- Tomorrow: Council of Ministers’ weekly meeting
The latest from Zitamar News:
Hundreds flee as Bilibiza attacked again by Cabo Delgado insurgents
A fresh attack on the town of Bilibiza has confounded hopes that life there was getting back to normal
From the Zitamar Live Blog:
Seven more deaths from covid-19 in Mozambique
The death toll is now 59. The health authorities also reported 584 cases of covid-19 in the past three days, and 249 recoveries
The best of the rest:
- Suspected insurgent informants and recruiters arrested in Cabo Delgado (DW)
- Foreign minister confirms request for help in Cabo Delgado (Mediafax)
- Covid-19 tests will be mandatory on South African border (O País)
- Renamo guerillas could be fully demobilised by end of next year (Carta de Moçambique, Radio Moçambique)
- Government guarantees for state-owned companies considered high risk (O País)
Suspected insurgent informants and recruiters arrested in Cabo Delgado (DW)
Two men have been arrested on suspicion of collaborating with the insurgents in Cabo Delgado province. They are suspected of passing on information about the movements of government security forces, and of recruiting more insurgents, according to a provincial police spokesman. One of the suspects, Manuel D, a resident of Montepuez district, says that his brother-in-law and a student of his brother-in-law had called him to ask for information about the movement of troops in the district, but that he had refused to provide it. The student also asked “if I knew any young people who want to join Al-Shabaab. I said I didn’t know anyone. I was arrested for communicating with bandits,” DW reported him as saying. The second suspect, Assane C., a trader who worked between the provincial capital, Pemba, and the town of Mocímboa da Praia, said a Tanzanian had urged him to join the insurgency by promising wealth. He added that when the Tanzanian called to ask if there were soldiers in Metuge, or if helicopters were flying over, he had confirmed that there were.
Foreign minister confirms request for help in Cabo Delgado (Mediafax)
Foreign minister Verónica Macamo has confirmed that the government has formally asked for international support to tackle the terrorist attacks in the northern province of Cabo Delgado. Macamo said that the government is waiting for a reply, but that she believed the international community would be moved by the request. The government has asked for military training against terrorism, medical equipment and logistics support, with foreign military intervention still out of the question, Macamo added.
Covid-19 tests will be mandatory on South African border (O País)
A negative covid-19 test result will be compulsory in order to travel between Mozambique and South Africa when Mozambique reopens its border with South Africa on 1 October. The test must have been taken within the last 72 hours. According to a spokesman for the National Migration Service, the rule came into force with the declaration of “public calamity” on 4 September, and there are health teams at the borders responsible for verifying the tests. O País also reports that last week, 367 Mozambicans were deported from South Africa for illegal immigration and for committing various crimes. Five Swatis were also deported for illegal residence. The spokesman added that requests to renew DIRE residency documents increased by 49% compared to the previous week, with most requests coming from Maputo city, Maputo province and Nampula.
It is not clear if Mozambican drivers doing frequent travel to South Africa will be asked to take covid-19 tests, something that has not been enforced up to now.
Renamo guerillas could be fully demobilised by end of next year (Carta de Moçambique, Radio Moçambique)
The demobilisation, demilitarisation and reintegration of guerillas from the opposition party Renamo is planned to be finished by the end of 2021, according to Mirko Manzoni, the president of the contact group between the government and Renamo. Meeting this target depended in part on the health emergency imposed by the covid-19 pandemic, Manzoni said, and if the situation was no longer serious, then the remaining 4,000 guerrillas could be demobilised. However, he added that some Renamo guerrillas had left their bases and joined the self-proclaimed Renamo Military Junta, the dissident paramilitary group led by Mariano Nhongo.
One of the problems at this point, according to a military source talking on Radio Moçambique, is that the majority of Renamo men seeking demobilization are claiming high officers ranks, which is angering others who had been demobilised under lower military ranks.
Government guarantees for state-owned companies considered high risk (O País)
The guarantees given by the government to state-owned companies are high risk due to the low likelihood of repayments, according to the government’s medium term fiscal scenario. The Ministry of Economy and Finance said that the low reimbursement rate was due to the fact that most public companies have been loss-making, a situation aggravated by the economic effects of the covid-19 pandemic. For example, out of the MZN23.4bn lent by the state under so-called “retrocession agreements”, only MZN46.5m has been reimbursed, according to the general state accounts for 2019. Most of the loans were given to Maputo Sul (4.61%) and the state power utility EDM (3.6%). The only state-owned company with an AAA credit rating is Ports and Railways of Mozambique. The majority of the 12 firms analysed are considered high risk, with ratings from B- to D.
- Moza Banco published an economic bulletin in which it said that ExxonMobil may delay the final investment decision on its Rovuma LNG gas project until after 2021. The bank cited the effects of the covid-19 pandemic, leading to consecutive quarterly losses for the first time ever at the company, as well as a $23bn increase in the company’s debt in the first six months of the year. In view of its losses, the bank expected ExxonMobil to proceed with spending cuts of $10-15bn in coming years. Moza is not the first source to suggest Exxon will delay the FID until 2022.
- Ncondezi Energy said that it had held talks with GE Steam Power, the turbine supplier for its 300MW Ncondezi coal-fired power project, following the decision by its parent company, General Electric, to no longer take part in new build coal-fired power projects. Ncondezi said that it had not received any notice of change to the agreement to which GE Steam Power signed up, but that its main equity investor and construction contractor, China Machinery Engineering Corporation, had a contingency plan to replace the supplier if needed (see here)
- Kenmare Resources announced that its wet concentrator plant B had been safely moved to a new mining area at Pilivili. The plant, a 7,100 tonne machine which separates heavy mineral sands from impurities, will next be floated across the Mualadi river and into a pond. The company said it was the heaviest piece of mining equipment to be moved in Africa to date (see here)
- Nigeria’s Access Bank has announced its its starting operations in Mozambique this week