Friday, October 21, 2016


Resultado de imagem para nacala  madeiraThe Mozambican customs authorities have seized 11 containers of logs that were about to be exported illegally to China from the northern port of Nacala, according to a report on the independent television station, STV. The owners of the logs declared that the containers were full of raw cotton. Apparently nobody at the port bothered to check, and the containers did not pass through the electronic scanners – for eight of the containers had been loaded before the fraudulent operation was discovered.
The logs are of red sandalwood, a protected species, and the containers, loaded with 480 cubic metres of logs, were transported to Nacala by rail. According to the customs service, the timber was being smuggled, not from Mozambique, but from Malawi.The matter is now in the hands of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Customs Tribunal, which will decide the final destination of the logs.This is the fifth seizure so far this year in Nacala of goods that were being smuggled out of the country under false pretences.The first seizure was of Mozambican cashew nuts. To avoid the payment of the surtax charged on exported raw nuts, the owner had declared that the cargo consisted of beans.

“And nowadays what happens?”

The former Minister of State Administration, Oscar Monteiro, on Wednesday warned that some leaders in today’s Mozambique choose to appoint less skilled people who will not outshine them, according to a report in Thursday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”.Monteiro, who was giving a lecture in Maputo on the life and work of the country’s first President, Samora Machel, recalled that Machel deliberately surrounded himself with the best people available – but some of today’s leaders prefer to choose cadres who are weak.Monteiro, who was a member of the Frelimo Political Bureau under Machel, said “Samora knew how to gather the best around him. I ask you: do we let ourselves be surrounded by the best, or do we call on those who will not put us in the shade?”
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“There are people who think they should not have near them people who are more skilled than they are, because this will expose their weaknesses”, he added.Monteiro attacked those who use their positions inside the state to feed their private business interests.“The assets of the state must be defended because they belong to all of us”, he said. “There are people who have the knack of being rich. Fine – but let them do their business outside. Using their position in the state for business to their own benefit is to be condemned”.“This is becoming a disease which does not allow the State to stand up straight, and it’s no longer a hidden disease. It’s in the faces of all of us, because the people who do this sort of thing need to show it off”, he accused.
Monteiro said that Samora Machel kept a distance between himself and the state’s money. State property was sacrosanct “and once, when somebody, on changing his residence, took some state goods with him, Samora called a meeting, and said the goods belonging to the State must not be privatized”.Machel was never involved in questions of money, Monteiro recalled, “and in his speeches, he used to say ‘if you see me become rich, ask me where the money comes from’”

“And nowadays what happens?”, Monteiro asked his audience.


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The American oil company ExxonMobil is close to closing the deal to buy shares in offshore Area Four of the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, where large quantities of natural gas have been discovered.According to Oscar Mitha, chairperson of Mozambique’s National Hydrocarbon Company (ENH), ExxonMobil will not enter Area Four as a minority shareholder. Speaking to reporters on Thursday during a National Business Forum held by the Confederation of Mozambican Business Associations (CTA), Mitha said the American company “will at least be on a footing of equality with another partner”.That partner can only be the Italian energy company ENI, which is currently the operator of Area Four. ENI-East Africa holds 70 per cent of the shares in Area Four. This company is 50 per cent owned by ENI itself and 20 per cent by the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). Galp Energia of Portugal, Kogas of South Korea, and ENH itself each hold ten per cent of Area Four.With the negotiations currently underway between ExxonMobil and ENI, Mitha believed that the American company would become the Area Four operator. The share purchase will result in a very substantial payment of capital gains tax to the Mozambican exchequer.Mitha thought this was encouraging news, given the huge financial capacity of ExxonMobil, and its dominant position in the hydrocarbon position. 
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A major investment by ExxonMobil could attract other companies to Mozambique.Cited in Friday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”, Mitha dismissed claims that ExxonMobil would only buy shares in order to sell them later at speculative prices. “All development of these areas is done through binding development plans”, he said.Mitha was confident that ENI will announce its Final Investment Decision for Area Four in November, or at the latest in December.
As for the Texas-based company Anadarko, which is the operator of the adjacent Rovuma Basin Area One, Mitha said its Final Investment Decision should be announced in the third quarter of 2017.“We have to prepare ourselves, because the third quarter of 2017 is tomorrow”, he added. “It may seem a long way off, but it isn’t. The sooner we stop talking and go into action, the better it will be for us”. ENI and its partners intend to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG) from a floating LNG plant installed above the Coral South gas field. Anadarko’s plans include building an onshore LNG factory in the Afungi Peninsula, in Mozambique’s northernmost district of Palma.Earlier this month, ENI and its partners signed an agreement in London to sell LNG to BP Poseidon, a company fully controlled by British Petroleum (BP). The contract with BP covers the sale, for a period of more than 20 years, of all the LNG that will be produced at the Coral South facility. This floating factory will have the capacity to produce over 3.3 million tonnes of LNG a year.

