Mozambique: Zambezia Government Threatens to Seize Buses

Maputo — Quelimane (Mozambique), 5 Sep (AIM) - The government of the central Mozambican province of Zambezia is threatening to take buses away from private companies who have failed to keep up with the schedule of payments for their vehicles.

The buses were acquired by the government's Transport and Communications Fund (FTC), and were then sold on to 11 private companies that won a public tender. A key condition of the tender was that the companies had to pay for the buses in monthly instalments.

Interviewed by AIM in the provincial capital, Quelimane, the Zambezia Provincial Director of Transport, Antonia Manharage, said that at least two of these 11 companies were now at risk of having their vehicles seized.

The contracts signed by the companies made it obligatory for them to pay at least 50,000 meticais (slightly more than 800 US dollars, at current exchange rates) to the government for a period no longer than five years.

One of the problem companies was in Alto Molocue district. It had not been paying the monthly instalments - but Manharage was now optimistic that, after the government had spoken to the owner, payments would be speeded up.

A warning latter has been sent to another transport operator, based in Mocuba district, after he had failed to respond to several personal approaches, requesting that he pay the accumulated debt.

The signs from the other nine operators, however, were encouraging, since they have been respecting the undertakings given when they signed the contracts. The main constraints concerned maintenance of the buses, said Manharage, since the company hired to provide maintenance services had been slow to respond when the operators needed repairs or spare parts.

To date there have been three public tenders, resulting in the allocation of the 11 buses. The operators who won the tenders have so far paid 2.11 million meticais (34,000 dollars) for the buses.

Another three buses will shortly be delivered to Zambezia operators.

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