The National Assembly has applauded NMB Bank’s sustainability agenda commending the lender for initiating the ongoing nationwide tree planting campaign to add a million new trees to national environmental conservation efforts.
Led by Speaker Dr Tulia Ackson, the members of the august House vowed to fully support the bank’s project to green Tanzania and contain effects of climate change in the country.
The lawmakers made the pledge to join NMB in planting the trees on Friday evening in Dodoma when the bank treated them to an Iftar dinner as part of its tradition to honour and observe the Holy Month of Ramadhan with its fasting Muslim stakeholders and other partners.
Tanzania’s leading financial services business used the Iftar gathering to lobby for the green crusade in Parliament calling on the legislators to support the afforestation initiative by partnering with it to undertake the campaign in their constituencies.
The Members of Parliament (MPs) nodded the call saying that the ambitious NMB project to plant and nurture a million trees, whose launching at the national level on March 27 in Dodoma was graced by Vice President Dr Philip Mpango, has significant environmental value and development benefits.
Speaking at the MPs Iftar event, which was held in the Bunge grounds, Dr Tulia commended NMB for once again hosting the dinner to break the fast for the lawmakers and asked the bank to uphold the magnanimous arrangement.
“Apart from this generous gesture of yearly hosting Iftar dinners for us, NMB Bank also deserves to be praised for coming up with this sustainable tree planting campaign, which is a noble national undertaking,” she noted in her speech after enjoying the Iftar meal.
“We are also impressed by NMB seeing the importance of involving MPs in implementing this exercise and lobbying for our support to take it to the people,” Speaker Tulia said noting that the National Assembly also appreciates the bank’s financing of other national development programmes through huge tax remittances and impactful social investments.
In their comments after breaking the fast, legislators Nassor Ammar of Nyangwale and Hamis Tabasamu of Sengerema said apart from the bank’s efforts to help deal with deforestation and other effects of environmental degradation, NMB also excels in serving the country with exemplary digital innovations and world class financial solutions.
Together with Special Seats MP Hawa Mchafu, they equally showered the bank with compliments for its unrivalled CSR spending that has supported the education sector with classroom furniture, built classrooms and improved sanitation as well as providing various medical supplies and equipment such as beddings and delivery beds all over the country.
NMB spends one per cent of its net income annually to finance corporate giving budgets, which Acting CEO Filbert Mponzi said could have amounted to TZS 4.2 billion this year from the record TZS 429 billion after tax profit the bank generated in 2022.
However, he explained that the 2023 CSR spending has ballooned to TZS 6.2 billion after the board of directors approved an additional TZS 2 billion to back the novel sustainability agenda under which the one million trees project is being implemented.
Mr Mponzi said the size of this new spending, which is also part of giving back to society in celebrating 25 years of NMB, shows the importance the lender accords sustainable development and the aspiration of the government to protect the environment.
“We are well prepared to plant one million trees across the country this year with the support of various partners and strategies like the ‘Kuza Mti Tukutuze’ competition for schools,” he noted asking the MPs to support the campaign, which has the technical backing and professional coordination of Tanzania Forest Services Agency, which will supply the tree seedlings
Mr Mponzi told the lawmakers that the grand undertaking was also an opportunity for them to contribute to efforts of the government to tame effects of climate change and deal with global warming challenges as championed and advocated by President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan and Vice President Mpango.
NMB board chair Dr Edwin Mhede used the occasion to inform shareholders that the bank continuous to be financially strong by being well capitalised and highly profitable, which the lender says provides the requisite fiscal clout to enable it to venture in sustainability investments