Friday, October 14, 2016

VTB says it was deceived by Mozambique over loans

“The government deceived us” by not disclosing the debts with state guarantee contracted by various public companies in 2012 and 2014, said the vice president of Russia’s VTB bank about the loan to Mozambique.In an interview with Bloomberg news agency, Yuri Soloviev, head of VTB Capital and first deputy chief executive officer of VTB Group, said the institution had been deceived because the state-guaranteed debts of several public companies were not disclosed to investors and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by the government of Mozambique.Soloviev said that VTB was no longer the holder of the debt, but that it had not abandoned investors “since we are responsible, as agents of the loans and in the issuance of foreign-currency debt “.VTB and Credit Suisse both helped restructure the Mozambican debt, but the operation was kept undisclosed by the Mozambique government until April 2016, when the Minister of Economy and Finance acknowledged the debt druing the IMF Spring  Meetings in Washington.The IMF, the World Bank and several countries then suspended the financing of projects in Mozambique, giving rise to the current economic and financial crisis. 
Yuri Soloviev (first sitting from the left) listens to Russian President Vladimir Putin deliver a speech during the annual VTB Capital “Russia Calling!” Investment Forum in Moscow, Russia, October 12, 2016.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


The Mozambican government on Tuesday approved the Contingency Plan for coping with any natural disasters that may occur during the 2016-2017 rainy season.Speaking to reporters after the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), the government spokesperson, Deputy Health Minister Mouzinho Saide, said the purpose of the plan is to reduce loss of life and material damage caused by extreme weather events during this period.The plan will also ensure humanitarian assistance to those in need until normal conditions are re-established. As in previous years, the Contingency Plan envisages three scenarios. The minimum scenario envisages storms with high winds, localized flooding in towns and cities, and drought in some parts of the country. Under this scenario, about 714,000 people could be affected.The second scenario, regarded as the most probable, combines these events with flooding on river basins in the northern provinces of Nampula, Cabo Delgado and Niassa, and in Tete and Zambezia in the centre of the country.
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 If this happens, about 1.35 million people would be at risk.The final, and worst scenario adds the possibility of flooding on the main rivers in Sofala and Inhambane provinces, which would push the number of people affected up to 1.37 million. If the widespread flooding envisaged in the second and third scenarios occurs, it will probably be in the first quarter of 2017, said Saide (January and February are usually the wettest months in Mozambique). The problem facing the government is that it does not yet have the money required to deal with even the least severe of the scenarios. Scenario one would cost 597 million meticais (7.75 million US dollars, at current exchange rates). Scenario two would cost 810 million meticais, and scenario three 930 million.“The government has already mobilized some of the money needed to cover this Contingency Plan”, said Saide, “but it will certainly need to mobilize more resources through the participation of its partners”.So far, the money available from the State Budget for the Contingency plan is just 160 million meticais.


