NMB Bank Plc has debuted the “GO na NMB” platform in Zanzibar to economically empower young people in the isles and liberate them financially through digital finance, lending and financial literacy programmes.
The top lender has vowed to use its financial muscle, innovation prowess and market leadership to ensure Zanzibar youths are fiscally disciplined so as to become financially responsible citizens.
The bank made the commitment over the weekend while officially launching the banking solutions platform at Forodhani in Unguja, which was graced by the Second Vice President of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, Hon Hemed Suleiman Abdulla, who said the investment was a game changer in addressing development challenges.
Profiling the multi-beneficial initiative, NMB’s Chief Executive Officer Ruth Zaipuna told the chief guest that the bank was better positioned technologically to make a huge difference in the lives of young men and women in the Spice Islands and across Tanzania.
Ms Zaipuna noted in her remarks that the youth empowerment platform was also a networking avenue whose ultimate goal is to nurture young people into economically productive and responsible citizens.
“The ‘GO na NMB’ platform is specifically designed to serve the youth and is a continuation of the bank’s strategy to better its services and increase the contribution of the banking sector to various groups in the bid to further support efforts of the government in spurring economic growth,” Ms Zaipuna pointed out.
She said that with the youth accounting for 64 per cent of the national population, the segment was an invaluable growth asset to ignore hence the need to enlighten it on money matters, engage digitally, support commercially and empower economically.
Ms Zaipuna noted that “GO na NMB” offers young people abundant empowerment opportunities such as motorcycle loans (Mastaboda), boat credits (Mastaboat), financial education as well as understanding the use and benefits of the bank’s digital services notably NMB Lipa Mkononi, MshikoFasta na NMB Pesa Wakala.
Whereas MshikoFasta is a digital loans facility that allows young NMB account holders to borrow up to TZS 500,000, she explained, the NMB Pesa Wakala agency banking service will create hundreds of jobs for them by simplifying their engagement in the cash in and cash out business.
The platform’s benefits package also comprises financial inclusion training programmes, free mobile phone insurance as well as opportunities to attend networking events such as college student conferences and entrepreneurship trainings.
“Under this setup and all the opportunities offered by ‘GO na NMB”, we strongly believe that we will motivate the youth, who are a formidable national human resource capital, to utilise the platform to make savings and engage in productive activities that will guarantee them reliable incomes,” Ms Zaipuna noted.
She expressed optimism that the bank’s initiative would not only offer needed solutions to finance sector challenges but also compliments Government’s efforts to enhance financial inclusion for youths and take them one step closer to realizing their dreams adding that the bank will continue investing in research to come up with tailor-made and technologically driven products.
Vice President Suleiman said “GO na NMB” was a noble idea that augurs well with the isles’ government endeavour to address economic and social challenges encountered by the youth and engage them constructively in national building efforts.
He said its introduction was timely and a worthy investment because by empowering young people financially and economically, the platform helps to address the huge unemployment burden on the shoulders on the isles’ economy.
Apart from offering financial education, which is still very low in Zanzibar at less than 30 per cent, VP Suleiman said “GO na NMB” will equally help to address the challenge of lack of adequate sources of capital for the youth to create jobs for themselves and their peers.
“I would like to take this opportunity to commend NMB for embarking on this initiative to empower young people and mould them into a financially disciplined generation,” the Vice President noted in his inaugural speech of the innovative platform.
This platform is in line with our vision of promoting self-reliance through entrepreneurship. We all know that youth unemployment is not only a problem in Zanzibar but rather a global problem. Many youths do not engage in formal jobs and the majority do not have start-up capital to implement their business ideas. Initiatives done by companies like NMB will help them raise the required capital thus helping sustain their lives. I take this opportunity to call upon other companies to emulate NMB,” he added.
He noted that the Zanzibar Government under President Hussein Mwinyi is committed to enhance financial literacy right at grass-roots level that will help to create more jobs while increasing the countries revenue base.
“The Government cannot employ all the youths. I call upon youths to embrace opportunities created by the GO na NMB platform and take up the loans. You also need financial discipline if you are to succeed,” he added.
The Zanzibar Urban District Commissioner Rashid Simai Msaraka during the event said the ban’s GO na NMB platform comes at a time many Zanzibar residents are exposed to malicious pyramid schemes and loan sharks who charge higher interest rates in return for loans.
“Zanzibar residents have been victims to loan-sharks but we have been receiving a lot of people at our offices with intentions to secure loans. This has been giving us sleepless nights at times. We are glad that NMB has finally introduced products that can offer financial solutions at slightly cheaper interest rates without going through the traditional banking systems, he added.
The GO na NMB is a proposition initially launched in Dar es Salaam last year and graced by the Deputy Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Youth, Employment and Persons with Disability), Patrobas Katambi.
It offers immediately access digital enrolment, targeted deals and offers through all NMB channels, access to Masterboda loans and QR payment discounts deals.
Its benefits package comprises free mobile phone insurance, financial literacy progammes as well as access to networking events, career fairs, internship opportunities and free Wi-Fi spots at some university campuses.