*Customer centricity, innovation way forward
Failure in financial inclusion in Tanzania can partly be attributed to internal weaknesses of providers of financial services ranging from products costs, packaging, technology, terms, conditions, practices and relationship among other issues.
Delivering a key note address at a two day rural Microfinance conference in Dar es Salaam that ended on Friday, Tanzania Association of Microfinance Institutions (TAMFI) Chairman Mr Joel Mwakitalu said its high time players in the sector admitted internal weaknesses of players.
Previously, most stakeholders have been blaming the clients (income levels and financial illiteracy) ) and business environment (distance – too far, remote, bad roads and poor infrastructure), while leaving out the weaknesses of service providers and lack of innovativeness in addressing customer needs.
During his welcoming remarks at the….., Mr Mwakitalu at the RURAL AND MICROFINANCE CONFERENCE IN TANZANIA that brought together public and private sector players in the Microfinance industry.
“Let us (providers of financial services) take strong measures to address our internal weaknesses while we are pushing for improvement in the business environment and assists the government in addressing client’s weaknesses.”
Calling for the industry to be customer centric, he said that sustainable profit can be achieved without exploiting and harming clients. “Business needs clients to make business; sustainable clients sustain businesses,” he noted.
Mr Samora Lupalla, who is an Agriculture & Rural Finance Advisor with Financial Sector Deepening Trust (FSDT), told the conference that it was paramount for mechanisms to be introduced to include data from rural Microfinance organizations including SACCO’s in Credit Reference Bureaus “This will open up opportunities for rural clients to access more credit, he said. At the same time he championed for Digital savings group tools to help rural saving groups to use mobile phones to manage their group structure and help with digital savings and credit management. “This way it will be much easier for such groups to link to formal financial services,” he added.
Commenting about the conference, Mr Stanley Mwanri, Tanganyika Farmers’ Association PLC commended the forum organizers – TAMFI and Marketing Infrastructure, Value Addition and Rural Finance (MIVARF) for bringing together the private and public sector to promote the agenda of accelerating rural micro finance. “The conference gave exposure on how Microfinance can play a greater role in financing agriculture, he noted.
Ms Eveline Elieseri, Unaweza Micro Credit Facility called on the government to work with TAMFI and formalize all activities of Microfinance institutions just like banks. “There should be progressive policy/law/regulations to guide the industry and help address the challenges and risks it faces,” she noted.