Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Constantine Kanyasu said in Arusha over the weekend during his visit to NMB Bank Plc’s pavilion at a Karibu Kili Fair exhibition that the Southern Tourist Circuit has not been accorded adequate investment hence not known to the world.
Kanyasu commended financial institutions led by banks for supporting private sector’s investments in tourism which has seen the sector grow led by the Northern Tourist Circuit and thus contributing to economic growth.
“The government supports NMB’s efforts to spur the country’s growth by working with the public towards development. Now I would like to call upon the financial institutions including NMB to focus their efforts on Southern regions which have huge potential,” he said.
He said the government through a World Bank funded Regrow Project is focusing on unleashing potential of the Southern regions ordering all Regional Administrative Secretaries to attend tourism fairs being organised by other East African Community countries.
Seconding Kanyasu’s observations, Songwe RAS, David Kafulila said President John Magufuli has already ordered the opening up of the Southern Tourist Circuit hence his region is already implementing the directive.
“We hope that NMB will assist in this regard by giving loans to business people so that they can play a role in opening up the Southern regions,” Kafulila noted while pointing out that strategies are already in place to ensure that the area will rival its Northern peer in future. Apart from Songwe, Southern tourist regions include: Iringa, Katavi, Mbeya, Njombe and Ruvuma.
Briefing the top government officials who visited NMB’s pavilion, the bank’s Head of Wholesale Banking, Filbert Mponzi said they have allocated 500bn/- to lend to entrepreneurs including those in the tourism industry although there has been a slow absorption of the loans.
“As a bank we are prepared to work with the government and private sector to develop the tourism sector in Southern regions,” said Mponzi who promised that the area will now be granted special status to back government efforts.
“Our commitment to grow the tourism sector can also be seen in the sponsorship of Karibu Kili Fair which is geared at showcasing the potential that this area has and its contribution to gross domestic growth,” he added.