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Mozambique’s Deputy Transport Minister, Manuela Rebelo, on Tuesday delivered 13 new buses to the municipalities of Beira and Dondo, in the central province of Sofala.
In all, the government is allocating 15 buses to the two cities – 10 for Beira and five for Dondo, following the abolition of the publicly owned Beira bus company, TPB, which had served both municipalities.
TPB is being replaced by two municipal bus companies – but there are few assets to be divided, since TPB was in a deep financial crisis, with hardly any functioning buses, and unable even to pay wages to its workers.
Each of the new buses can carry over 70 passengers. Cited in Wednesday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, Rebelo said the government is attempting to minimise the shortage of passenger transport in the municipalities.
Speaking on behalf of Sofala Provincial Governor Helena Taipo, the provincial director of economy and finance, Lenio Mendonca, pledged that the government will continue to promote better transport conditions for the public, and urged the municipal managers to ensure a long life for the buses.
The mayors of Beira and Dondo, Daviz Simango and Castigo Chiutar, thanked the Transport Ministry for the buses – but Simango insisted that remaining assets of TPB should be handed over to the Beira municipality.
One pressing problem is that TPB was grossly overmanned with over 300 workers. They were paid much more than the wages in force in the public administration, in some cases over 100,000 meticais (about 1,660 US dollars) a month. But in its dying days there were sometimes only two TPB buses on the roads.
Chiutar said the 95 TPB workers in Dondo could be employed by the municipality, but they would have to accept the municipal pay scale.
The TPB trade union secretary, Zeca Jose, wondered who would pay the six months wage arrears owed to the TPB workers.Source: AIM / Miramar