Official Government Wires

Maputo, 27 May (AIM) - The Mobile Flexible Anti Smuggling Team (FAST), a unit from the Mozambican Customs, seized recently a tanker laden with smuggled cigarettes - instead of fuel - manufactured in neighbouring Zimbabwe.

Following a tip off, FAST manage to impound the tanker at the Machipanda border, in the central province of Manica, and the cigarettes were to be sold in Inhambane, reports the Saturday's issue of the daily paper "Noticias".

Pedro Tivane, Customs' General Manager, explained that the seizure of tanker is the result of new dynamics introduced in the sector and better Intelligence Services, coupled with better human and material resources, as well as technological improvements.

During the search operation the driver managed to escape with the truck keys. His whereabouts are still unknown.

Thus, the Customs were forced to hire a mechanic to disengage the trucks' trailer and rented another truck to take the tanker to the port of Beira, where a scan confirmed that it was laden with smuggled cigarettes instead of fuel.

The cargo was unloaded under the close eye of the Mozambican police, Tax Revenue Authority and officers from the International Police (INTERPOL).

According to Tivane, the Customs are already in possession of evidence that will lead the authorities to the real owners of the goods, but he excused the giver further details not to jeopardise the investigation.





Maputo, 27 May (AIM) - The Ministry of Education on Friday distanced itself from a group of 45 Mozambican students in Sudan who are complaining of poor living and studying conditions, reports Saturday's issue of the daily paper "Noticias".

The government explains in statement issued by the Education Ministry's Scholarship Institute (IBE) that it is not responsible for the students currently in Sudan, since they went there to pursue religious studies with scholarships granted by Islamic organizations.

According to the document, at no time the Ministry was involved and much less advised about these scholarships.

The IBE further explains that even during his recent speech delivered in Parliament, the Education Minister Zeferino Martins only mentioned about a possible return of scholarship holders from Algeria and never from Sudan.

This was the Government's reaction to criticism made by the students themselves and civil society organisations, claiming that they lost their rights to scholarships and would be repatriated, since the Education Ministry was refusing to admit its responsibilities.

The IBE, however, refutes these accusations and stresses that "the group has ties with Islamic religious organizations and were not forced by the Government to study in Sudan."

"The students in Sudan are not part of the contingent of Mozambicans scholarship holders under the responsibility of the Government", states the document.

The IBE explains that it received a letter from a Mozambican student in Sudan asking for financial support for himself and his colleagues to continue their studies.

The Ministry, however, was unaware of the presence of this group in Sudan, and immediately asked them to list their concerns and the names of the students under this situation, as well the full details of those responsible for sending the group to Sudan to establish direct contact.

"This is how the MINED managed to contact the representative of an Islamic organization responsible for the recruitment of Mozambican students to Sudan. We are talking about a certain Mr. Tayob who came forward to provide further details. The program in question dates back to the 80's when the first group of young Mozambicans received scholarships for religious studies granted by the Islamic African Institute based in Khartoum, and funded by the Africa Muslim Agency, with support from Arab countries".

At the time, these group enjoyed better living conditions and study, and were even entitled spend their holidays in Mozambique every two years and benefiting from a monthly allowance of 25 Sudanese pounds, among other perks. From 1999, after the Gulf War, support for religious scholars suffered a number of setbacks when the Arab countries decided to withdraw their support for the Sudanese Government, "explains IBE.

Currently, there are 45 Mozambican students in Sudan and not all will scholarships granted by Islamic organizations, since others went there by their own means, adds the document.





Maputo, 27 May (AIM) - Mozambique's Industry and Trade Minister Armando Inroga believes that the government will be in a position to introduce a bar code system in the country later this year, since it has already met all the legal requirements.

According to minister, Mozambique has complied with all legal requirements to submit to Brussels the request for the introduction of a bar code system in the country.

The barcode is a standardized coding system for all consumer and industrial goods, as well as commercial transactions. It consists of a stamp that is stuck on the pack of products that allows one to identify the manufacturer, year of manufacturing, expiry date, among other information important to the consumer and the seller. Its reading is through a computer system.

"From then on transactions in the formal market will become easier and we will be able to export not only with the stamp Made in Mozambique, but with a bar code proving that it was really Made in Mozambique", said Inroga, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the just ended II Fair of the Stamp "Made in Mozambique", which aimed to promote products and services using the stamp "Proudly Mozambican".

Over the last few years, Mozambican business people have been complaining for the lack of a bar code on goods produced in the country, because in the absence of it supermarkets and other retailers will prefer imported goods.

Also, they claim that the absence of this code in the country limits the export of consumption goods manufactured locally, even when they meet quality standards demanded by foreign markets.

The current bar code used in Mozambique is purchased by the companies/producers from the neighbouring South Africa and it shows information about that country, even that related with the origin of the products.

The demand to use a bar code on products manufactured in Mozambique is ever growing because of the increasing number of supermarkets that need guarantee and an easy control of the products they are selling.

The introduction of a bar code in the country is long overdue.

In 2008, the Mozambican authorities announced that the country would introduce the bar code system in 2009.




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