Launching the ‘CRBD Al Barakah Banking,’ he said the new product will mobilize many Muslims who have no bank accounts to open one so that they can access interest free credit.

“I know that there are many people who have no bank accounts simply because there was no product and services conforming to teachings of their religion. This CRDB Al Barakah product is a solution to such concerns,” he affirmed.

The new product will also allow believers to access other formal banking services and thus improve their living standards, he stated, noting that to an extent, “development needs financial muscle which many ordinary people do not have.”

There are people who are well off and keep excess money in their bank accounts which they can accept to be used for lending under the new arrangement, he remarked, elaborating that those who have their money in the bank “will be assured that their money will not be used to finance activities that violate Islamic beliefs.” Many believers object to the idea of their money being used to earn interest, the president intoned.

Jamal Kassim Ali, the Minister of State in the President’s Office (Finance and Planning), said the bank’s   services will help speed up implementation of credit provision as part of the government’s 10 year financial sector development master plan, launched last year.

“This plan has put emphasis on financial inclusion for the majority of our people,” he said, elaborating that statistics indicate that only 15 percent of Zanzibaris access formal banking services.

Abdulmajid Nsekela, the bank’s chief executive, said the new product has been launched following feedback from clients as to its demand level. “Driven by our motto, ‘the bank that listens,’ we have been receiving requests from clients and the public and one such demand is that of having Islamic banking services and products,” he explained.

While the product targets Muslims, it can be accessed by any clients seeking banking services that align with Islamic teachings and guidelines. “Wherever you are in Tanzania, this product is available at all CRDB branches,” he stated.

Rashid H. Rashid, the bank’s head of Islamic Banking, said services that will be served under the new product include deposit keeping with 15 different accounts, including those for kids and students.

The bank will also be providing loans to invest in businesses, finance projects and loans to individuals, with both the public and private sector clients being eligible, he added.

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