Resultado de imagem para barragem moamba majorBrazil’s National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES) announced on Tuesday that it has suspended funding for projects of 25 companies under investigation for corruption, including construction work in Mozambique and Angola.The Brazilian companies are being investigated under Operacao Lavo Jato (Operation Car Wash), an investigation undertaken by the Brazilian Federal Police into allegations of money laundering and corruption. BNDES names the companies concerned as Odebrecht, OAS, Queiroz Galvão, Camargo Corrêa and Andrade Gutierrez.According to a report carried by the Portuguse news agency Lusa, the main project in Mozambique at risk of losing its funding is the Moamba Major dam, on the Incomati river in Maputo province, which would have received 320 million US dollars via BNDES. The total cost of the dam is put at 466 million dollars. 
Resultado de imagem para barragem moamba majorWhen built, this dam will be able to store 760 million cubic metres of water and control flooding in the Incomati valley. The dam would facilitate irrigated agriculture, and would also contain a power station capable of generating 15 megawatts of electricity. The work was to have been concluded by late 2019.The Brazilian company hired to work on Moamba Major is Andrade Gutierrez. The first stone was laid in November 2014 at a ceremony attended by the then president, Armando Guebuza, but construction of the dam proper did not start until May 2016. By late June of this year, work on the dam was said to be seven per cent complete. The 25 projects affected by the BNDES suspension of funding cost a total of over seven billion US dollars, of which 2.3 billion has already been paid out. In addition to Moamba Major, the BNDES move affects four projects in Angola, seven in Venezuela, seven in the Dominican Republic, two in Argentina, and one each in Cuba, Ghana, Guatemala and Honduras.BNDES funding of infrastructure projects outside of Brazil has been shrouded in suspicions of over-invoicing and of favouritism to certain companies. BNDES has drawn up new criteria for financing exports of engineering and construction services taking into consideration recommendations made by the Accounts Tribunal, arising from its audits.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Fuel prices rise

Resultado de imagem para fuelThe Mozambican government has increased the price of fuel by between 5.3 and 40.3 per cent, taking effect as from Saturday.Owners of petrol driven cars are let off fairly lightly. In the new price table issued by the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy, the price of a litre of petrol rises from 47.52 to 50.02 meticais, an increase of 5.3 per cent. But if the price is expressed in foreign currency, petrol is much cheaper than it was a couple of years ago, thanks to the sharp depreciation of the metical.In 2014, when expressed in US dollars, the price was about 1.6 dollars per litre. Today it is just 66 US cents per litre. Because of the exchange effect, fuel had become cheaper in Mozambique than in neighbouring countries, and so Zimbabwean motorists have been driving across the border to buy petrol from Mozambican filling stations.The price of diesel rises by 24,5 per cent, from 36.81 to 45.83 meticais a litre, while a litre of kerosene now costs 33.06 rather than 28.64 meticais, an increase of 15.4 per cent. Imported cooking gas rises in price by 5.6 per cent, form 55.45 to 58.54 meticais a kilo. But the sharpest increase is for compressed natural gas, where the price shoots up by 40.3 per cent, from 17.75 to 24.9 meticais a kilo.The price rise was announced in the early evening of Friday, leading to long queues at Maputo petrol stations, as motorists rushed to fill up their tanks at the old price. This is the first rise in fuel prices since 2011.


