By Almiro Mazive,
Chala (Mozambique), 27 Jun (AIM) - Residents of the locality of Chala, in the northern Mozambican province of Niassa, have complained that they are not benefitting from the public and private investment seen in other parts of the country.
These concerns were expressed on Tuesday during a rally addressed by President Armando Guebuza, who is on a tour of the province as part of his "open and inclusive presidency".
The residents told President Guebuza that the lack of access roads is the major problem in the region. They said that people are often forced to cross through Malawi to reach the nearest health unit or maternity hospital.
According to a resident of the village of Chipanga, Saimone Aly, there have been cases of seriously illness patients being carried on bicycles to hospital, sometimes dying on the way.
Rosario Mustafo complained "we have been asking for roads for quite some time now, but nothing has happened".
Mustafo argued that the village of Chipanga has missed out on the development that has taken place in other parts of the province.
Another citizen highlighted the humiliation experienced by community leaders when they attended an official event in Chala. "They were forced to strip off their uniforms as they passed through Malawian territory because they were mistaken as high ranking officials", he said.
Alaica Munama, from the village of Matipa said "we ask not to be forgotten". Munama, who claims to be a former freedom fighter, also complained about the lack of payment of their pensions, even though Chala used to be one of Frelimo's strongholds during the struggle for Mozambique's independence.
According to Dipeta Matola, "only four former fighters are receiving their pensions here in Chala".
Elephants and drought are other problems faced by residents, who expressed their alarm at an impeding food crisis in coming months. Residents warned that if it fails to rain in the next few months deaths could occur from hunger.
Answering to these concerns, President Guebuza said that it shows that a lot more has to be done to ensure the wellbeing of all Mozambicans, and that "we must work harder to eradicate poverty".
104612E GVF TO LAUNCH NACALA CORRIDOR FUND
By John Hughes
London, 27 Jun (AIM) - The Getulio Vargas Foundation (GVF) is to launch the Nacala Corridor Agricultural Investment Fund on 4 July in the Brazilian capital city Brasilia.
The project has the support of the Brazilian Cooperation Agency, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA), the Brazil-Mozambique Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Mozambican Ministry of Agriculture, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and 4IGREEN.
The Nacala Fund is a project to promote social, environmental and economic progress along the Nacala Development Corridor using the expertise of Brazilian agribusiness.
The fund is intertwined with ProSavana, which is the abbreviation for the Programme of Triangular Cooperation for Developing Agriculture in the Tropical Savannahs of Mozambique.
ProSavana will be developed in the north of the country, mostly along the railway line of the Nacala Development Corridor, and is intended to increase agricultural productivity, with a strong component of transfer of technology. Mozambique's partners in the programme are Brazil and Japan.
ProSavana covers about 700,000 hectares. It is based on a project that Japan implemented in Brazil in the 1970s, which revolutionized agricultural production in an area now regarded as the most productive in Brazil.
The first phase of ProSavana envisages training Mozambican producers in technologies made available by EMBRAPA, strengthening the capacity of Mozambique's Agricultural Research Institute (IIAM), and building and equipping soil laboratories and other agricultural research centres.
In a related development, the Brazilian government has opened a credit line of 97.59 million US dollars for Mozambique to purchase agricultural machinery and equipment made in Brazil.
The credit is part of the Ministry of Agrarian Development's "More Food Programme" and will be supported by technical assistance.
The loans will come from the Foreign Trade Board (Camex), and will take the form of concessional loans to be paid off over seventeen years with a five year grace period and an interest rate of two per cent.
(AIM / AIMENG)
103612E REGULATIONS FOR LICENSING HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS AMENDED
Maputo, 27 Jun (AIM) - Mozambique's Council of Ministers (Cabinet) on Tuesday approved a decree amending the rules for licensing and operating higher education institutions, to close loopholes in the current regulations.
According to the government spokesperson, Alberto Nkutumula, the new regulations clearly state that managers of higher education institutions must be holders of at least a masters' degree. In addition, teaching must commence within two years of receiving a license and an institution must now apply to the Minister of Education if it intends to open new branches across the country.
