The Dar es Salaam based lender which has also been given permission by Bank of Tanzania to open a subsidiary in DR Congo, also plans to establish a foundation that will manage its corporate investments in the community.
Addressing shareholders at the 26th annual general meeting last week, CRDB Group Managing Director and CEO, Abdulmajid Nsekela and Board Chairman, Dr Ally Laay said plans to establish the Islamic Bank window and foundation are in their final stages.
“The foundation will manage our corporate social investments which are largely focused on improving community services in education, health and related fields,” Dr Laay said while adding that the bank is committed to help the government improve delivery of social services in the country.
In a rejoinder, Nsekela said all approvals from regulators have been secured and that anytime this year, the Sharia complaint banking services will be rolled out through the country. “Studies have shown that there is increasing demand for Islamic banking services and products in the market which we must exploit,” Nsekela said.
He assured shareholders who approved a 22/- per share dividend that during next year’s AGM, “We will be operating in DRC,” while stressing that the bank which has a subsidiary in Burundi, is also planning to extend its reach to both eastern and southern African countries.
Earlier during a sensitization seminar of the shareholders on capital markets investments, Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Dr Mwigulu Nchema challenged CRDB leadership extend services to all landlocked countries which use Dar es Salaam port as their gateway to global markets.
Dr Nchemba urged the bank’s management to go past Burundi by establishing subsidiaries or opening branches in such hinterland countries to ease payment for cargo transiting through Dar es Salaam Port. “CRDB Bank is a market leader that should now go regional because we have seen other countries’ bank opening up subsidiaries or branches in Tanzania,” Dr Nchemba argued saying the country’s Tier 1 capital bank should extend to DR Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“Because you are a public owned bank with government’s interest, you can even open a branch at our embassies so that you can facilitate payment for cargo by clients in these landlocked countries as is the case with Burundi,” Dr Nchemba who is an economist by profession suggested.
He said Treasury and Bank of Tanzania will offer all necessary support to ensure that huge banks in which the government has a stake are assisted to go regional. “In the next few days, I will be meeting leaders of banks and will start with public banks in which the government has shares to discuss what policy and regulatory changes are needed to boost growth and lower interest rates charged on loans,” the Treasury exchequer hinted.
He paid tribute to CRDB Managing Director and Board Chairman for sustaining growth of the market’s largest bank by net assets value and network saying Treasury is happy to learn that this year’s dividend will dwarf that of last year.