Maputo, 2 Jul (AIM) - Mozambique and Germany on Monday in Maputo signed two agreements under which the German government, through its Development Bank (KFW), will donate 28.5 million euros in aid to Mozambique.
Nine million euros is earmarked for direct budget support for this year and 19.5 million euros for sector programmes and institutional projects. Finance Minister Manuel Chang, who signed the agreements on behalf of the Mozambican government, explained that fifteen million euros will be channelled to the Local Government Integrated Development Programme, while the remaining 4.5 million euros will be spent on reforms of the Tax Authority and the Administrative Tribunal.
According to Chang, these agreements follow commitments made by last year by the German government.
"The contribution to the state budget aims to reduce our balance of payments deficit and finance priority activities which cannot be covered with domestic resources", said the minister.
Chang added that "the allocation of resources to the Common Fund for Tax Reform will certainly allow for a faster implementation of the strategic plan of the Tax Authority for the period 2011-2014, mainly by introducing modern technology and projects focused on the Electronic Single Window, e-taxation and capacity building".
Speaking on behalf of the German government, the director of KFW in Mozambique, Ralf Orlik, said that the development of the Tax Authority and the Administrative Tribunal are key to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of public finances and tax collection, and will help Mozambique to reduce its dependence on foreign aid.
"We are pleased to announce funding for the Local Government Integrated Development Programme through which we will support the development of towns in rural areas in line with the government's Poverty Reduction Action Plan (PARP)", he said.
Germany is one of the 19 donor countries and funding agencies, also known as the "Programme Aid Partners" or "G19", who support Mozambique's state budget.
The German government also provides funding for education and health programmes, particularly on HIV/AIDS.
6712E 16,000 TONNES OF RICE HARVESTED IN CHOKWE
Maputo, 2 Jul (AIM) - Mozambique's largest irrigation scheme, at Chokwe in the Limpopo Valley, has produced about 16,000 tonnes of rice in the latest agricultural campaign.
According to the Chairman of Hidraulica Agricola de Chokwe (HICEP), Soares Xerinda, over 350 hectares were damaged by heavy rains and flooding during the season.
It had been planned to plant an area covering seven thousand hectares, but only 4,585 hectares were used for rice production. In the second growing season another 858 hectares will be cultivated.
Xerinda reported that the Chokwe region produced 4.73 tonnes of rice per hectare in the commercial sector and 4.15 tonnes in the non-mechanised family sector. Those in the family sector that did not use fertilisers only produced 3.9 tonnes per hectare, whilst those using fertilisers achieved 4.39 tonnes per hectare.
In the fields that are part of the Integrated Programme for Agricultural Technology Transfer (PITTA) the average yield reached five tonnes per hectare, whilst in the research fields the yield was seven tonnes per hectare.
Xerinda told the daily newspaper "Noticias" that the Ministry of Agriculture has provided a small factory capable of processing four thousand tonnes of the rice a year.
"The local processing and sale of rice is another option for farmers to boost their income", said Xerinda.
However, he argued that the area needs three more similar units to be able to process all the rice harvested. He believes that increasing the availability of processing would encourage farmers to grow more rice, increasing the region's competitiveness.
Xerinda also revealed that HICEP has taken measures to reduce the impact of red billed quelea, birds that live in colonies of millions that can devastate crops.
He lamented that the lack of cleaning of canals and ditches as well as the existence of large areas of unused land lead to an increase in the number of birds that are around to devour the rice.
5712E MOZAMBIQUE AND GERMANY SIGN TECHNICAL ACCORD
Maputo, 2 Jul (AIM) - Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi and German Ambassador Ulrik Klockner on Monday in Maputo signed a technical cooperation agreement on measures to help Mozambique adapt to climate change.
Under the agreement Germany will give 5.6 million euros to support the Mozambican government's strategic plan for mitigating the effects of climate change.
Speaking at a press conference shortly after the signing of the accord, Baloi said that the agreement strengthens bilateral relations between the two countries and will contribute to the reduction of poverty in Mozambique.
