Ossufo Momad finds the silence of the government in the "Manuel Chang case" strange
Photo: A Verdade
While the counting of the votes of the 5th local elections continues, the truth is that, in the State Budget proposal for 2019, the winners will have very little money to fulfill the promises many of them have unrealistically made to the citizens living under the 53 local councils. There are only 4.7 billion meticais to be distributed, and that, un-equitably. The city of Maputo receives the largest share, 797.6 million meticais, while the allocation for Nyamayabue municipality is only 12.9 million meticais.
In the last few weeks, Mozambicans have been bombarded with dreams of access to drinking water, sanitation, school, health units, electricity, roads… to cite just some of the innumerable promises made by the country’s mayoral candidates.
The truth is that, after the electoral process, almost none of these promises are expected to come true. Not least because, with the exception of Maputo, none has yet received from the executive the authority to manage these services under the transfer of functions from central to local authorities.
However, more than the lack of political will within Frelimo, particularly with regard to the municipalities of Beira and Nampula, the truth is that the local councils are far from able to generate the revenue to allow them to manage basic infrastructure, and so survive on the money that the central government allocates every year and their own small investments.
In the State Budget proposal for next year, which the @Verdade had access to, the government allocated 4.7 billion meticais to the 53 municipalities, less than 10% more than in 2018 when it allocated 4.3 billion of meticais. In this amount 3 billion are for the operation of each of the 53 municipal councils and only 1.6 billion is for investments.
The largest share will be for Maputo Municipal Council, which will receive 797.6 million meticais, about 77 million more than this year. However, thanks to its tax base, the city of Maputo could almost survive without an allocation, because it can generate revenue.
As for the smallest portion of the municipal budget, that goes to Nyamayabue Council in Tete, which has an allocation of 12.9 million meticais, just over 1 million more than in 2018.
By way of illustration, the entire Nyamayabue budget would not be enough to build a single Type II health centre, which is budgeted at 15 million meticais minimum. Construction of a single high school would cost at least 180 million meticais, and every kilometre of paved road costs at least 60 million meticais.
The budget of Beira and Nampula municipalities would not even cover the cost of running their existing hospitals.
The second most important city in our country, the Beira Autonomous Council, is expected to receive 433.5 million meticais in 2019, of which 297.6 million is for operations, an increase of just over 40 million compared to this year.
Nampula Autonomous Council, the so-called “northern capital”, has a budget of 308.8 million meticais, against 281.1 million it received this year. Two hundred and eight million are for the functioning of the council and only 100 million meticais for investment.
The annual operating cost of Nampula Central Hospital is 295 million meticais, while a similar unit in Beira costs 362 million meticais to run – both therefore unaffordable to the respective municipalities.
Another important municipality, Quelimane, expects to receive 152 million meticais, an increase of just over 11 million compared to 2018, but almost all of that is allocated to the Xai-Xai City Council (123. 9 million meticais).
Paradoxically, the government has spent more than 372 million meticals on two luxury car for central government “leaders”, more than the entire budget for Nampula, or Quelimane and Xai-Xai put together.
By Adérito CaldeiraSource: A Verdade