Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 14 December, 2017.
The latest from Zitamar News:
Nyusi and Dhlakama abort planned meeting in Gorongosa
President Nyusi flew in to Gorongosa only to speak with Dhlakama by phone
Exxon closes $2.8bn acquisition of Mozambique offshore gas block stake
The partners have managed to close the deal before the end of the year – triggering the payment of $350m capital gains tax
New World Bank climate rules won’t hit Mozambique oil and gas funds
New Paris agreement on financing upstream development won’t hit Mozambique technical assistance
The best of the rest:
Train to Lichinga stops running due to lack of market in Nacala (Diário de Moçambique)
The goods train from Cuamba to Lichinga, capital of Niassa province, which restarted in June this year, has stopped running – with the operating company saying it is uneconomic to operate, as it returns from Lichinga empty. The government said the train would cut the costs of moving goods to Lichinga by 60% – but businesspeople there say it is still cheaper to go by road, even in the rainy season when the roads are ruined.
This is a serious embarrassment for Filipe Nyusi and his transport minister Carlos Mesquita who hailed the reopening of the Lichinga line as one of their key achievements of 2017 – with Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosário citing it as recently as last month in his review of the year to parliament. It also doesn’t look good for Vale and Mitsui – and their financiers – who have been touting the side benefits for Mozambique’s northern rail network for their coal transport project.
New ministers told to face up to Mozambique’s challenges; Renamo condemns ‘nepotism’ (Lusa, Deutsche Welle)
President Filipe Nyusi swore in three ‘new’ ministers today – calling on each of them to “reinforce the government’s capacity to respond to the country’s challenges.” Nyusi said foreign minister Jose Pacheco should focus on “economic diplomacy” to bring foreign investment to Mozambique; energy and resources minister Max Tonela said any new developments in his sector must “benefit all Mozambicans”; and agriculture minister Higino Marrule welcomed Nyusi’s call to commercialise household agriculture – saying he has spent his whole career talking about exactly that.
Speaking to Deutsche Welle, Renamo’s new spokesman José Manteigas said the reshuffle “reveals a certain internal disarticulation within Frelimo” – and condemned the appointment of former interior minister and agriculture minister Pacheco, in particular, saying: “We can’t understand how an individual who never scored a goal in a big ministry, goes to another super-ministry. People should be appointed for competency and not because of friendships, nepotism, or party-political affiliation.”
Eni paid $350m capital gains tax bill yesterday afternoon (@Verdade)
Italian oil company Eni paid the $350 million capital gains tax owed on the $2.8bn sale of a stake in Area 4 to ExxonMobil, a spokesperson confirmed for @Verdade.
Finance minister Adriano Maleiane has not yet made clear how the money will be spent – there has been talk of some kind of a sovereign development fund, while the holders of Mozambique’s dollar-denominated sovereign bond, currently in default, would like it to be used to pay their coupons.
Parliament considers criminalising online abuse (CanalMoz, MediaFax)
The Mozambican parliament is considering legislation that could criminalise defamation on social networks such as Facebook and Whatsapp. Writing or even sharing texts, images, or videos, which damage the “honour, good name, dignity, reputation and social consideration of citizens” would be punishable under the law.
It would probably be more important to crack down on threats made on social media, or the propagation of hate based on, for example, race. Both were in evidence in early 2015 when an anonymous Facebook users started threatening Gilles Cistac – shortly before he was assassinated on the streets of Maputo.
Storms kill one, destroy homes in Cabo Delgado (Radio Moçambique, Diario de Moçambique)
Lightning has killed one person in Cabo Delgado during storms which have also destroyed 42 homes in Pemba, Chiúre, Montepuez and Mocímboa da Praia.
- Today: President Filipe Nyusi flies to Dodoma, capital of Tanzania, to discuss collaboration on security issues, and gas development in the Rovuma Basin
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