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South Africa: now making, assembling 50% of taxis


SouthAfrica.Info

19 March 2013

South Africa has made significant progress in localizing the manufacture and assembly of minibus taxis, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said on the weekend.

“Some 12 months ago, none of the taxis on our roads were assembled in South Africa. Today about 50 percent of all taxis that are purchased are made or assembled here in South Africa, and we’re moving towards the target of localizing two-thirds of assembly in the taxi industry by 2015.”

The government is leading a campaign to promote the local procurement of supplies across all industries in order to boost the economy’s capacity to create jobs.

Patel said the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) had been mandated to develop a national localization strategy to guide all spheres of government.

He said the labour-absorbing capacity of local manufacturing industries had to be boosted to stimulate job creation and economic growth, adding that a strong local manufacturing sector would have a positive impact on South Africa’s balance of payments.

“We are working in partnership with a major manufacturer, Toyota, who has expanded the factory in eThekwini, as well as a partnership with the IDC and a Chinese manufacturer called the Beijing Automotive Works that has started a factory in Gauteng.

These companies had already employed 220 people to assemble taxis locally, with the number set to increase significantly by 2015, Patel said.

In October 2011, the government, business, labour and community-based organisations signed a Local Procurement Accord committing the parties to work together to increase local procurement as part of South Africa’s plans to create five- million jobs over the next decade.

And in December, the government put the buying power of the state firmly behind local manufacturers, with new amendments to the the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act allowing the government to name sectors and products that require a minimum level of local content to qualify for state procurement.

Bus manufacturing was among the first batch of sectors designated for local procurement under the amended law, resulting in the local sourcing of 80 percent of all inputs and supplies in the manufacturing of bus bodies for the rapid public transport systems in Pretoria, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Other products designated in the first batch included power pylons, rolling stock, TV set-top boxes, clothing, canned vegetables, footwear and leather products.

In January, the Department of Trade and Industry announced a second batch of designated products, namely electrical valves, manual and pneumatic actuators, electrical and telecommunication cables, and components of solar water heaters.

Mozambique: former water officials arrested for corruption


WASH News Africa

November 6, 2012

Mozambique’s anti-corruption agency GCCC has arrested the former director and financial administrator of the central regional office of the government’s Water Supply Investments and Assets Fund (FIPAG).

José Duarte and Henriques Leonardo were expelled from FIPAG in mid-2011, but it apparently took over a year to compile the case against them.

Duarte is accused of creating a private water supply company, Recta, which competed with FIPAG to supply water to ships in Beira port. FIPAG is reported to have suffered a loss This is

The activities of Duarte and Leonardo are said to have caused FIPAG losses of 37 million meticais [US$ 1.23 million].

The IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre is supporting Cowater Consultores Lda. to develop an appropriate anti-corruption strategy and plan with the Direcção Nacional de Águas (DNA) in Mozambique [1].

In April 2012, the government decreed that FIPAG would outsource water distribution to the private sector and restrict its activities financing and managing water assets [2].

[1] Developing a water anti-corruption strategy in Mozambique, IRC, 29 Nov 2011

[2] Mozambique: government relaunches water supply privatisation, Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique / allAfrica.com, 04 Apr 2012

Huge gas discovery off Mozambique


 

News24.com

Johannesburg – Italian oil company Eni SpA has announced the discovery of more natural gas off the coast of Mozambique, expanding the yield of a major field off the southeast African nation.

Eni said on Wednesday that the field includes at least 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, increasing the total yield of the area to 70 trillion cubic feet.

The company said the drill site is 60km off the Capo Delgado coast. Eni has a 70% interest in the field, with Portuguese firm GalpEnergia, South Korea’s KOGAS and ENH each having a 10% stake.

Natural gas exploration has increased in recent years in Africa, long a source for crude oil. Recent discoveries in Mozambique have made it a major regional source of liquefied natural gas.

AP

 

Mozambique: World Bank admits blame for Beira railway


BY PAUL FAUVET,

July 27th, 2012

Maputo — The World Bank has admitted that it is largely to blame for the failure of the project to rehabilitate the Beira railway system.

The project dates back to 2003, and was intended to completely rehabilitate both the Sena line, running from Beira to the Moatize coal basin in Tete province, and the Machipanda line, from Beira to Zimbabwe.

This involved farming out management of the two lines to the Beira Railroad Company (CCFB), in which 51 per cent of the shares were held by the Indian consortium RICON (Rites and Icon International), and 49 per cent by the Mozambican port and rail company, CFM.

RICON was the dominant partner and was supposed to be in charge of the complete reconstruction of the Sena Line (which had ceased running in 1983, thanks to comprehensive sabotage by the apartheid-back Renamo rebels), and of bringing the Machipanda line up to scratch.

The World Bank was initially enthusiastic about the project, and backed it up with a loan of 104 million US dollars. The tender won by RICON was supervised by the World Bank and the award to RICON was approved by the bank. The concession contract between the government and Ricon/CCFB stated that the entire system should be rehabilitated by January 2009, and that RICON would not only manage CCFB, but would be the main contractor on rebuilding the Sena line and its bridges.

The Mozambican authorities, and CFM, soon began to sound the alarm. Ricon kept missing deadlines, and its work failed to observe technical standards. CFM and the Independent Engineer hired to assess progress both warned about these matters, but the World Bank was conspicuously silent – the Bank’s unit supervising the project took no notice of the warnings.

