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Mozambican Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario told the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Thursday that negotiations are under way with possible contractors to rehabilitate over 500 kilometres of the country’s main north-south highway (EN1) – but on the basis of “the user pays”, which will mean toll gates at regular intervals.
In debates over the past two days, deputies from the rebel movement Renamo complained repeatedly of the poor state of much of EN1.
Rosario agreed that conditions on the road must be improved, “bearing in mind its role in promoting national unity”, but the vehicles using the road would have to pay for the improvements.
They are not cheap. Rosario said that repairing the 309 kilometres of EN1 from the Inchope crossroads in Manica province to Caia, on the south bank of the Zambezi, will cost 250 million US dollars. Further south, in Inhambane province, the 125 kilometre stretch from Pambara to the Save river will cost 100 million dollars. The final stretch under consideration is the 75 kilometres from the Lurio river to Metoro, in Cabo Delgado province, which will cost 65 million dollars.
Motorists have become used to driving on most Mozambican roads free of charge – the main exception being the Maputo-South Africa motorway, which is operated by the South African company, Trans-African Concessions (TRAC). The government has repeatedly promised to install toll gates on other roads, but these intentions have not yet been put into practice.
As for the health service, which Renamo had claimed was falling apart, Rosario said this was one oF the few sectors that had been protected from severe budget cuts. In general, the 2018 state budget does not permit new recruitment of staff to any departments in the public administration – but an exception was opened for the social sectors, including the health service, he pointed out, allowing the recruitment this year of 2,019 new health professionals.
The government was also committed to improving and humanising health care, he said. As far as possible specific times were now being fixed for doctor’s appointments in the health service, based on the type of illness, “which will contribute to a reduction in waiting times”.
Rosario stressed the need for the “quality and humanisation committees”, which involve local communities, to be “more pro-active in preventing and combating practices which hinder the provision of better health care”.
He pledged that the government will continue to improve the management of medicines, particularly the logistics of storage and distribution, so that they reach the public in good time. Rosario was optimistic that when the regional medical stores in Nampula city begin to operate in the second half of this year, there will be a great improvement in the distribution of medicines throughout the northern provinces.Source: AIM
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