"The Mozambican government recognises that the fight against poverty requires in all areas of activity the preservation of the environment, not only through the rational use of resources but also in terms of planning and controlling human activity", said Baloi.
Baloi explained that the 5.6 million euros will be used to support projects for adapting to climate change in the city of Beira, in the central province of Sofala.
The funds will be managed through the Ministry for the Coordination of Environmental Action (MICOA) together with Beira Municipal Council.
The German ambassador said that the agreement will help combat climate change and poverty through the adoption of a green economy in Mozambique.
In May another agreement was signed with Germany, valued at 13 million euros, for measures to mitigate climate change in Beira, which is the Mozambican city most threatened by rising sea levels.
4712E GUEBUZA PRAISES CABO DELGADO FOR PATIENCE OVER MINERAL WEALTH
By Almiro Mazive
Balama, 2 Jul (AIM) - Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Sunday praised the population of the northern province of Cabo Delgado for their calmness in the wake of the recent discovery of massive deposits of natural gas and other resources in the region.
"The discovery of natural gas could disturb our minds if we did not have the serenity and calmness to deal with such situations", said President Guebuza.
The President was speaking in the district of Balama on Sunday during an extraordinary meeting of the provincial government, which marked the beginning of his five day "open and inclusive presidency" tour to Cabo Delgado.
The President received an economic and social report for the province, which states that over eighty trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas has been found in two areas in the districts of Palma and Mocimboa da Praia.
According to the report, four major companies are prospecting in seven areas which have been identified as potentially rich in hydrocarbons.
Other natural resources found in the province include nickel, graphite, marble and rubies in the districts of Montepuez, Ancuabe, Chiure and Balama.
In the first quarter of this year jobs were created for 1,500 young Mozambicans, with employment expected to increase with the development of the mining and extraction industries.
By the end of last year the authorities had issued 134 mining titles in Cabo Delgado, composed of 109 prospecting and exploration licenses, five mining concessions and twenty mining certificates. Most of the mining titles are still in the prospecting stage.
Cabo Delgado province has also been the target of illegal mining, particularly in the districts of Montepuez, Namuno, Meluco and Mueda, where ruby, gold, blue topaz, garnets and green tourmaline have been mined.
To discourage illegal mining the authorities have established three artisanal mining associations with 820 members. Another three associations are being created for gold mining.
According to official records, last year 900 grammes of gold were sold in the province. During the same period, the authorities arrested and deported 62 foreigners and seized 65.5 kilogrammes of precious stones, 24 motorcycles and mining equipment.
Before his tour of the province ends on Wednesday, the President will visit the districts of Montepuez, Mecufi, Muidumbe, Palma, and the provincial capital city Pemba.
3712E SOLAR POWER TRANSFORMING LIVES
Maputo, 1 Jul (AIM) - Solar power is improving the living conditions of thousands of Mozambicans living in rural areas not connected to the national electricity network. The solar panels have been installed by the National Energy Fund (FUNAE) to provide electricity for homes, schools, health units, police stations, public lighting and public buildings.
The project to install the solar panels has been implemented with financial support from the European Union.
A team from FUNAE recently visited some of the zones covered by the project in northern Mozambique to analyse the socio economic impact.
The team visited the districts of Chiure and Meluco in Cabo Delgado province, Nipepe in Niassa province and Monapo in Nampula province. It found that residents are using the energy for lighting, refrigeration, and charging mobile telephones.
In the health units the power is being used for refrigerators to conserve medicines and to provide lighting so that patients can be treated at any time of day.
The team also found that night schools are being organised for adult education and computers are being introduced into classrooms.
Nationally, about thirty per cent of the population have access to electricity, of whom twenty per cent have access through the electricity grid.
FUNAE intends to provide solar power to 2.1 million Mozambicans as part of a fifteen year strategy for the development of new and renewable energy.
Other forms of electricity generation that are being investigated include the use of small hydro-electric generators, wind generators, geothermal systems and biomass from organic material such as sugar cane. The strategy also covers power generation from the sea, using wave and tidal energy, and temperature variations in the ocean.
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