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Photo: O País
The Mozambican Minister of Public Works, Joao Machatine, on Friday queried the transparency – or lack of it – in the awarding of contracts to build or rehabilitate roads.
Speaking at the opening session of the annual meeting of the government’s Integrated Roads Programme, Machatine said it was strange that, after 44 years of Mozambican independence, the National Roads Administration (ANE), through its recent announcements of contracts awarded, seemed to be telling the country that Mozambique does not have companies with the capacity to repair roads.
He asked: “How can it be explained that, with so many opportunities for road maintenance, 60 per cent of the contracts go to one and the same company?”
Machatine did not reveal the name of this company, but he said there were only two possibilities: “Either we are faced with an absolute lack of Mozambican companies in the roads sector – which I do not believe – or there is trafficking of influence in the sector”.
He issued a warning. “Don’t force us to impose a limit on how many of our public tenders a particular company can win”, he said. “This situation cannot be allowed to continue”.
Machatine recognises that challenges prevail, not only in the financial sphere, but also in the compliance by contractors with their contractual obligations, and recommended that solutions be identified to overcome these problems.
Roads in the central provinces and in parts of the northern province of Cabo Delgado suffered heavily from the two cyclones that hit Mozambique in March and April, and Machatine declared that the roads sector “has the responsibility to make the post-cyclone reconstruction an opportunity for raising up, technically and financially, the Mozambican civil construction and public works companies”.