania Investment Bank treat established and aspiring industrialists and entrepreneurs to heart-warming melodies.
Not in the literal sense, of course, but in that it has publicly expressed readiness to further extend funding and technical support to help local industries add value to their products.
No lesser an authority than the bank’s managing director declared as much at the just-ended Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair.
Elaborating on the bank’s own version of an open-door policy towards Tanzanians keen to make it in the industrial sector, the MD talked of determination to ensure the country realises its vision of becoming an industrial economy by 2025.
And, obviously aware that the conditions commonly set and imposed by financial institutions with respect to credit facilities are often so demanding that most ordinary citizens fail the compliance test comply with, the bank has elected to front demonstrable generosity.
Hear the MD speak: “The most that is required of them (prospective beneficiaries) is to come up with workable project proposals and we will support them. We are also ready to support those who have funds but lack the knowledge they need to draw up viable plans.”
TIB, which was set up in 1975, operated as a development finance institution during the first 25 years of its existence. It thereafter became an investment and development bank, chiefly in response to changes in the business environment and challenges in the marketplace.
It has kept fine-tuning of its modes of operation so that the array of products and services it has on offer is in consonance with its determination to help Tanzania grow into a well-diversified and competitive economy.
That the bank boasts rich experience offering credit facilities to corporate clients across all sectors of the country’s economy in the form of short, medium and long-term working capital is an advantage sure to benefit the other Tanzanians it is willing to support.
It is inspiring hearing that a number of local businesses are doing very well thanks to TIB support, and the bank says it still can bankroll more budding or aspiring industrialists.
Even more importantly, it has expressed willingness to partner with organisations owning expansive tracts of land on which relatively low-cost industrial parks and other structures could be constructed for small and medium enterprises to hire and operate from.
Reports from Dar es Salaam talk of encouraging progress in negotiations between the bank and municipal authorities on how to move from the drawing board to the implementation stage.
The other good news revolving around the extent to which TIB could go in supporting SMEs relates to a recent promise by Energy and Minerals minister Professor Sospeter Muhongo on the possibility of the bank coming to the help of small miners in need of bank loans but not having the necessary collateral.
According to the minister, the government is contemplating the setting up of special zones for the miners alongside ensuring greater transparency in the issuance of mining licences.
All this promises small enterprises better times than they now have – but only if they play their part. We only hope all will.