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The Chanzo Morning Briefing Tanzania News – December 21, 2023.

In our briefing today: Man, 38, accuses police of torture, humiliation: ‘I didn’t deserve such treatments’; Tanzania’s central bank gold assets increases to Shs. 58 billion; BOAT receives AfDB’s approval for Trade Finance Transaction Guarantee Facility; BoT revokes Msilikare Microfinance’s license citing ‘predatory practices.’

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Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Wednesday, December 20, 2023.

Man, 38, accuses police of torture, humiliation: ‘I didn’t deserve such treatments’

Officers from the Tanzania Police Force here face accusations of torture and abuse after they allegedly arrested and detained a 38-year-old man who told The Chanzo that he was humiliated, tortured and abused when he was in the hands of law enforcement officers.

Police reportedly arrested Kalamba Ramadhani Mnenge, a livestock keeper from the National Housing Street in the capital, Dodoma, on the evening of December 10, 2023, after they accused him of the robbery that occurred at a nearby shop, a theft he says he never participated in.

While narrating his ordeal to The Chanzo, the father of one Mnenge said that the officers removed him from his house, ignoring his appeals to let the local authorities know of his arrest, and handcuffed his legs and hands before dumping him on a police patrol car.

“They took me to a house and stripped me naked,” Mnenge narrated. “They handcuffed my legs and arms again and left me hanging through a piece of iron bar. One of the officers was drinking water while occasionally pouring it on my naked buttocks.”

Full story here.

Tanzania’s central bank gold assets increases to Shs. 58 billion

The Bank of Tanzania has started to show a specific line for gold assets in its financial books. The practice seems to have started in October 2023, in the latest financial statement, the Bank shows that gold assets have increased to Tshs. 58 Billion in November 2023 from Tshs. 53 Billion recorded in October 2023.

In September 2023, the Bank of Tanzania announced that it was starting a gold purchasing program  and that for this year alone the Bank is planning to purchase six tons of gold.

Due to economic challenges which include the  shortage of US dollar globally, many central banks have continued to increase their purchase of gold. 

According to the World Council of Gold, central banks have continued to purchase gold at an increasing rate reaching a total of 2125 tonnes. By October 2023, the biggest gold buyers by central banks were China, Turkey and Poland

Gold accounts for at least one-third of Tanzania’s exports and is considered one of its strongest currency stabilization export products.

BOAT receives AfDB’s approval for Trade Finance Transaction Guarantee Facility

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a trade finance transaction guarantee facility for Bank of Africa Tanzania Limited (BOAT) to support Tanzania’s financial sector.

According to a statement released Wednesday, this instrument will support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and local corporates to facilitate their import and export trade finance requirements. 

The facility will also support intra-Africa trade, thus directly contributing to the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agenda.

The Bank will provide a guarantee to confirming banks for the non-payment risk arising from the confirmation of letters of credit and similar trade finance instruments issued by BOAT.

Full story here.

BoT revokes Msilikare Microfinance’s license citing ‘predatory practices’

The Bank of Tanzania (BoT) governor Emmanuel Tatuba announced Wednesday the central bank’s decision to revoke the licence of Msilikare Microfinance Company Limited, citing predatory practices and operating in violation of its regulations.

According to a report by The Citizen newspaper, Mr Tutuba said BoT’s decision was driven by serious violations of licencing conditions and exploitative behaviour towards borrowers.

“Msilikare was charging exorbitant interest rates, well beyond the limits allowed for microfinance institutions,” he said. “For instance, a Sh1 million loan incurred a staggering Sh200,000 monthly interest—far exceeding their licenced terms.”

The company has also been accused of inappropriately collecting and holding onto ATM cards belonging to teachers, their primary clientele. BoT emphasised its commitment to protecting microfinance users through strong regulatory oversight and promoting financial inclusion.

BoT issued a formal statement outlining the legal basis for its action, citing sections 25(1)(b) and (e) of the Microfinance Act of 2018 and its associated regulations. It reiterated that the decision stemmed from Msilikare’s demonstrably non-compliant operations.

Mr Tutuba reaffirmed BoT’s unwavering dedication to safeguarding the interests of microfinance users.

“We remain vigilant in ensuring a fair and ethical microfinance landscape that facilitates growth and empowers individuals,” The Citizen quoted him saying.This is it for today, and we hope you enjoyed our briefing. Please consider subscribing to our newsletter (see below), following us on X (Twitter) (here), or joining us on Telegram (here). And if you have any questions or comments, please drop a word to our editors at editor@thechanzo.com.

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