Intelligent news from Mozambique

Zitamar Daily Briefing, 12 September 2018

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Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 12 September, 2018.

Agenda

  • Today: Meeting between a delegation of UK oil and gas-related businesses, and Mozambican counterparts, in Maputo
  • Tomorrow: President Filipe Nyusi starts a two-day visit to the Vatican
  • Friday: Former director general of Norway’s Ministry of Finance, Tore Eriksen, to give a public lecture at UEM economics faculty on lessons from Norway with regard to petroleum policy

The latest from Zitamar News:

Mozambique government forecasts 4.7% growth, 6.5% inflation in 2019
The government has released its official economic forecasts for 2019, and its budget plans

The best of the rest:

  • Renamo re-appeals Venâncio Mondlane exclusion (MediaFax)
  • 2019 elections to cost $110m (Lusa)
  • Road and bridge tolls set to rise (AIM)
  • CTA head calls for interest rates below 10% (O País, MediaFax, Magazine Independente)

Renamo re-appeals Venâncio Mondlane exclusion (MediaFax)
The national election commission (CNE) yesterday confirmed receipt of a letter from Renamo, complaining that their decision to exclude Venâncio Mondlane from its candidate list for the Maputo election was illegal. The new appeal – after one was rejected by both the CNE and the Constitutional Council (CC) last week – alleges that the MDM was not eligible to bring its complaint against Mondlane’s candidacy. Renamo has also submitted another appeal, making the same case, to the CC.
Renamo supposedly hired a crack legal team this time – but it is still not asking the CNE or the CC to actually rule on whether Mondlane is eligible to run, but rather simply on whether his exclusion was technically correct. What’s depressing is that the CNE apparently has no interest in actually ruling on the eligibility of candidates on its own initiative. If it did, it would also have ruled the MDM’s candidate in Matola ineligible, on exactly the same grounds that it ruled Mondlane ineligible in Maputo. The arguments in favour of Mondlane running have been laid out by respected legal minds such as Teodato Hunguana – but without a ruling on the crux of the matter, Mondlane’s candidacy still looks vulnerable.
The CC is also expected to rule in the next 24 hours on the case of Samora Machel Jr and his AJUDEM list.

2019 elections to cost $110m (Lusa)
2019’s national assembly, provincial, and presidential elections are expected to cost Mozambique MZN 6.5 billion ($110m), according to the provision made for them in the 2019 state budget.
The splurge is expected to contribute to an uptick in inflation around the elections, which will be exacerbated by spending by the political parties – in particular Frelimo – on their campaigns.

Road and bridge tolls set to rise (AIM)
Bridge and road tolls are set to rise in Mozambique to help pay for maintenance, the government decided at yesterday’s Council of Ministers. The bridge over the River Limpopo, just south of Xai-Xai, will charge light vehicles MZN 25 instead of MZN 10, for example.
Mozambique is gradually making tolling the norm, introducing it on new roads such as the one between Maputo and Ponta do Ouro, and the Maputo ring road, as well as on the upgraded EN6 between Beira and the Zimbabwean border.

CTA head calls for interest rates below 10% (O País, MediaFax, Magazine Independente)
Commercial banks need to cut their lending rates by more than half for Mozambique’s private sector to be able to develop, the head of the private business association CTA said yesterday. At a meeting on the financial sector, Agostinho Vuma said that current lending rates of above 20% are “amputating” the development of indigenous entrepreneurs, who need to borrow at single-digit rates of interest.
The Bank of Mozambique is keeping its benchmark interest rate at around 18%, and the government is mopping up everything it can from commercial banks at similar rates – meaning there is very little incentive for banks to lend to businesses at anything below 20%. Meanwhile, even the government doesn’t expect the economy to grow at more than 5% this year.

© 2018, Alexandre Nhampossa. All rights reserved.

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