Zitamar Daily Briefing, 14 December

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Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 14 December, 2018.

The latest from Zitamar News:

Mozambican insurers excluded from major Anadarko contract
Mozambican insurers will be excluded from a multi-million dollar contract for the Anadarko-led LNG project in Mozambique, as no local firm meets the tender requirements

The best of the rest:

Nyusi appoints secret service official ambassador to Germany (AIM, O País)
Sérgio Nathú Cabá, adjunct director-general of Mozambican secret security service SISE, will leave his job to take up a new appointment as ambassador to Germany.
A significant number of Mozambique’s high-ranking diplomats come from the secret security services. Germany is notable as a country where Renamo has an influence among the Mozambican diaspora.

Angolan former minister found dead in Gloria hotel (VoA, O País, DW, Carta de Moçambique, NovoJornal)
Angola’s former minister of higher education was found dead on Wednesday in the Chinese-owned Gloria hotel in Maputo, the police have confirmed. They have detained a girl who had been with Adão Gaspar Ferreira do Nascimento in his room, and who said she found him dead when she returned from the bathroom. Preliminary signs indicated he died of natural causes, the police investigation service, SERNIC, said in a statement. Carta de Moçambique says there are also suggestions that he had a “violent fall” on the slippery floor of the Gloria’s corridors.
Mozambique is an increasingly popular holiday destination among Angolan grandees – including the current president who visited the Bazaruto Archipelago last week. So far there are no indications of foul play in the death of do Nascimento.

Defence minister says deal with Renamo was for three officers (Magazine Independente, AIM, Lusa, Carta de Moçambique)
Mozambique’s minister of defence, Atanásio M’tumuke, said yesterday that Renamo has “invented” the figure of 14 Renamo officials to be integrated into the military, saying that this week’s three appointees are all that the government had agreed. He also denied that the temporary nature of their appointment made it any less valid.
The MoU signed by Nyusi and Ossufo Momade in October is confusing – talking in places of 10 and 14 Renamo officials, but also providing specifically for the three sworn in by M’tumuke yesterday. Both sides risk blowing this misunderstanding out of proportion – but perhaps a visit to Gorongosa by the ambassadors of Switzerland, the US, the EU, and Botswana yesterday will have helped restore Momade’s faith in the negotiations.

Bank of Mozambique cuts interest rates by 75bp (Lusa, O País, Carta de Moçambique)
The Bank of Mozambique cut its ‘MIMO’ reference interest rate by 75 basis points yesterday to 14.25%, and its lending rate and deposit rate by the same amount, to 17.25% and 11.25% respectively. The decision was based on “short and medium term perspectives for single-digit inflation”.
According to Standard Bank today, “there was always a strong likelihood that the committee would ease the policy stance.” And the IMF’s latest end-of-mission statement last month “noted that there is room for the Bank of Mozambique to continue easing monetary policy.” But Rand Merchant Bank was taken by surprise, having said yesterday morning that it expected no change through 2019 – though it did say that a cut was more likely than a hike.
The central bank did not call a press conference for yesterday’s decision, for the first time since Zitamar has been covering monetary policy; perhaps governor Zandamela wanted to avoid more questions on the ATM fiasco.

Bank of Mozambique spent $42m in numerous attempts to replace Bizfirst (Savana)
The Bank of Mozambique has spent $42m in its drawn-out attempt to wrest the country’s electronic banking systems from Bizfirst. It spent $8m some years ago trying to bring in the SIBS system that Portugal uses, without success; and spent $20m in 2008-9 trying to switch to a different system, as well as spending $6m on hardware it never used. The country’s commercial banks pushed for a competitive tender before the central bank signed a $7m deal with Euronet this week – but were overruled.

Hundreds of displaced people seek refuge in Palma (Carta de Moçambique)
Hundreds of internally displaced people (IDPs – a technical term for refugees who don’t cross an international border) yesterday went to the town of Palma following an attack on a village 7km away, where 100 houses were burned but no people killed, according to reports.
The violence is getting closer to the centre of the gas industry in Cabo Delgado, despite officials denials. Palma is home to a significant number of expats working on the early stages of the LNG project, while Anadarko’s Afungi camp is just half an hour from the town.
Exxon and Eni’s joint venture is today calling for expressions of interest for companies to provide security services in Cabo Delgado, including bullet-proof cars and to bring in the Mozambican military to help “in a defensive / responsive role”. The EOI notice is published in
Savana today.

Company Announcements

  • Fastjet has satisfied the requirements to allow Solenta Aviation to make a significant investment in the company, which should happen on 17 December. (See Zitamar story this week on the crisis which now appears to have been averted)
  • A Liechtenstein-registered trust company, Gersec Trust, has increased its stake in Agriterra to 12.03

 

© 2018, Alexandre Nhampossa. All rights reserved.

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