Mozambique: Renamo Misreads the Budget - Again

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Mozambique debt.

Maputo — Does the Mozambican state budget for 2019 really allocate six times more money to the office of President Filipe Nyusi than to the Ministry of Agriculture?

That was the claim made on Wednesday during the parliamentary debate on the budget by Jose Samo Gudo, a prominent deputy in the main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo.

Year after year, Renamo deputies claim that the lion's share of the budget goes to repressive bodies (such as the military and the police) and to the Presidency to the detriment of such sectors as education, health and agriculture.

This mistake is made because they do not read the budget from beginning to end. The budget is divided into running costs and the capital budget, and each of these is divided into central and provincial expenditure.

Samo Gudo got his figure by just looking at central level running costs, and ignoring the provinces. He is right that the Presidency receives about six times more than the central offices of the Agriculture Ministry in Maputo - but most agricultural expenditure is decentralised to the provinces.

All Presidential and all defence and security expenditure is centralised in Maputo, while the great bulk of education, health, agriculture and public works expenditure takes place at provincial level. Even in Maputo, the Ministry offices are only part of the agricultural sector - it also includes such bodies as the Cotton Institute, the Cashew Institute, and the Agricultural Research industry.

Finance Minister Adriano Maleiane told Samo Gudo that, if all of the public agricultural sector is included, then the true figure for agricultural expenditure in the 2019 budget is 11 per cent of the total. Expenditure on all military, police and security bodies and the President's office, all taken together, only amounts to 10.2 per cent of the budget.

Education is allocated 21.5 per cent of the budget, health 10.6 per cent, roads 6.3 per cent, water supply and other public works 7.2 per cent, and transport and communications 3.6 per cent.

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