Exchange rates (November 24): $1 = Shs 610 – 635
£1 = Shs 920 – 1,020

The National Bank of Commerce increased its INTEREST on lending from 32% to 40% on August 1. The discount rate at which it borrows from the Central Bank is 50.3% – Business Times.

In a major step towards the RE-INTEGRATION OF EAST AFRICA the governors of the central banks of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have agreed to make their currencies freely convertible from December 31 1995 – The East African.

The British Council has launched a SERVICE CENTRE in Dar es Salaam containing rooms fitted with business software and communication facilities to assist development project specialists and consultants – Daily News.

The Shs 2.7 billion NATIONAL SHIPPING AGENCIES CCMPANY (NASACO) building, which was opened in February 1993 and which also accommodated the offices of a department of the Commission of Customs and Sales Tax, was gutted by fire on August 17 – Daily News.

The European Union has committed Shs 93 billion under LOME IV for Tanzanian projects in AIDS control, water supplies in Mwanza and Iringa, environmental protection, road rehabilitation and coffee research in the Ruvuma and Mbeya regions, plus general import support – Business Times. Tanzania should have a STOCK EXCHANGE by June 1996 the Director of the new Capital Markets and Securities Authority (CMSA) Dr. Fratern Mboya said recently. It would be able to enhance the liquidity of state-owned firms now being privatised, and would be established with the help of the government but be placed in private hands within three years – Daily News.

A new MINERAL INFORMATION CENTRE has been set up in Dar es Salaam which has computerised most of the geological data collected in the country in the last 100 years, for the benefit of potential investors. It was launched through a World Bank loan and has already been used by over 100 foreign companies – Guardian.

Administrative costs have been slashed at AIR TANZANIA CORPORATION by cutting board members from 10 to 5 – Business Times.

The newly established TANZANIA REVENUE AUTHORITY began work on September 2. It has been designed to stem what was described by an official as the ‘pathetic’ tax administration of the country. The Chairman is Prof. Benno Nduliu who was a director of the Nairobi-based Africa Research Consortium.

A NEW BANK – the Eurafrica Bank – began operations in September, the seventh bank to be established in Tanzania since 1991. Under the chairmanship of Professor Simon Mbilinyi the bank is 30% owned by Banque Belgolaise of Brussels, 20% by the World Bank affiliate the International Finance Corporation and 9% by the Tanzania Development Finance Corporation. It has a staff of 53 Tanzanians and 3 expatriates – The East African.

Another bank – THE AKIBA COMMERCIAL BANK – is in the process of formation. It aims to finance Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SME’s) and has so far raised capital as follows: Shs 400 million from individual Tanzanians, Shs 275 million from Tanzanian public institutions and Shs 330 from overseas financial institutions. A large Netherlands bank – Rabobank – which has a triple ‘AAA’ rating will manage the Akiba bank in its early stages – Business Times.

Tanzania’s NATIONAL BANK OF COMMERCE is undergoing major restructuring by closing 34 of its 179 branches and trimming its 6,000-man workforce by 46%. The bank hopes to start operating profitably within 18 months after. – Daily News.

Sales from Zanzibar’s highly successful SEAWEED INDUSTRY totalled Shs 492 million last year which compares with only Shs 289 million from tourism. But the employment needs of the seaweed industry are beginning to affect school attendance in the areas where the crop is harvested – Business Times.

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