The Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Friday approved the government’s Economic and Social Plan for 2017, with all opposition deputies voting against.
The plan passed with 138 deputies of the ruling Frelimo Party voting in favour, against the opposing votes of 91 members of the rebel movement Renamo and of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM).
The plan sets a target of 5.5 per cent economic growth for 2017. This would be a significant increase on the 3.9 per cent growth expected for this year, but lower than the seven per cent initial target for 2016.
The government expects to bring inflation under control, and sets a target that the average 12 monthly inflation rate over the year should not exceed 15.5 per cent.
Exports are expected to grow by 7.7 per cent to reach about 3.5 billion US dollars. The government expects to cut the deficit on the current account from 42 to 34 per cent. The country’s net international reserves should remain at a level throughout the year capable of financing three months’ imports of goods and services.
In education, the government plans to attain a primary school attendance rate of 86.5 per cent, and to hire 8,300 new teachers for general and technical education. The ratio of pupils to teachers in primary education should drop from 62 to 60.
As for health care, the government plans to expand complete vaccination coverage to 90 per cent of children under one year of age, and to increase the proportion of births that take place in health units to 76 per cent.
The number of health units offering specialist care to women and children who are victims of domestic violence should rise by 89 to reach 310.
The government also plans to rehabilitate 300 kilometres of roads, and to build or rehabilitate 42 bridges. 100 new buses will be acquired for urban passenger transport, and 306 railway wagons will be rehabilitated.
The electrification of all district capitals is now reaching its end. Four capitals will be electrified in 2017 – Luabo, Dere and Mulavala in the central province of Zambezia, and Doa in the western province of Tete. 1,129 kilometres of electricity line will be built and strengthened, and there should be 100,000 new connections to the national electricity grid.
After the vote on the first reading of the resolution approving the plan, the Assembly moved to a second reading in which the resolution was passed and amended article by article. As happens every year, Renamo introduced a wrecking amendment, seeking to replace the words “the plan is approved” by “the plan is rejected”.
Procedurally, this was illegitimate since the plan had already been approved in general. But rather than waste time arguing with Renamo, a vote was taken on the amendment which went down to defeat by 138 votes to 90.