Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Saturday called on his new foreign minister, Veronica Macamo, to ensure that the country's embassies and consulates make greater efforts to attract investment, and to look after the lives of Mozambicans living in the diaspora.
"Our embassies must really be representatives of Mozambique and not prolonged holiday camps for staff and their families", he declared.
Nyusi was speaking after he swore Macamo and 16 other member of his new government into office at the Ponta Vermelha presidential palace in Maputo.
Nyusi stressed his commitment to "economic diplomacy", and warned that "we can only attract more foreign investments if we have good quality diplomats who are committed to the national cause".
Addressing the new Ministers of Defence and of the Interior. Jaime Neto and Amade Miquidade, Nyusi said their mission "is to seek tirelessly peace and tranquility for the Mozambican people".
They face two foci of armed violence - a brutal insurgency, inspired by Islamic fundamentalism, in parts of the northern province of Cabo Delgado, and ambushes on the main roads of the central provinces of Manica and Sofala, undertaken by the self-styled "Renamo Military Junta", a breakaway from the main opposition party. Renamo.
Neto and Miquidade should guarantee working conditions for all members of the defence and security forces, particular those in the lower ranks, Nyusi added. "I shall be vigilant about this in my capacity as commander-in-chief", he promised.
Turning to the new Labour Minister, Margarida Talapa, Nyusi called on her to pay greater attention to the lives of Mozambican workers, and particularly their contributions to the National Social Security Institute (INSS).
For many years dishonest employers have deducted social security contributions from their workers' wages, but then failed to pass the money on to the INSS. As a result, large numbers of workers are not eligible for social security benefits. "The contributions of the workers must be respected", Nyusi insisted, "so that they benefit from their own sweat, and in a transparent way".
The President told Max Tonela, who has been reappointed as Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, to ensure that all the legislation in this area is respected, and to fight against tax evasion by mining companies.
As for rural electrification, Nyusi said "we want the administrative posts (the rung of local government immediately below that of district) electrified in record time".
He also called for the involvement of private companies in electricity generation. "To electrify Mozambique, we should not rely solely on power from the Cahora Bassa dam", he said. "We have to nurture the private sector".
He wanted to see an end to the effective monopoly on electricity distribution currently held by the publicly owned company EDM. That monopoly should be "gradually replaced by more energy producers".
Nyusi told the new Minister of Justice, Helena Kida, that the justice system "must be modernized", and that Mozambicans expect government action to speed up the notoriously slow manner in which the administration of justice handles cases.