Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 18 July, 2018.
- Today: First day of a two day extraordinary session of parliament to pass decentralization reforms per the recent constitutional amendments
- Today: Mozambique’s Bar Association releases its 2016 human rights report
- Today: Maputo’s Municipal Council meets to discuss, among other things, a name for the new bridge between Maputo and Katembe
The latest from Zitamar News:
Vale Mozambique mines yield lower-value coal so far this year
Metallurgical coal production is down almost 20%, while thermal coal production jumped more than 30%
Japanese insurance inks Mozambique partnership with ICE Seguros
Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance said “sizeable investments are expected of Japanese companies” in Mozambique
The best of the rest:
- Parliament pushes back on decentralisation specifics
- Government audits Anadarko and ENI
- Police correct $12m bank heist story
- ISRI launches maritime security course
- Venâncio Mondlane officially presented as Renamo member
- Julião Dimande re-elected as president of Mozambique’s chamber of commerce
Parliament pushes back on decentralisation specifics (Joseph Hanlon / CIP)
The First Commission of Mozambique’s parliament has decided that some aspects of the decentralisation law proposed by the Council of Ministers are unconstitutional. The Commission objected to the provision that mayoral candidates need not live in the municipality they seek to govern, saying that it goes against the “spirit of local power”, and also rejected as unconstitutional a provision requiring candidates to be members of the party whose list they are running on. The First Commission further rejected a proposal to allow the public to view vote counting at polling stations, even from a distance of 300 meters. For its part, parliament’s Fourth Commission, which deals with local issues, proposed a ban on taking photos of ballots in voting booths, to preserve ballot secrecy, and a second round of voting in the case of a tie between mayoral candidates.
It now seems likely that the decentralisation reforms will pass in some form, but the ongoing debates show that there are still many details to hammer out that will shape Mozambican politics going forward.
Government audits Anadarko and Eni (Correio da Manhã)
The Mozambican government commissioned an audit of Anadarko and Eni’s operating costs in their LNG operations, following allegations that the companies were inflating their recoverable costs in the Rovuma basin. The audit began on 2 April, 2018, and is expected to be completed in December of this year.
Operating costs are tax deductible on the Rovuma projects so will make a big difference to how much tax the government can claim once the projects go into operation in the next decade. The tax authority, the Autoridade Tributaria (AT), has five years to query claims made by the companies. The worry is that the AT does not have the capacity or expertise to audit the projects properly – though they have received some technical assistance from donors including Norway. Boosting capacity at the AT needs to be a priority for the government.
Police correct $12m bank heist story (AIM)
State news agency AIM’s Portuguese service has had to issue a correction after it reported that $12 million had been stolen electronically from Standard Bank by two employees of state-owned telco Mcel, as well as three other Mozambicans and one Nigerian. The news originated from the police force, which later put out a correction saying that in fact the amount stolen was just $300 plus MZN 58,100 (worth less than $1,000), from “more than three” commercial banks in Mozambique. The five Mozambicans arrested in connection with the crimes “have some laboural relationship with the three mobile telephone operators in the country,” namely Vodacom and Movitel alongside Mcel, the police clarified.
ISRI launches maritime security course (AIM)
Maputo’s Higher Institute of International Relations yesterday launched a maritime security course as part of its master’s program, in partnership with the University of Valparaíso in Chile. Mozambique’s vice-minister for oceans, inland water, and fisheries, Henrique Bongece, said at the launch event that the country needs senior staff to be prepared to confront maritime security issues.
A lack of in-country expertise on maritime security was one contributing factor to the $2 billion ‘hidden debts’ which have bankrupted the country without giving it the capacity to protect its own coastline. Better late than never, though.
Venâncio Mondlane officially presented as Renamo member (DW, Magazine Independente)
Mozambican politician Venâncio Mondlane, who recently left the Movimento Democrático de Moçambique (MDM) party, was yesterday officially presented in Maputo as a new member of Renamo, Mozambique’s largest opposition party. Renamo secretary general Manuel Bissopo did not confirm or deny widespread rumours that Mondlane will be Renamo’s candidate for Maputo mayor in October’s municipal elections, saying that the party will announce its candidate list within 15 days.
Renamo also grew in its Sofala province base yesterday, as over 100 new members were inducted in Dondo district. 70 of the new members joined from the MDM, eight from Frelimo, and the rest were previously unaffiliated members of civil society.
Julião Dimande re-elected as president of Mozambique’s chamber of commerce (AIM, Notícias)
Julião Dimande was elected yesterday to another three-year term as president of the Mozambican Chamber of Commerce (CCM) by a tally of 144 votes to 77 for challenger António Matabel. In his acceptance speech, Dimande said that he will focus on continuing programs begun in his first term, including his “Piga” program to connect Mozambican and Chinese businesses.
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