Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Wednesday promised "to continue to fight against corruption in all its forms", in the coming five years.
Speaking immediately after his investiture for his second term of office as President of the Republic, Nyusi told the crowd he would "demand integrity, ethics and professionalism from public officials to consolidate the culture of transparency and accountability".
There would be "no rest" in the fight against corruption, he promised, and there would be no "untouchables".
But fighting against corruption was not the same thing as settling scores. "In fighting corruption, we will distance ourselves from those who seek to replace institutional justice with a witch hunt", he said.
Nyusi did not mention any specific corruption cases. In particular, there was nothing in his speech about the enormous financial scandal inherited from the previous government, headed by President Armando Guebuza, and usually known as the case of Mozambique's "hidden debts" - a term referring to the loans of over two billion US dollars acquired by three fraudulent, security-related companies, Proindicus, Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company) and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management), on the basis of illicit loan guarantees issued by the government.
He promised "a fast, efficient and impartial system of administration of justice that inspires confidence in the equal enforcement of the law". This would include "innovative systems for conflict resolution, such as mediation and community courts".
Nyusi pledged "to uphold the separation and independence of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary".
"Promotion of the freedom of expression, of opinion and of association and respect for diversity and pluralism of ideas will remain our trademark", he added.
On economic issues, Nyusi repeated a pledge made during his election campaign that the government will allocate ten per cent of the annual state budget, in line with the policy of the African Union, to agriculture. "As we launch this new cycle, we declare a battle against poverty as a national emergency through investment in agriculture", he declared.
"We will stand for a competitive, diversified and sustainable agricultural sector that contributes to food security and to the reduction in chronic malnutrition rates", he said. "Modernised agriculture will create jobs and boost farmers' income".
The aim, he stressed, was to increase the resilience of Mozambican farmers, threatened by climate change. "At the end of the day, we want to take decisive steps towards what we call 'zero hunger'".
Nyusi also promised to "stimulate business initiatives aimed at reviving and modernizing agro-industrial activity, agro-chemical industries, textile and clothing industries, engineering and the building materials industry". This would create jobs and improve Mozambique's balance of trade.
Key to industrialization was electricity. In the coming five years, at least a further 600 megawatts will be added to the country's generating capacity, and the first 750 kilometres of the new transmission line from the Zambezi Valley southwards (referred to as the "backbone" of the Mozambican electricity grid) will be built, said Nyusi.
In Nyusi's first term of office, the capitals of the country's districts were electrified. He promised that, in the coming five years, electrification will reach the next rung down on the local government ladder, the administrative post.
This year, he added, the fee for new domestic connections to the grid will be abolished "to eliminate barriers in the ability of households to access electricity".
As for the huge reserves of natural gas in the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of the northern province of Cabo Delgado, Nyusi pledged the completion of the Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) project (which should begin production in 2022). At the same time construction will get under way of the first four onshore LNG factories.
As spinoffs from the natural gas, "my government will be committed to the implementation of petrochemical industry facilities to produce methanol and other fuel products, as well as fertilizer, in addition to the development of power stations which will be commissioned by the end of 2024".
Nyusi urged Mozambicans "to manage expectations with some degree of patience, because it will take time for revenues from hydrocarbons on the scale envisaged are collected and find their way into state coffers. Negative experiences from elsewhere recommend added prudence and transparency in the management of these resources so that they benefit all Mozambicans".
Also under consideration, said the President, is the establishment of a sovereign wealth fund "which, in addition to being a financial savings instrument for current and future generations, will help protect the economy from the impact of fluctuations in commodity prices".
The revenue base of this Fund, he continued, would come from the exploitation of mineral resources. But he insisted that the Fund must not become "a source of embezzlement and illicit enrichment. We will not move forward without ensuring the prevalence of principles of good governance, transparency, accountability and independence, founded on a modern legal framework, which allows the population to monitor and to feel that they own the resources".