New system to map financial service access points

Friday February 28 2020

 

By Alex Malanga @ChiefMalanga amalanga@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. The government will from next month start to register all financial service providers with a view to keeping a digital track of what is happening on the ground.

Yesterday, three institutions that regulate the various sub-sectors within the wider financial sector launched the Financial Services Registry (FSR) that will map all financial service access points across the country.

The Tanzania Co-operative Development Commission (TCDC), Tanzania Insurance Regulatory Authority (Tira) and Capital Markets and Securities Authority (CMSA) will work under the guidance of the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) in the initiative facilitated by the Financial Sector Deepening Trust (FSDT).

BoT governor Florens Luoga said the new development was meant to unlock the power of geospatial data as a tool for business intelligence, decision making and strategic planning (geospatial data is data that is associated with a particular location).

The FSR is a sustainable registry that will map all financial services access points by capturing their geo-locations and type of services offered.

“The FSR will be the first registry of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa that automates the data collection process and provides digital access to near-real time data,” said Prof Luoga, who doubles as the National Council for Financial Inclusion chairman.

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“It will serve as a national system for tracking growth and distribution of financial access points and inform key stakeholders of the National Financial Inclusion Framework 2018-2022 and the public in general.”

Between March and June this year, BoT will dispatch field teams across the country to register outlets offering financial services, including bank branches, bank agents and merchants, according to BoT national payment systems manager Lucy Shaidi.

Others, she added, are automated teller machines (ATMs), mobile money agents and merchants, savings and credits cooperative societies (Saccos), microfinance banks and institutions as well as insurance brokers and agents and capital market brokers.

Registration will be conducted through the android platform set up by BoT.

“Each registered outlet will be issued with FSR code, a certificate that contains both a human readable number and a QR code, which will be publicly displayed at the outlet,” Ms Shaidi said, adding that data will be available at various user levels.

BoT deputy governor (financial stability and deepening) Bernard Kibesse said the new registry would act as a catalyst for consolidation and unlocking the power of data to encourage growth, innovation and collaboration within the financial sector,

He said the sector was ready for a new decade of digitalisation, industrialisation and connectivity.

“Data is the new oil and those who can use it effectively will reap rewards and flourish,” noted Dr Kibesse.

He called for collaboration from the sector’s players and individual agents as well as outlet owners to ensure a smooth and successful mass registration for the interest of the financial sector.

Tira representative Paul Abdiel said the new digital platform would help insurance service providers to identify the untapped potentials and allocate resources accordingly.

“The FSR will help insurer to better serve their clients,” noted Mr Abdiel.

Representing TCDC registrar, Mr Collins Nyakunga said the FSR would pave a way for transparency and avoid cooking of data as it is currently used to.

He said the system would check the increase in the number of saccos which were not viable.

This, Mr Nyakunga added, would in turn enable cooperatives to restore lost members’ trust.

“The automated system will enable us to make informed decisions. We better have a few but strong cooperatives that benefit their members.”

His views were echoed by the representative of telcom companies, who also is Vodacom M-Pesa director Epimark Mbeteni, who said the new automated system would help in understanding the behaviour of customers and responding accordingly.

FSDT executive director Sosthenes Kewe said the FSR is instrumental in helping the service providers to imagine new ways of delivering services to the market that they serve.

DCB Bank managing director Godfrey Ndalahwa, who represented the Tanzania Bankers Association, said the new digital platform would present an opportunity for them to reach unserved areas and eventually increase financial inclusion.