Maputo — Municipal management in Mozambique must ensure intra-institutional cooperation, in which different bodies coordinate to ensure solutions to the outstanding problems and challenges still faced by citizens, President Filipe Nyusi said on Wednesday.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the 11th National Meeting of Municipalities, which brings together the mayors of the 53 existing municipal authorities, Nyusi said that, despite the achievements made over the last 20 years with a very significant contribution to decentralisation, there are still some lingering challenges.
"The objective of this meeting is to reflect on the challenges to municipal management and development, propose solutions which might lead to better performance, and ensure a gradual improvement in the quality of services offered to citizens," affirmed the president.
Local development, Nyusi said, must always focus on the development of qualitative service delivery to citizens, ensuring an inclusive, integrated and participatory approach. The meeting will pay special attention to the issue of management of public assets.
Despite the progress attained over the years, Nyusi said the urban centres are still highly poverty-stricken, especially for the elderly. The cities and towns are characterised by youth unemployment; disorganised occupation of land; and the proliferation of informal activity.
"I am not against the informal sector, but informal activity should be exercised in an orderly manner", he added.
Regarding the sustainability of municipal management, a topic that will receive special focus in presentations and panel discussions, Nyusi said "it is mandatory that debates in this meeting help us find alternative ways to expand the tax base and other financing mechanisms lawfully allowed, especially after the reduction in tax collection because of the Covid-19 pandemic."
Success in moving towards this goal will lead to a progressive reduction of the heavy dependency of the municipalities on financial transfers from the Ministry of State Administration.
Among the challenges that the mayors must face, Nyusi also pointed out the poor implementation of legislation, the weak continuity of institutional memory, and the need to strengthen the coexistence between bodies at different levels.