Mozambique: Government Strengthens Control Over Aid Distribution

Maputo — The Mozambican government has strengthened security and control measures for the management and distribution of aid to the about 1.5 million people affected by cyclone Idai, which devastated central Mozambique in mid-March.

The government spokesperson, Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister Ana Comoana, announced on Tuesday that the authorities are monitoring via satellite all trucks involved in the movement and distribution of donated products.

"We should stress the satellite surveillance of the vehicles carrying aid to the people affected", Comoana told reporters, after the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet).

On Monday, the government had announced the creation of a commission, headed by Agriculture Minister Higino Marrule that will accompany the distribution of food aid intended for the victims of the cyclone and the subsequent flooding.

The commission is already in the central city of Beira, where the Emergency Operational Centre has been established, and will accompany the entire distribution procedure, headed by the country's relief agency, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC).

Comoana added that the recently-created Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction Office must present "in a very short period of time" a concrete programme for the reconstruction of the devastated areas.

The Office, she added, is expected to use internationally accepted assessment methodologies, and will then advise on the subsequent steps to be taken.

"Right now, there is no true programme", said Comoana, "but the existence of this programme necessarily involves designing an assessment plan".

The Office, she added, must start work within 90 days. It will be led by a director-general, assisted by two directors.

The government, she said, favours a small, flexible and technically competent team. It will answer directly to the Council of Ministers, but will be closely linked to the Ministry of Public Works. As for how much post-cyclone reconstruction will cost, Comoana said it is still not possible to put a figure on the damage.

The government is also offering customs and tax incentives for businesses to re-establish normal operations in the central provinces. Comoana said these businesses will be authorised to clear imports of food and building materials through customs early (i.e. before paying the customs duties and other taxes owing). The companies are also allowed to delay payment of corporation tax owing between May and December 2019.

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