The Bank of Mozambique has intervened in the country’s fourth largest commercial bank, Moza Banco, suspending its Board of Directors, and imposing a provisional board.A statement issued by the central bank on Friday said the financial state of Moza Banco had been declining “in an unsustainable manner”. The Bank of Mozambique had stepped in “to protect the interests of the depositors and other creditors” and “to safeguard the normal operating conditions of the banking system”.
Resultado de imagem para mozabancoThe statement assured the bank’s clients and the public at large that Moza Banco “will continue to function normally”.This is only the second time the Bank of Mozambique has intervened in a failing private bank. The first such event was the rescue of Austral Bank (later transformed into Barclays Bank-Mozambique) in 2001.The circumstances, however, could hardly have been more different. Austral collapsed under a huge weight of non-performing loans. Austral had resulted from the hasty privatisation of the People’s Development Bank (BPD) in 1997, and when the new owners, notably the Malaysian Southern Bank Berhard, were faced with a crisis, they simply handed their shares back to the state.Moza Banco, however, does not appear to have engaged in reckless lending. Instead it ran into a shortage of liquidity, and its shareholders were unable to recapitalize the Bank.This is a serious blow to the hopes of setting up a private bank controlled by Mozambicans. From the moment it was founded, Moza Banca insisted that it should be at least 51 per cent owned by Mozambicans. The Mozambican shareholder is Mocambique Capitais, which consists of about 400 Mozambican investors. The foreign investor was initially the Portuguese Banco Espirito Santo (BES). But BES in Portugal was seriously mismanaged, and in 2014 it had to be bailed out by the Portuguese central bank. Its healthy assets (including the 49 per cent holding in Moza Bank) were spun off into a new entity, Novo Banco. But it seems that Novo Banco was in no condition to inject new funds into Moza Banco. The founder and chairperson of Moza Banco was Prakash Ratilal, a former governor of the Mozambique. The man whom the central bank has put in charge is Joao Figueiredo, who once headed the country’s largest commercial bank, the Millennium-BIM, which he left to found one of the newest players on the Mozambican financial stage, Banco Unico.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


Resultado de imagem para mario rafaelThe mediating team in the Joint Commission between the Mozambican government and the Renamo rebels on Tuesday presented a proposal on the appointment of governors for the six central and northern provinces where Renamo claims that it won the October 2014 elections.
The coordinator of the mediating team, the Italian Mario Raffaelli, told reporters after a meeting of the Commission that was much shorter than usual (about 40 minutes) “Today we talked about governors. As mediators we thought it better to advance with the problem of governors, because decentralization is quicker (than the other items on the agenda)”.But he gave no details of the mediators’ proposal. He said the government and Renamo delegations had promised to study the proposal and give their reactions on Wednesday.Renamo has demanded the right to govern Sofala, Manica, Tete, Zambezia, Nampula and Niassa provinces, on the grounds that it won the elections in these parts of the country. This claim is, however, untrue,

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The results, announced by the National Elections Commission (CNE), and confirmed by the Constitutional Council, show that Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama came top of the presidential poll in Sofala, Manica, Tete, Zambezia and Nampula. But Renamo only won the parliamentary elections in two provinces (Sofala and Zambezia). As for the third election, for provincial assemblies, Renamo won a majority of seats in three provinces (Sofala, Zambezia and Tete). Renamo’s claim of victory in Niassa is entirely false, since the ruling Frelimo Party won all three elections there.The decision by the mediators to return to the question of governors came as something of a surprise, since it had been assumed that the Commission would continue to discuss military matters, particularly the inclusion of members of the Renamo militia in the armed forces and the police.It is possible that this discussion will continue at Wednesday’s meeting.The purpose of the Joint Commission was to prepare a meeting between President Filipe Nyusi and Dhlakama – but there is still no sign that such a meeting will take place in the near future. Dhlakama shows no interest in coming to Maputo, and remains in his bush headquarters in the central district of Gorongosa. So far Renamo has refused to allow the opening of a demilitarized corridor so that the mediators can reach the Gorongosa camp and speak face to face with Dhlakama.


