Intelligent news from Mozambique

Zitamar Daily Briefing, 27 August 2018

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Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 27 August, 2018.

Agenda

The latest from Zitamar News:

Dubai company could take Mozambique to court over $4.6bn hydro project

Mozambique has handed the project back to two state-owned companies, apparently ignoring a deal signed by the former energy minister

Moatize community demands compensation over cemetery that is now a coal mine

Vale disputes the community’s claim that its cemetery was destroyed without a suitable replacement having been made available

NGOs call for de-politicisation of Mozambique’s election authority

Decisions to exclude opposition candidates in Maputo election appear to be politically motivated

The best of the rest:

 

  • Another attack kills two in Cabo Delgado
  • PM promises to pay debts to private business
  • Germany promises aid for energy and agriculture
  • Government will start paying off the Maputo-Katembe bridge next year
  • Government postpones enforcement of journalism fees

Another attack kills two in Cabo Delgado (VoA)

Two people were killed on Thursday night by insurgents at a film screening in the village of Cobre, Macomia district in Cabo Delgado. One of the victims was killed by machete, the other was shot dead. The attackers also burned 12 houses and stole food.

The insurgents continue their reign of terror in Cabo Delgado in spite of a recent military push by Mozambican state forces to put down their rebellion.

PM promises to pay debts to private business (Notícias)

At a meeting with representatives of Mozambique’s private sector last week, Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosário said the government is close to completing the process of validating debts to suppliers incurred from 2007-18, and will announce soon how it intends to go about paying them off.

Clearing the debts will doubtless take years – if it is ever achieved in full – but any injection of funds will be like water to the parched private sector, which is suffering under the double-whammy of a non-paying government and restrictive monetary policy (which should get slightly looser after Wednesday’s meeting of the central bank’s rate-setting committee).

Germany promises aid for energy and agriculture (Notícias, O País)

Germany’s development minister was in Maputo over the weekend, meeting – among others – finance minister Adriano Maleiane, and promising support for agricultural training, energy projects, the private sector, and good governance. Maleiane said the amount to be given would be decided at a follow-up meeting in Germany in October. Germany gave €89.5m from 2016-18, and Maleiane said he would ask for more this time taking into account the “special” elections coming up next year. The German minister, Gerd Mueller, also met Renamo parliamentary leader Ivone Soares, and is today visiting the Chiveve project in Beira.

Germany’s return to the aid negotiating table follows a similar move by the EU last month – and indicates that European countries, many of whom now have new Ambassadors in Mozambique, are ready to start getting over the ‘hidden debts’. General budget support may not return to the same extent as before, but relations between Mozambique and its donors are on course to get back to normal.

Government will start paying off the Maputo-Katembe bridge next year (O País)

The Mozambican government should start repaying the Chinese debt that financed the $700m Maputo-Katembe bridge next year, the minister of public works, João Machatine, said, after the expiry of a four-year grace period.

The bridge contract was in fact for $725.8m – not counting the ring road project which was also built on the initiative of the Chinese. Both road projects are supposed to be paid for through tolls – but we understand the feasibility studies were severely flawed, even if Maputo Sul, the government agency running the projects, had the means to build toll booths – which it has not.

Government postpones enforcement of journalism fees (@Verdade, MediaFax)

At a meeting on Friday between representatives of Mozambique’s private media, civil society organisations, and state media regulator the Gabinete de Informacao (Gabinfo), mediated by the justice ombudsman, ended with an agreement that the exorbitant fees would not be charged until a new regulation is brought in – and in the meantime, the two sides will enter into talks that should have happened before the first decree was published. The media and civil society organisations are also asking the ombudsman to recommend the case be ruled on by the Constitutional Council, and are also planning appeals to parliament and to the Prime Minister.

Mozambique’s media had already agreed to boycott the fees en masse, so Gabinfo has done well to get them to the table. But the media – both domestic and foreign – and civil society still hope that the fees will be ruled unconstitutional on the grounds that they remove the right to free expression, and citizens’ right to information.

© 2018, Alexandre Nhampossa. All rights reserved.

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