Business with a human face? Public relations mega-drive? Just another typical example of how best to direct funds into the wrong causes?
This is with reference to reports of determination by the National Social Security Fund to implement an ambitious slum clearance project in parts of Dar es Salaam and start ultra-modern diagnostic clinics in various parts of Tanzania.
It is said that diversification constitutes the thrust of NSSF’s way forward, chiefly as a way of reducing dependence on “traditional avenues” such as government securities, corporate and government loans, equity capital and real estate.
Instead, most focus is now on investment in power transmission and generation, establishment of inland container terminals, value-addition projects in the agro-processing sub-sector, and replacement of urban slums with decent settlements.
Should things run as planned, we shall soon witness massive decongestion and a substantial rise in efficiency and productivity at the Dar es Salaam Port.
NSSF is also determined to continue pumping financial and other resources into agriculture, including sisal farming, thus enabling the sector to perform well enough to contribute more handsomely to the country’s development.
Dar es Salaam port has for long been associated with a number of problems, notably gross inefficiency and poor handling of cargo. These have earned it a really bad name.
To be fair, some of the blame is unfair or blown out of proportion – and we have it on good authority that the situation has since improved so much that the port is yet again a competitor to be reckoned with.
Meanwhile, it is widely acknowledged that sisal is sure to recapture its glory of old and bounce back as a “cash cow” for Tanzania if it gets more of the kind of support extended to it by the likes of NSSF.
It is always heart-warming seeing people or institutions doing what most they can to beat one another in ensuring the market is flooded with quality goods or services, which points to corporate social responsibility par excellence.
NSSF has already done especially well to this effect, particularly with their involvement the implementation of such grand projects as the multi-billion-shilling Kigamboni Bridge in Dar es Salaam’s, for long laughed off as a pipedream.
Confirmation of the Fund’s determination to rid the city of slums but without needlessly bothering the people living there comes as an added plus. Many observers understandably see this as an impossible mission and are wondering: so relocating squatters doesn’t have to be painful or brutal and also can ultimately add value to life!
Now hear this: the Fund identifies slums, enters into negotiations with local residents, moves them to temporary but decent houses, replaces the slums with modern houses, and then the new houses are sold to the residents at half price, with the money paid in mutually agreed instalments.
It may sound too sweet to be true, but NSSF Director General Dr Ramadhani Dau swears that they are only sticking to their corporate vision of “becoming a leading provider of social security services in Tanzania”.
The Fund has doubtless shown the way, despite the daunting challenges it is bound to face. One only wishes we were blessed with a lot more such considerate institutions.