NMB’s COVID-19 relief measures lauded

The government and business community have lauded the NMB Bank for its proactive and timely lending relief measures as it enabled its clients to cope with commercial and fiscal challenges caused COVID-19
The pandemic has devastated the global economy. Speaking at the NMB Business Executive Network (NBEN) function in Arusha, customers said the bank’s support has also greatly benefitted the country and the national economy at large.

In May this year, the bank announced a relief measures package to its customers in sectors whose income and cash flows had been mostly affected by the novel COVID-19 pandemic. The financial reprieve aimed at cushioning business community from the negative impact of the disease ranged from loan repayment holidays to extension of credit tenures.

Over 100 top-end customers of the bank from Arusha, Tanga and Kilimanjaro regions attended the NMB’s executive networking. Those who spoke to Business Times said if the bank couldn’t introduce such loan repayment relief initiative many of them in zone would have closed their business. This is because tourism and the whole hospitality industry, which is the mainstay of the northern zone economy, have been among sectors adversely affected by COVID-19 in the country.

Frank Mwaisumbe, Longido District Commissioner said NMB Bank deserves the honour for a job well done for its moral and financial support to its customers during these tough times. “NMB Bank has been indeed supportive to its customers in different ways which is a good thing and monumental deed, especially to the tourism industry that continues to suffer from the COVID-19 wreckage,” he noted.

Andrew Makanga of Zita Tanzania Wild Company Ltd. said the bank also deserves credit for consulting its customers on various issues through forums like the Business Executive Network meeting which are crucial platforms during austerity periods. According to the bank’s officials, the loan relief initiative principally sought to ensure sustainability of their customers’ businesses, which is not only critical to the survival of the bank but also the well-being of the national economy.

Nenyuata Mejooli, NMB’s Chief for Shared Services, said the bank has been impressed by its customers’ efforts and bravery to cope with challenges posed by COVID-19 on their operations. She pointed out that the bank was very aware of the hard times businesses in the travel trade industry were going through that is why it ensured the timely provision of the requisite support. “On behalf of NMB management, I commend our customers for being strong and putting on a brave face to cope with the troubles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Your endurance means a lot to us and an encouragement of continuing to work with you,” Mejooli told the NBEN gathering.

She called on other businesspeople to join the network, which since its inception six years ago has delivered many financial and economic benefits to its members who currently exceed 600.
The NBEN comprises top-end SME customers of the bank in seven regions, namely Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Moro- goro, Kilimanjaro, Mtwara, Mbeya and Dodoma. Their annual turnover amounts to at least Tsh10 billion.
Mejooli said NMB has continued to lead its peers in profit making after posting a profit after tax of Tsh93.6 billion during the first half of 2020, which was an increase of 65 per cent year-on-year.

Alex Mgeni, NMB’s Head of Busi- ness Banking said the government’s stance on COVID-19 has played a vital role in mitigating fears of the pandemic ravaging the economy and leading to many businesses to collapse.
He added that the bank will continue to support its customers to overcome the adverse effects of the disease, noting that it cannot offer total debt relief to them.
“Debt relief is not only commercially unviable but also against Bank of Tanzania regulations on bank- ing business management,” he said.