‘Why NMB’s role is not only to nurture the bank,

16Aug 2016
Victor Karega
The Guardian
‘Why NMB’s role is not only to nurture the bank,

BANKS are an integral part of the financial system and to the functioning of the economy in society by sharing accomplishments where they operate.

National Microfinance Bank Plc (NMB) and the Medical Credit Fund, part of the PharmAccess Group, sign a partnership agreement to boost healthcare quality in Tanzania on April 14, 2016. NMB and MCF will provide private hospitals, health centres, and medical services providers with affordable loans of up to USD1m, enabling them to expand and improve the quality of their services.

The Tanzanian economy and society to some extent depends on banks that impose responsibilities on people that go beyond their customers and members. The choices and decisions they make as financial institutions have an impact on the Tanzanian society as a whole.

Aims to Promote Economic Growth

In efforts to boost the economy and create jobs, the National Microfinance Bank Plc (NMB) among the largest lenders promotes growth and innovation in the business sector, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country.

“We want to be the financial engine behind Tanzanian businesses by helping them to secure funding for their plans,” says NMB Managing Director Ineke Bussemaker.

In the financial year 2016/17, the bank has set aside over 1.5bn/- for community development projects through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes, education being one of the key priorities.

The money aimed at imparting public schools through the provision of school desks, construction of laboratories and other school materials.

Since there are not enough desks and classrooms to cater for all pupils and many children are sitting on the floor and some under the threes between January and June 2016, the bank has contributed over 660m/- for purchasing desks to address the shortage in various schools across the country.

Up-to-date, a total of 131 primary and secondary schools have benefitted from 6,550 desks, a huge support to the government’s endeavours to improve the learning environment by finding lasting solutions to the acute shortage of desks.

This year’s support complements the last year’s effort whereby more than 7,000 school desks were donated to 140 primary and secondary schools countrywide.

“In those cases where we don’t actually provide loan ourselves, we often play a linking pin role. We look beyond the confines of our own walls and seek partnerships with other financial parties,” she says.

Since 2002, the government has been executing the Primary Education Development Programme (PEDP) with the aim of making education more accessible and improving its quality.

It is clear that even after the introduction of PEDP almost a decade ago, the provision of sufficient school facilities such as classrooms and desks, has remained a challenge.

She points out that their role as a financier also includes developing Tanzanian businesses as one of the bank’s most important duties, one that extends far beyond the provision of funding.

NMB provides innovation and entrepreneurship through its involvement in numerous innovation programmes.She states that they connect people at business events and through their networks and diverse online platforms.

The bank also utilises its know-how, data and experience to help businesses to make the right strategic decisions. It conducts ongoing research into economic, financial and industry-specific trends and developments.

For the bank to remain relevant to its stakeholders in the long run, and to achieve its vision of becoming the preferred financial service partner, it must deliver sufficient and sustainable results, the banker comments.

NMB Chief Financial Officer Waziri Barnabas says their values play a significant role in all the choices they make, including the businesses they fund, the projects they support and the programmes in which they participate.

“One of our core values is sustainability. We believe that prosperity should not come at the expense of welfare; ideally, the two should be well balanced, as with circular enterprise,” he states.

In becoming more sustainable, Barnabas states that businesses can improve the balance between welfare and prosperity.
NMB therefore supports its customers and those around them in improving sustainability by providing financial solutions, expertise and access to networks.

Retail Customers

The bank says it does not just support business customers in adopting sustainable practices, but also encourages its retail ones to make sustainable choices as much as possible. This includes the choice to switch to sustainable investment funds.

Bridging the Digital Divide

On this area, the bank has been donating computers to enhance information technology learning programmes in schools in the country.

The bank programmes are focused on empowering youth leaders and to be peer counselors to others as they hone life-coping skills as well as developing positive values, skills and attitudes.

“The donations assist schools with administrative aspects as well as enhance teaching techniques, expand their curricular, facilitate research and improve information technology skills,” notes NMB Chief Financial officer.

NMB computer education programme is a corporate thrust for students to act on their commitment to improve the quality of education among Tanzania’s youth, as they recognise that computer technology is a critical tool in teaching rogrammes, exposing students to trends on the global landscape, building specialist skills and facilitating efficiency,” says Dodoma Municipal Council Education Officer for primary schools Schola Kapinga.

Health Sector

In the right of preventing the deaths of mother and child, NMB has dispensed 90m/- to 18 hospitals in the country, hence for 2016 alone, it allocated 200m/- to support health sector.

Among other beneficiaries of the fund include Mlandizi, Msoga, Mafia and Mkuranga hospitals, Chihangu Health Centre and Kisarawe District Hospital.

“As a bank we are really here for our Tanzanian people, therefore, want to be at the forefront of being part of the solution especially in fighting communicable diseases, ignorance and poverty in our country.

Through the NMB Corporate Social Responsibility programmes, we will continue to build our success and help make our communities a better place to live,” Bussemaker concludes.