Official Government Wires
34612E CPLP CONFERENCE IN MAPUTO TO FOCUS ON FOOD SECURITY
Maputo, 8 Jun (AIM) - Food security will be one of the key issues at the summit of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), which will be held in the Mozambican capital city Maputo on 20 July.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Mozambican Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi stated that "the conference in Maputo will, obviously, strengthen all aspects of political coordination and cooperation within the community, but with a particular focus on food security and nutrition".
Baloi lamented that despite the adoption of several initiatives to combat food insecurity and acute malnutrition, the problem still affects 28 million people within the CPLP.
He stated that "we need to coordinate our efforts in order to meet the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by 2015".
As a result, the conference will be held under the theme "The CPLP and the Challenges of Food Security and Nutrition".
The aim of the summit is to contribute to the eradication of hunger and poverty, through strengthening coordination between member states and improving the management of policies and programmes for food security and nutrition.
At the summit, Mozambique will take over the presidency of the organisation. The conference will be attended by the eight member states and three observers (Equatorial Guinea, Mauritius and Senegal).
The Mozambican presidency will be marked by a focus on the key issue of strengthening cooperation between members on health and education, the environment, gender, justice, defence, the youth and civil society.
Other areas that need to be addressed include the process of promoting Equatorial Guinea to full membership, the growing number of countries requesting CPLP observer status, political challenges in Guinea Bissau and support for the Portuguese language.
33612E AUTOGAS LAUNCHES NEW TARIFF
Maputo, 8 Jun (AIM) - The company that converts vehicles to run on natural gas, Autogas, has stated that it doubts that the government will be able to meet its target of converting ten per cent of its fleet of vehicles to use compressed natural gas (CNG).
The general manager of Autogas, Jose das Neves, told the electronic newspaper "Mediafax" that the government has done nothing to implement its National Energy Strategy in relation to CNG.
"Until this is enacted into law the strategy is just an intention. It cannot force the State to comply", Neves told a press conference in Maputo to mark the launch of a new campaign to increase the use of natural gas in the capital city and Maputo province.
Neves lamented that two years after the approval of the strategy, just over 450 vehicles in Mozambique are using CNG. Of this number, just over 50 vehicles are State owned, excluding the 156 gas powered buses belonging to Maputo's publicly-owned bus company, TPM.
Currently, Autogas is installing three gas filling stations in the neighbourhoods of Jardim in the capital, and Machava and Malhampswene in Maputo province.
Autogas believes that there are a number of issues hampering the conversion of the State's fleet to natural gas, such as resistance to change and prejudices. However, Autogas believe that these obstacles could be removed if a legal component is added to the National Energy Strategy.
Meanwhile, Autogas continues to advocate the use of CNG which offers cost advantages compared to liquid fuels. While the cost of petrol is 47.52 meticais a litre, the cost of the same amount of natural gas is only 17.75 meticais, which allows customers to save about 30 meticais per litre (at current exchange rate there about 27.7 meticais to one US dollar).
Under Autogas' new "Minimum Consumption Contract" tariff, consumers will pay a monthly fee of 6,000 meticais during a period of 18 months. The tariff includes a conversion kit and a quota of 180 litres of natural gas per month. After this period, customers will only have to pay the amount of natural gas consumed.
Following the recent discoveries of natural gas in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, Autogas has set itself a target of converting 70 per cent of all vehicles in the country in the near future.
In the meantime, it plans to reach a target of 500 vehicles by the end of this year. Natural gas is pumped to Maputo by a gas pipeline from the Temane gas processing plant in Inhambane province.
32612E GOVERNMENT COMMITTED TO REFORMS TO FACILITATE INVESTMENT
Maputo, 8 Jun (AIM) - Mozambican Prime Minister Aires Ali on Friday stressed that the government is committed to carrying out reforms to build an environment conducive to investment.
Speaking during a meeting between the government and the private sector, the Prime Minister said that the government's task is to create better ways of facilitating business, through the provision of services, infrastructure and a healthy macro-economic environment, as well as through bringing in reforms to improve the business environment.
"It is obvious that it is not always possible to meet these needs as rapidly as we would like. However, we would like to assure you that the government is committed to carrying out the necessary reforms to promote an enabling environment for investment, with a special focus on the policies, strategies and regulations that impact on the production of goods and services, so that Mozambique's businesses and the economy can become more competitive", he explained.
