UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE/MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE/MOZAMBIQUE
12 June 1998
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A bi-monthly update of news
1.Maputo/Witbank Corridor on the way
Presidents Joaquim Chissano and Nelson Mandela Saturday 6 June attended the launch of the long-awaited Maputo development corridor, dubbed the largest infrastructure project on the African continent.
Thousands of onlookers waved miniature South African and Mozambican flags, braving the hot sun to listen to more than an hour of speeches at the ceremony held in the town of Ressano on the Mozambique-South Africa border. The Maputo/Witbank road is a project involving US$368 million and is supposed to be completed over a three year period.
Meanwhile, Mozambique's government approved last week a decree that creates a special customs agreement for the building of the Mozambican portion of the road which will especially apply to the import of the required road building equipment. According to Fernando Sumbana of the Investments Promotion Centre (IPC), another special condition will be the reduction of 65% of industrial taxes.
Mr. Sumbana said the project was a very important one for the country, not just for itself but as well as for the multiplying effect that it will produce on the economy. "Many industries will be created along the way which means extra money entering the national economy," said Mr. Fernando Sumbana.
He also said that this is a project that will make a difference in the competitivness of the country, especially as an open door for South African products to reach the global market and vice-versa.
Chissano,speaking at the ceremony said that Africa was saying to the world that it was "not only a zone of instability, but rather one of economic progress and development"
2.Government announces income tax reduction
The Mozambican Government recently announced the reduction of minimum income tax from 30% to 20%.
Salaries up to 600000 meticais (+-US$60) will be free of income tax as announced at a press conference by Mrs. Luisa Diogo, Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning. The new tax table calls for 10% for salaries up to 2 million meticais, 15% for salariesabove 2400.000,00 meticais and 20% for more than 9 million meticais.
The tax reduction was made as a result of negotiation held between the government, employers and workers(trade unions).
3. Mcbride remains in custody
Former South African diplomat, Robert McBride, is still in custody in Mozambique after being detained in connection with alleged weapon smuggling from Mozambique to South Africa.
The president of the Maputo Court, Judge Joaquim Madeira is quoted as saying that the Attorney General can now go ahead and prosecute Mcbride on a charge of espionage. However, McBride's lawyer, Mozambican Albano Silva said that if the charge had been changed and he had not been informed, it was therefore illegal.
Recently, Mcbride's relatives and friends organized demonstrations in South Africa demanding his immediate release.
4. Mozal project involved in clearing landmines
The Mozal project has employed a Zimbawean demining company, MINATECH, to work in a project to clear the route for the power lines to be laid in south Mozambique.
Mozal, one of the major industrial projects in Mozambique at the moment, is a company with South African investment to produce aluminium in Beloloane region, some 27 km from Maputo city.
The power to supply the Mozal foundry will be imported from South Africa and the route that this will take is near to the border, a region that was heavily mined during Mozambique's war years.
MINATECH will send a team of 15 sappers who will work with 16 Mozambicans, to clear the bush along the route. According to John Dixon of MINATECH,there is only a small risk of finding landmines along their route. He said that this was because most of it is in an area where the local population has already worked the land for agriculture. "This reduces the possibilities of the existence of explosives and the local population will help us to identify the suspicious areas," he said.
5.People displaced by Mozal Project to receive compensation
One million US dollars is the amount made available for people displaced by the Mozalproject at Beloloane, south of Maputo. The money will be paid by the project manager to each peasant farmer who has to leave his agricultural land to make way for the building of the Mozal aluminum foundry. The project is expect to get underway by July.
In a first stage, 63 families will receive compensation from Motraco, a joint-venture formed by Power Companies of Mozambique, EDM, South Africa's ESKOM, and Swaziland's SEB. The companies are those involved in the building of the power lines which will supply the aluminium foundry.
The management of the funds for compensation is to be provided by the government of Maputo Province.
6.Eight hundred families face famine in Zumbo
About 800 families are facing a famine situation in the Zumbo district of northern Tete province where many hectares of crops were destroyed earlier this year due to flooding.
For their survival, many of the people affected are exchanging fish for other foodstuffs with the population of neighbouring Zambia.
Meanwhile, at Dondo, Sofala province in central Mozambique, there is expected to be a harvest yield of about 20.000 tones of rice, what is considered to be a record harvest for the region.
However a source told Mozambique News Online that it was "very early to talk about the end of food shortages because the harvest will not be enough to create a food stock sufficient until the next rice harvest".
7.Pensioner's money embezzled by cashiers
About $297 million meticais has been embezzled from a pensioners treasury at Pemba, Cabo Delgado province.
The money was allegedly misused between January and April this year and the action affected about 200 pensioners. Two people, both cashiers, have been detained in connection with the case.
According to Antonio Alage, provincial deputy director of finance and planning, there is the possibility that names of deceased people had been used by the cashiers to embezzle the money.
One of the cashiers, on an ordinary civil servant's salary,had been regarded as one of the richest people in the Pemba area.
8.Mozambique has least deaths in Africa from Cholera - WHO
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Mozambique is the African country with the least cases of death from cholera.
During the last 10 months, Mozambique had notified the WHO of 35.000 cases of cholera, resulting in approximately 800 deaths.
Cholera broke out in Mozambique in August 1997.
From: AfricaNN@inform-bbs.dk (Africa_news Network), AfricaNN@inform-bbs.dk Date: Mon, 13 Jul 1998 13:54:13 +0200 Subject: MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE #22 Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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