WOMEN savings in the Village Community Banks, known as VICOBA have reached 1.2tri/- as they strive to kick out poverty through savings and lending schemes.
Speaking at Gender Festival organised by TGNP Mtandao in Mabibo, Dar es Salaam yesterday, the Executive Secretary of National Empowerment Council (NEEC), Beng’I Issa, said the registered 100,000 VICOBAs have 1.2tr/- and 80 per cent of members are women.
Despite owning large stake, 60 per cent of women, mostly ailing in the rural setting, are living in the extreme poverty, according to 2016 survey, prompting gender activists to call upon the government to embark on economic inclusiveness policies as the country is gearing to fully industrialisation.
Apart from VICOBA, women are also saving their earnings in more than 8,000 registered Savings and Credit Cooperatives Organisations (SACCOS), according to NEEC executive director.
Ms Beng’i said women are well organised in the saving groups, which have to be transformed into the economic system to help them catch up with the growing of the country economy. “Women produce but they don’t know where to sell and buyers don’t know where to buy,” the executive secretary added.
She, however, said the government is currently working to improve existing policies and infrastructure including electricity and water merely to help women to get more time to engage in income generating activities.
She said the government has established women forums in 23 regions and 236 in ward level, which are composed with various state agencies that aim at solving various challenges facing female traders in the country.
According to NEEC boss, 30 per cent of government tenders have been directed to women entrepreneurs only to help them to improve their businesses, as the government is working to revive Tanzania Women Bank which will be catalyst for empowerment of women.
However, TGNP Mtandao Executive Director, Ms Lilian Liundi, said emancipation of women economically means the government should make sure that the said group are not being forced to walk some kilometres searching water and firewood in order to get enough time to engage in production activities.
“We have to pave the way and give women more time to participate well in the economy by solving various challenges facing them,” she added. She said African countries are losing nearly USD 100.5tr/- because women, majority are farmers, are not participating fully in economic activities, calling for affirmative action to reverse the situation.
At the opening of the festival, Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan said women can raise fund from their savings which are out of the economic system to revive TWB Bank, which was established to emancipate marginalised women and men.