Maputo — The Mozambican government plans to lease stretches of the country's trunk road network to private operators by the end of the year, the Minister of Public Works, Cadmiel Muthemba, announced on Friday at the end of a meeting of the Coordinating Council of his Ministry.
So far the country only has one toll road - the Maputo-South Africa motorway, operated by the South African company, Trans Africa Concessions (TRAC).
But if the government has its way, private operators will erect toll bridges on several major roads, including the main north-south highway from Marracuene, just outside Maputo, to Lindela in Inhambane province; from the northern city of Nampula to the port of Nacala; and from Vanduzi to Changara, between Manica and Tete provinces.
Muthemba, cited in Monday's issue of the independent daily “O Pais”, said that over the past five years 1,500 kilometres of road had been paved, and there had been annual routine maintenance of 19,000 kilometres.
Despite this, he said, the road sector faced difficulties which could only be overcome with the involvement of private business.
“The participation of the Mozambican private sector in carrying out our activities is still not satisfactory”, Muthemba said. “So we must pay particular attention to improving the mechanisms to promote and build the capacity of national contractors and technical staff”.
He wanted to develop public-private partnerships, but with the exclusive participation of Mozambican rather than foreign companies, and based on the concept of “user pays” - that is, toll roads.