Frelimo Calls for Reduction of Dependence On Fuel Imports

(Image source: Britannica)

By Mozambique News Agency

Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party has recommended that the government reduce the country’s dependence on imported petrol and diesel and rely more on its reserves of natural gas.

Speaking on 28 May at the end of a meeting of the Frelimo Central Committee in the southern city of Matola, President Filipe Nyusi said it was now urgent to switch to massive use of natural gas. Vehicles should be converted to use gas rather than liquid fuels.

This is not the first time such an appeal has been made, but to date, only a small number of vehicles have been converted to run on gas and filling stations with compressed natural gas only exist in the Maputo area.

The President blamed the rising cost of living on increases in the price of fuel and other imported goods such as wheat and fertiliser which were a consequence of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

He praised the government for coordinating with private businesses on taking measures to mitigate the impact of international price rises on the lives of citizens. These measures included reductions in fuel taxes, profit margins, and storage and logistics costs. The government has also exempted kerosene and cooking gas from value added tax (VAT). He stated that “with these measures, our government is ensuring that fuel prices in our country are much lower than in other members of SADC (Southern African Development Community)”.

The President stressed that Mozambique has enormous reserves of natural gas offshore, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado and the southern province of Inhambane. For more than a decade, natural gas from the Pande and Temane fields in Inhambane has been exported to South Africa – but the use of this fuel domestically has been minimal.

One matter that the Central Committee seems not to have discussed is the possibility of a third term of office for President Nyusi. In public statements at the start of the meeting on 27 May, the Frelimo youth wing, the OJM (Mozambique Youth Organisation), called for a further five-year term for President Nyusi at the helm of the Party. No such call came from the Mozambique Women’s Organisation (OMM) or the Association of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle (ACLLN).

President Nyusi did not mention the question in either his opening or his closing speech and it did not feature in the press release issued at end of the meeting.

The Mozambican constitution does not allow the President of the Republic to hold three consecutive terms of office. The Constitution can be changed if two thirds of the parliamentary deputies vote for the amendment. Frelimo enjoys a two thirds majority in the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic.

As for President Nyusi remaining President of Frelimo, while someone else is elected head of state, this is possible, but commentators suggest that this is unlikely as the two posts have always been held by the same person in the past.

Source: Mozambique News Agency

Geoffrey Kerecha