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How UTT is empowering Tanzanians

How UTT is empowering Tanzanians

UTT was incorporated in June, 2003, under the Trustees Incorporation Act is successor to the Privatisation Trust (PT) set up in 1997, whose objectives included acquiring shares in some newly privatised state enterprises.

The objectives of UTT include, among other things, keeping trust the acquired shares and setting up and managing collective investment schemes (CIS), a strategy designed to empower many Tanzanians both socially and economically.

"So far we have registered significant success by setting up four collective investment funds worth more than 100bn/- and owned by over 100,000 investors throughout Tanzania. Our investors come from all walks of life because one can start investing with as low as 5,000/-," says UTT acting Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Mr Mfaume Kimario, adding that there is no upper limit "... you are free to invest as much as you can".

“Everyone can come on board ..from a paddy farmer in the Kilombero valley, a cashew grower in remote parts of Newala, a cobbler in the pavements of urban streets to an accounant in posh offices of Dar es Salaam,” he futher said.  

Mr Kimario said UTT established Umoja Fund in 2005, Wekeza Maisha in 2007, Watoto Fund and Jikimu Fund in 2008. The funds' average annual return to investors is seen at around 15 per cent, which is perhaps among the highest compared to other investment avenues.

The UTT Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Hamisi Kibola, the way forward is to establish more funds in the near future. "Our vision is to become a one trillion shillings investment house," he said.

UTT has in the last five years been involved in several investment projects in Dar es Salaam and upcountry. These include the 20-storey Ushirika Towers 25bn/- project at Mnazi Mmoja area in Dar es Salaam. UTT is the financial engineer of the project on behalf of the Tanzania Federation of Co-operatives (TFF).

"We have managed to mobilise financial resources from commercial banks to facilitate construction of the proposed 20-storey structure in the city's central commercial district," Mr Kimario said.  He said in Bukoba Municipality UTT arranged for survey of 5,000 plots of land to pave way for construction of good houses.

"It is reported that the country's independence in 1961, only 4,000 plots were surveyed in the municipality. But UTT has done 5,000 plots in a year," said.

In Morogoro Municipal Council UTT is involved in construction of a modern market at the heart of the municipality.  "All these projects are worth 30bn/-. There are many other projects in pipeline because UTT is getting more requests," he explained.

Mr Kimario said that UTT also owns over nine per cent stake in the Dar es Salaam Community Bank (DCB). He said the CRDB Bank was among its major partners because one can transact UTT business from any of the bank's branches throughout the country.

UTT also co-oerates with CRDB in operations related to the Tanzanite Account which is targetted to Tanzanians in the Diaspora. With the Tanzanite Account the depositor has the option to instruct the bank to divert the money to UTT funds. He said UTT supports several community banks including Kagera Farmers Co-operative Bank in Kagera Region, Mwanga Community Bank in Kilimanjaro Region and Mbinga Community Bank in Ruvuma Region.

"We are working closely with these banks and empower them," Mr Kimario said. He said there are more funds in the pipeline including the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). Its role will be to invest in real estate by securing land and build houses.
Another one is called the Liquid Fund, where a persion can put a fixed deposit for a few days and withdraw the money. It is a facility where money is locked for three or four days.

There are also plans to establish the Dollar Fund which is targetting the Diaspora. It is the avenue for Tanzanians in the Diaspora to invest at home.  He, however, said UTT faces many challenges in its operations.   Mr Kimario said lack of awareness and the culture of saving were major problsm in the country.

He suggested the need for introduction of subjects related to shares and units in primary and secondary schools in the curricula. Many people still don’t know how capital markets including the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) work. “It is still very difficult to convince people to buy shares or units,” he said.

"It is for that reason we are working with TV stations, radio and newspapers to disseminate information on UTT and however, we are still committed to empowerment of Tanzanians by recruiting more members to the schemes and attain our goal of becoming a one trillion shillings investment house in the near future,” he said.

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