The Prime Minister stressed that, despite the international economic crisis, Mozambique's economy is continuing to grow, "which in large measure is due to the success of the dialogue between the public and private sectors, particularly concerning the need to improve the business environment".
He added that the country has recently attracted huge investment as a result of the discovery and initial exploration of various natural resources, in particular coal and natural gas.
The meeting is part of the government's commitment to maintaining dialogue with the private sector, and is held more or less twice a year, chaired by the Prime Minister.
31612E MOZAMBIQUE ADOPTS CODE OF CONDUCT ON PIRACY
Maputo, 8 Jun (AIM) - The Council of Ministers (Cabinet) on Thursday approved Mozambique's adoption of the Code of Conduct concerning the Repression of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, also known as the "Djibouti Code of Conduct".
The Djibouti Code facilitates the sharing of information among countries in the region and actions to repress maritime piracy.
Speaking to reporters shortly after the Cabinet meeting, government spokesperson Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources Abdul Razak explained that Mozambique's accession to the Code "will allow Mozambique to share information among member countries in the region and will give access to technical training and support for the purchase of equipment for the fight against piracy".
The Djibouti Code, which became effective on 29 January 2009, promotes the implementation of a number of United Nations Security Council and UN General Assembly resolutions which fall within the competence of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
So far 19 out of 21 eligible countries have signed the Djibouti Code of Conduct. Mozambique and France are yet to sign the Code. With Mozambique adopting the Code, France is the only eligible country yet to join.
During the meeting, the Cabinet also ratified two agreements: with the Exim Bank of China for financing the building of a bridge across Maputo Bay linking the centre of the capital city with the district of Catembe; and with the Kuwait Fund and Banco Terra for financing the Food Security Programme through the provision of micro credit to small farmers.
The meeting also approved the Medium Term Fiscal Scenario for 2012/2015, a framework that forecasts revenues for the 3 year period and predicts the availability of funds.
This Fiscal Scenario plays a role in developing the plan to combat poverty and is the basis for the allocation of financial resources at all levels.
30612E POLITICAL PARTIES SUPPORT RAPID RELEASE OF ELECTION RESULTS
Maputo, 8 Jun (AIM) - Mozambique's political parties and various civil society organisations on Thursday argued for the faster release of election results to promote electoral credibility and avoid social tension.
Under the current legislation in Mozambique the publication of the final election results must take place within fifteen days of the poll. However, in many countries the process is completed in less than three days.
The issue was discussed at an international conference held in Maputo on "Electoral Processes in the African Continent: Experiences, Opportunities and Risks", organised by the Electoral Observatory in partnership with AMODE, the Christian Council of Mozambique, CEDE, the Islamic Council of Mozambique, the Catholic Church, the Human Rights League (LDH), OREC and Diakonia.
Edson Macuacua, the Frelimo Central Committee Secretary for Propaganda and Mobilisation, argued that the electoral authorities have already acquired enough experience to be able to publish the definitive results in less time.
He said that "the less time waiting for results, the better for political stability and peace after the elections. Having gained experience, the electoral organs should be able to reduce the timeframe. The law establishes a maximum limit, but nothing prevents the results being released sooner".
The leader of the parliamentary benches of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), Lutero Simango, argued that new technology removes any argument that the election results should take 15 days.
He stated, "with a reduction in time, there will be a reduction in tension as well as increased confidence in the system. The country should begin to use new technologies to release the results in the least time possible".
This was also the view of the spokesperson for the country's largest opposition party, Renamo. Fernando Mazanga argued "everything that is in the law should be flexible and the electoral organs should also work in this way".
Ezequiel Gusse, a member of the National Elections Commission (CNE), asserted that the electoral organs are able to release the definitive election results nine or ten days after the beginning of the electoral count.
Gusse argued that the CNE aims to publish the results as soon as possible, but there are various constraints. For example, some polling stations could be nine hours away from the counting station because of the poor state of roads. In addition, the CNE is required to have the polling station results sheets ("editais"), but it does not have the means to transport the material rapidly.
For Sheik Abdul Carimo, Mozambique is capable of publishing the definitive results in five days, but votes that are considered problematic end up extending this to ten days.
He stated that computerisation is both a challenge and the solution to reducing the time for publishing the definitive results. He pointed out that the registration process is carried out in an electronic format, and argued for the country to advance to voting electronically.
The event was attended by representatives of civil society from Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, as well as Mozambican politicians and academics.
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