Mozambique: Government Prioritizes Education, Health, Agriculture

Maputo — For the next five years, education, health and agriculture will, between them, account for 45 per cent of the Mozambican state budget, Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario promised on Thursday.

Introducing the government's five year programme for the period 2020-2024 in the country's parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, Rosario said that 20 per cent of the budget will be spent on education. Over the five years 48,000 new teachers will be hired for the National Education System, a 33 per cent increase on the 36,000 hired between 2015 and 2019.

3,355 classrooms will be built for primary education, benefitting about 334,000 children, while 2,000 classrooms will be built for secondary education, benefiting 220,000 pupils.

Health will account for 15 per cent of the budget, said Rosario. 265 specialist doctors will be recruited and trained, bringing the number up to 935 by the end of the five year period.

New general hospitals in the cities of Beira and Nampula will be concluded and equipped, as well as provincial hospitals in Lichinga (Niassa province) and Maxixe (Inhambane). 31 new district hospitals will be built, under President Filipe Nyusi's initiative "One district, one hospital".

At least 10 per cent of the budget will be allocated to agriculture. Rosario promised "continual expansion of irrigated areas and the sustainable use of water resources".

He expected the grain harvest to reach 3.5 million tonnes in the 2023/2024 agricultural year, compared with the 2.6 million tonnes achieved in the 2018/2019 year. Over the same period the production of pulses should rise from 850,000 to 1.4 million tonnes, and the production of root crops from 17 to 24 million tonnes.

Rosario was convinced that, with increased agricultural and fisheries production and productivity, the rate of chronic malnutrition among children under five years of age can be reduced from the current 43 per cent to 35 per cent in 2024.

The plans for energy include electrification of all the country's administrative posts - the level of government below that of district (the electrification of all district capitals was concluded in 2019).

Rosario said a new gas-fired power station will be built at Temane, in Inhambane province, and solar power stations at Metoro and Pemba in Cabo Delgado and Cuamba in Niassa. These and other measures will add 3.8 million people to the number of Mozambican consumers of electricity. The level of electricity coverage will rise from the current 34 per cent of the population to 64 per cent in 2024

During the five year period, the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) should begin. The first LNG to be exported should come from the floating platform installed above the Coral South gas field in Area Four of the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of Cabo Delgado. By then, LNG onshore facilities should be under construction in the Afungi Peninsula, in Palma district.

Rosario warned that the objectives of the Five Year Programme "will only be achieved with lasting peace, consolidation of democracy, good governance, national unity and cohesion and the strengthening of international cooperation".

But Mozambique s currently far from at peace - Rosario pointed to two foci of instability: the insurgency waged by islamist terrorists in Cabo Delgado, and attacks on the roads of central Mozambique, believed to be the work of the Renamo Military Junta, a breakaway from Renamo which regards Renamo leader Ossufo Momade as "a traitor".

The Prime Minister called on all political parties, and other forces in society, to collaborate with the defence and security forces against the terrorist groups. The government was "strengthening the capacity of the defence and security forces" and establishing the conditions for providing humanitarian aid to the victims of terrorist violence.

Rosario promised that the government will speed up the disarming and demobilisation of the Renamo militia, and the reintegration of its members into society. "Weapons cannot remain in the wrong hands", he declared. "We shall continue to work with our cooperation partners to mobilise more resources to guarantee the conclusion of the socio-economic reinsertion of Renamo's armed men".

The Assembly will vote on the Five Year Programme on Friday.

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