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File photo / Beira port
The competitiveness of Mozambican ports does not depend solely on the Transport Ministry, but on a range of other ministries and institutions, Transport Minister Carlos Mesquita told reporters on Wednesday.
Speaking in the southern resort of Bilene, where a meeting of the Coordinating Council of his ministry is under way, Mesquita said that making the ports competitive involves a series of factors that have to be dealt with in an integrated fashion by various ministries.
It was not solely a matter for the Transport Ministry, he stressed, but involved the Ministry of Economy and Finance, through the customs service, the Ministry of the Interior, the shipping agencies and other institutions. However, he believed the country is moving in the right direction, so that the ports are gaining in competitiveness.
As for the project to build a deep water mineral port at Techobanine, in the southernmost district of Matutuine, Mesquita said the viability study has been concluded and negotiations are continuing with Botswana and Zimbabwe, and now also involve South Africa.
The main purpose of such a port would be to export coal from Botswana. A new railway would be needed from Botswana to Techobanine, running through Zimbabwe.
Asked what measures are being taken to deal with the problems of urban passenger transport, Mesquita was confident that a sustainable solution will soon be found. He said his Ministry has been discussing the situation with the Mozambican Road Transport Federation (FEMATRO) and other private partners interested in acquiring new buses.
“We want to attack the problem in a structural form”, he said, “and reach a sustainable solution. The acquisition of new buses is part of this process”.
He favoured an increase in fares, and the Minister must certainly be aware of the proposal from Maputo City Council to raise the fares charged by the private minibuses known as “chapas” from seven meticais (11.5 US cents) to 12 meticais for short distances (up to ten kilometres) and from nine to 15 meticais for longer journeys.
He believed that raising the fares would end the illegal practice of chapa owners shortening their routes, thus forcing passengers to take two buses rather than one. “By adjusting the fares, we want to bring improvements”, Mesquita said.
Under an agreement recently signed between the Transport Ministry and FEMATRO, 300 new buses are being imported which will be allocated to private companies in order to strengthen passenger services in the main urban centres.Source: AIM