Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Wednesday challenged the Dutch company, Heineken, to establish commercial links with Mozambican industries producing raw materials that can be used in a new Heineken brewery which he inaugurated in Bobole, in Manhica district, about 80 kilometres north of Maputo.
Nyusi hoped to see a substantial use of local material in the new factory, which incorporates, according to Heineken, the most recent beer production technology. The brewery represents an investment of about 100 million US Dollars and can produce about 800,000 hectoliters of beer a year.
"As a government, we reaffirm our commitment to supporting this group in implementing the projects it has planned for Mozambique," said Nyusi. He added that the government is determined to work on improving conditions so that Mozambique continues to be an ideal destination for investment projects of all sizes.
The Heineken decision to build a brewery in Mozambique, Nyusi continued, mirrors the trust deposited by Holland in Mozambique, and is also a result of the "economic diplomacy" pursued by the government.
Nyusi said that the industrial sector in Mozambique consists largely of micro- and small companies which account for 94 per cent of the total. Nonetheless it is the small number of large industrial companies which are responsible for 76 per cent of the jobs created and 53 per cent of industrial production. Large industrial undertakings, he said, are viewed by the government as strategic partners in the drive to make industry the determinant factor in the structural transformation of the Mozambican economy.
The food and drinks industry, continued the President, generates economies of scale and could drive increased production of raw materials such as maize and cassava. This has already been happening in a brewery run by Cervejas de Mocambique (Beers of Mozambique - CDM) in the northern city of Nampula. CDM has been the pioneer in brewing beer based on cassava.
Nyusi added that food and drink industries contribute to import substitution with a positive impact on improving the country's trade balance and saving foreign currency. They also expand the tax base: across the world, breweries are major contributors to government exchequers.
The President said that investments on this scale, when well designed, have a multiplier effect on the national economy.
The new brewery is just one example of the efforts made by the government to attract foreign investment. He added that Heineken enjoys tax breaks for the initial years of the operation of the new brewery, and any brewery that uses grain or root crops produced in Mozambique also qualifies for fiscal benefits.
Nyusi lamented that almost 60 per cent of Mozambican industry is located in Maputo city and Province and Sofala and Zambezia provinces. He regarded this as a challenge which can be overcome by adopting consistent measures capable of attracting industry to other parts of the country.
Heineken Mozambique employs 200 workers directly, of whom 96 per cent are Mozambicans. Over the past 12 months these workers received 23 000 hours of training, some in Heineken operations in Portugal, South Africa, Nigeria and Ethiopia.