Maputo — The Mozambican government does not know how much the new system of provincial administration will cost, according to a report in Tuesday's issue of the independent daily "O Pais".
At the ceremony where, in representation of President Filipe Nyusi, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Adriano Maleiane, introduced to the public the Secretary of State for Maputo City, Sheila Santana Afonso, he admitted to reporters that the government is still working out details of the budget for the decentralised provincial governments.
The new scheme, agreed between the government and the main opposition party Renamo, and then rubber stamped by the country's parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, envisages both directly elected provincial governors, and appointed Secretaries of State.
The Secretaries of State represent the President of the Republic and the central government in the provinces and are responsible for matters of state sovereignty such as defence and security, public order, and natural resources.
Both the provincial governor and the Secretary of State have offices, staff and vehicles. This two-headed model of provincial administration is obviously much more expensive than the old model, in which the President appointed the provincial governors and there were no Secretaries of State.
When the Assembly passed the decentralisation legislation in May 2019, Maleiane gave a written opinion that the additional costs for the State Budget would be 52.48 million meticais (about 826,000 US dollars, at current exchange rates).
This only covered the salaries for 10 Secretaries of State and protocol vehicles for them. At the time, no Secretary of State for Maputo City was envisaged - the Assembly later overturned this.
No funds were envisaged for additional staff in the province - implying that the existing staff would be divided between the provincial governors and the Secretaries of State.
"We are working on the budget", Maleiane told "O Pais", but could give no details. He claimed the resources exist to cover the new decentralised model, and was optimistic that it would advance without any upheavals.
"I recommend that you wait for the moment when we announce the Government's Five Year Programme, which we are working on", he said. "Then we will have more time to discuss it".