The mayor of the central Mozambican city of Quelimane, Manuel de Araujo, who is a prominent member of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), has claimed that on Tuesday a member of the city’s elected Municipal Assembly made a death threat against him.
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A statement issued by the Quelimane Municipal Council said that an Assembly member from the ruling Frelimo Party, Nilsa Gomes (Photo), declared in the middle of the Assembly session “the mayor deserves a bullet in his head”.This threat, made publicly, follows claims by Araujo that earlier in the month he was threatened with death by a Frelimo veteran of the independence war. Araujo also told the independent television station STV that in recent days unknown people have been following his movements, a matter he has reported to the police.After the threat by Gomes, the chairperson of the Municipal Assembly interrupted the session to restore order in the room and decided to suspend Gomes, forbidding her from returning to the session.The head of the Frelimo group, Rijone Bombino, then withdrew all the Frelimo members from the meeting. The sole effect of this boycott was to ensure that the MDM could do what it liked in the Assembly without any opposition.The MDM has a majority of seats in the Quelimane Municipal Assembly, and can meet the necessary quorum on its own. Despite the Frelimo absence, the MDM members continued the Assembly’s work and approved the report from the Municipal Council on its activities in the first six months of 2016. Interviewed by STV, Bombino did not deny that Gomes had made the threat. Instead he said that Frelimo had been provoked by insults made by Araujo, who had allegedly blamed Frelimo for a string of unsolved murders.

Eni asks banks for billions to finance

Italian oil firm Eni has approached banks for billions of dollars to finance a huge offshore gas development in Mozambique, a significant step in getting a long-delayed project off the ground, the company and sources said.Eni confirmed it met bankers in London last week about project financing to develop the Coral field, part of the huge reserves discovered six years ago in the Area 4 concession off the Mozambican coast.“It’s running into billions of dollars,” one source familiar with the financing told Reuters, adding banks were also looking for credit guarantees from foreign governments, including Britain and China.Banks are likely to respond within three to four weeks with terms of loans they are willing to provide, one of the last stages before Eni can make a final investment decision (FID) on the project, two sources close to the deal said.Eni said it hoped to announce a FID by the end of this year.Some lenders may be concerned about involvement in a project in Mozambique, given recent clashes between opposition guerrillas and government forces and financial scandals.The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is in Mozambique this week to try to restore trust between President Filipe Nyusi’s government and international lenders after more than $2 billion in secret loans came to light this year.The IMF has suspended its own lending to the southeast African country, insisting on external scrutiny as a precursor to resuming financial aid.“The biggest challenge is Mozambique country risk,” one of the sources said.Reserves discovered in Mozambique’s Rovuma Basin in recent years amount to some 85 trillion cubic feet, one of the largest finds in a decade and enough to supply Germany, Britain, France and Italy for nearly two decades.The gas offers Mozambique an opportunity to transform itself from one of the world’s poorest countries into a middle-income state and a major global liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter.Negotiations with operators Eni and U.S. firm Anadarko have dragged on for years due to disputes over terms and concerns about falling energy prices.However, there have been several signs of significant progress in recent months.Eni has struck a deal with Samsung Heavy to provide a floating LNG platform to process the gas from the Coral field, which will be sold to BP.Eni has also wrapped up long-running talks to sell a multi-billion dollar stake in other fields in Area 4 to Exxon Mobil, sources told Reuters last month.In 2013, Eni sold 20 percent of its Area 4 licence to China’s CNPC for $4.2 billion but since then oil and gas prices have come down by more than half.Anadarko’s $24 billion onshore LNG project is expected to lag Eni’s and its FID is unlikely this year.

Nampula will have 30 more tourist

Resultado de imagem para turismo membaNampula provincial Director of Culture and Tourism Agostinho Zacarias says that more than 30 new tourism projects will come into operation in the province next year, representing an investment of about 1.7 billion meticais.The projects are being built in the districts of Malema, Mozambique Island, Memba and the port city of Nacala. Zacarias said that, as part of the Kapulana project, the provincial government is building a tourist resort in Memba that should be operational by the end of this year, as well as opening three more resorts in the tourist city of Nacala.Increased investment in the tourism sector in Nampula is however coming at a time when the sector is registering a considerable reduction in tourism numbers as a result of the political and military situation.With little more than three months to the end of the year, only 50,000 of the anticipated 80,000 seasonal visitors have so far arrived.