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File photo / Minister of Transport and Communications Carlos Mesquita
Mozambican Transport Minister Carlos Mesquita on Wednesday guaranteed that the citizens of the central cities of Beira and Dondo will not suffer from public transport problems following the announcement by the Mayor of Beira, Daviz Simango, that his municipal council will not take responsibility for the publicly owned Beira Bus Company (TPB).
The government, in the person of Deputy Transport Minister Manuela Rebelo, signed an agreement on 7 July under which 70 per cent of the assets of TPB would pass into the hands of Beira Council, and the remaining 30 per cent to the neighbouring city of Dondo.
But on Monday Simango, told a press conference that the Council is handing the TPB assets back to the government because none of its concerns about TPB had been met.
In July, Simango gave the government a list of ten points which needed to be dealt with before the municipality could take responsibility for TPB. These included a full list of TPB staff and their wages table, a list of the means of transport handed over to the municipality, and a guarantee that the government would pay off TPB’s debts, including wage arrears.
Simango said the Council never received a reply to these points either from the government or from the transitional management commission set up to ensure a smooth takeover by the municipality.
Despite this, Mesquita told reporters on Wednesday he was optimistic that, through a frank dialogue with Simango, and coordination between the central government and the Beira Municipal Council, solutions will be found to continue providing public passenger transport services to Beira and Dondo.
“This is a question that should continue to be debated”, said the Minister. “The government is clear that it will never abandon the citizens of Beira or of Dondo, and will continue providing the services owing to them’.
Asked whether the government will reply to the demands raised by Simango, Mesquita said it was all a matter of prioritizing dialogue in order to reach consensus. He also pledged that Beira and Dondo will be covered in future acquisition of buses by the government.
“We want an openness to dialogue”, he declared, pledging that the government remains committed to establishing conditions “so that citizens can move around in safety”.Source: AIM