Nkutumula stated that the two year limit can be extended by twelve months by the Minister of Education.
During the cabinet meeting, the Council of Ministers also approved a resolution granting a land use certificate (DUAT) to the Brazilian mining company Vale.
The meeting also ratified a credit agreement between the Mozambican government and Unicredit Bank Austria for a loan of five million euros to finance the construction of bridges in the central provinces of Manica and Sofala.
102612E MAJORITY OF PRISON BUDGET SPENT ON PREVENTATIVE DETENTION
Maputo, 27 Jun (AIM) - Ninety per cent of the budget of the National Prisons Service (SNAPRI) is spent on pre-trial detention or prison sentences that could have been substituted with alternative punishments.
Mozambique's Minister of Justice, Benvinda Levi, revealed this fact during the coordinating council of SNAPRI which is currently underway in the southern province of Inhambane.
According to the minister, cited in the daily newspaper "O Pais", the failure to apply alternatives to prison has led to overcrowding. He lamented that in April 2012 the country had a total of 17,172 people in prison, whilst the jails officially only had the capacity to hold 7,894 prisoners.
In 2010, when the country had 15,000 people in prison, the National Prison Service spent about 41 million meticais per month, or 500 million meticais per year. The minister pointed out that if alternatives were implemented some of this money could be reallocated to other parts of the state budget.
Levi added that giving delinquents alternatives to prison would stop them from being influenced by hardened criminals in jail.
The minister criticised the country's penal system which he considers to be a legacy from the days of colonialism. He said that the penal system is strongly retributive and allows for detention to be the norm rather than the exception.
He argued that having incarceration as the main form of social control leads, inevitably, to high rates of reoffending and overcrowding.
101612E GOVERNMENT TO SPEND 40 MILLION US DOLLARS ON PRESCHOOL EDUCATION
Maputo, 26 Jun (AIM) - Mozambique's Council of Ministers (Cabinet) on Tuesday approved the Strategy for the Integrated Development of Preschool Age Children for 2012/21 along with a budget of 40 million US dollars.
According to the Deputy Education Minister, Augusto Jone, the initiative is to give early educational stimulation to allow children to develop to their full potential.
Jone explained that this strategy will complement other on-going activities for the integration of children into schools, which have so far lacked the necessary coordination and complementarity between participants.
To implement the Strategy, the Ministry of Education will create opportunities for the participation of the private sector in preschool education with funds provided by the government.
"We will carry out a pilot phase in ten districts covering five provinces during the period 2012 - 2015", said Jone, adding that the government will set the rules for access to funding, including the terms of reimbursement.
The Strategy envisages the establishment of new nursery schools, with tenders being launched shortly. The first phase is due to start in 2013.
100612E FOREIGN GANGS RESPONSIBLE FOR KIDNAPPINGS
Maputo, 27 Jun (AIM) - Mozambique's Attorney-General, Augusto Paulino, on Tuesday claimed that the series of kidnappings that have taken place in the cities of Maputo and Matola, in the south of the country, are the work of a network of foreign criminals.
Speaking at the opening of a legal conference, Paulino said that transnational gangs are also involved in drug trafficking, corruption, fraud, contraband and arms smuggling.
He stressed that "these criminal practices are perpetrated by transnational organised criminal groups that represent a real threat to peace, development and the sovereignty of the State".
According to Paulino, cited in the daily newspaper "O Pais", there is an urgent need to strengthen the internal capacity of the State to break the crime wave that is shaking the country and disturbing public peace and security.
"We want our country to be immune from what is known as white collar crime, such as fraud, bribery, insider trading, embezzlement, counterfeiting and computer crime", said Paulino.
He also strongly attacked cases of injustice caused by a lack of technical competence amongst prosecutors and judges.
"We all make mistakes, which is only human, but we need to accept these mistakes and fix them. Our fear is that some of these lapses are intentional".
He also criticised cases of illegal detention ordered by judges, particularly in remote areas. "These, paradoxically, instead of being reasonable measures consistent with the case, are applied invariably, increasing the prison population. As judges, we are supposed to know that freedom is the norm and imprisonment the exemption", said the Attorney General.
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