Ricon argued that it could not meet the January 2009 deadline for completing reconstruction of the Sena line because of the floods in the Zambezi valley in 2007 and 2008. So the government gave Ricon a further six months.

That deadline ran out, and the Sena line was still nowhere near complete. The government tried to switch the management of CCFB to CFM, but RICON used its majority on the CCFB board to block this.

When President Armando Guebuza made a state visit to India in 2010, he discussed the transfer of management power from RICON to CFM. The Indian government agreed, according to Transport Minister Paulo Zucula, but RICON still resisted. Finally, in December 2010 the Mozambican government decided to rescind the contract with RICON.

The World Bank has now issued an Implementation Completion and Results Report (ICR), dated 27 June, which is a damning indictment of the World Bank staff involved in the project. It describes the outcome of the project as “unsatisfactory”, the risk to development outcome as “substantial”, and the bank performance as “unsatisfactory”. The performance of the borrower (the Mozambican government) is described as “moderately unsatisfactory”.

The main project objectives were not remotely achieved. Thus the original goal was to have the Sena line able to carry one million tonnes of cargo a year by the end of 2009. In fact, the line was only opened to coal traffic on 8 August 2011, with freight running at 266,000 tonnes a year – just 27 per cent of the initial target 20 months late.

International traffic on the Machipanda line was supposed to rise from 480,000 tonnes a year in 2004 to 650,000 tonnes in 2009. In fact, if fell, by 2011, to 387,700 tonnes. “The potential for traffic on this line is good (and evidence by the increase in road traffic), but poor infrastructure prevents the railway from getting its share”, commented the ICR report.

All 317 kilometres of the Machipanda line were supposed to be rehabilitated. But in fact not a single kilometre was upgraded. “No rehabilitation and very little (if any) maintenance during the concession period”, remarked the report. “The Machipanda line has deteriorated further and is in fact in worse condition that at the start of the project”.

The overall reliability of the Beira rail system was supposed to improve substantially. The target was that the percentage of track under temporary restrictions should fall from 10 per cent in 2004 to two per cent in 2009. In fact, the figure rose to 16.6 per cent in 2011.

As the conflict between Ricon and the Mozambican authorities deepened, the World Bank’s Project Implementation Unit (PIU) ended up taking Ricon’s side, despite the clear evidence that it was in violation of its contractual obligations. The report admits that “The PIU eventually acted on behalf of the contractor. Despite all the documented delays, the contractor was never penalized”.

That was not the fault of the Mozambicans – the report adds that “all requests by CFM for the PIU to take action against the Contractor for poor execution of the works were ignored”.

One shocking example was that RICON was allowed to relax specifications for ballast to be used on the Sena line despite protests by both CFM and the Independent Engineer.

Furthermore, “the best skilled engineers were prematurely sent back home by the Concessionaire (CCFB), and subsequently replaced by incompetent staff, with the approval of the PIU. Despite repeated objections by the CFM and the Mozambican government, no action was taken to reverse these decisions”.

World Bank staff on the ground just covered up the problems. The report comes close to accusing them of lying to the Bank’s head office. It says “Remarkably, all of the Bank’s supervision reports during the critical stages (2005-2010) gave the project an overall rating of ‘satisfactory’ or ‘moderately satisfactory’. Despite the virulent correspondence between the parties to the contract and the persistent negative reports by the Independent Engineer, the project ratings were never revised and as a result corrective action was never taken”.

The report concludes that the Bank staff had no idea what they were doing – though it puts this in somewhat more diplomatic terms: “The Bank supervision team did not have the requisite engineering skills and competencies to make sense of the implications of the issues raised by the Independent Engineer”.

There were “significant discrepancies” between the Implementation Status Reports produced by the Bank staff and the reports from the Independent Engineer. Thus the Bank staff, in late 2007, were cheerfully forecasting that the Sena line’s first phase would open in early 2008, while at much the same time the Independent Engineer was warning that there was no chance to meet the completion deadlines.

Only when there was a change in the Bank’s supervision and management staff (in 2010) did the World Bank wake up to the seriousness of the situation. It was too late – the loan had already been disbursed.

There had been a chance to change course with the mid-term review in June 2008. By then the project had an alarming cost overrun of 50 million dollars, and construction work was around eight months behind schedule. But the Bank team excused the increase costs as “understandable”.

The ICR report notes “Rather than addressing the incompetence of the Concessionaire as a major bottleneck, the mid-term review pointed to the failure in negotiations over the coal tariff (which was a fairly recent development) and the threat of termination by he government as the main risk to Project progress. This was a missed opportunity to consider Project changes and re-direction”.

The overall message of the report is very clear – after a two year delay and cost overrun of over 50 million dollars, the key goals of the project were not met. The Sena line is not handling the expected level of traffic, and the condition of the Machipanda line is worse than before the project began.

The ICR report expresses a worry that the collapse of the CCFB concession “might trigger a negative perception of public-private partnerships in Mozambique that could reverberate to other sectors or even other countries in the region”.

The Bank is ideologically committed to public-private partnerships – but outsiders might note that the Beira Railway Project is just an extreme example of the recurrent theme in such partnerships that the public sector takes the risk while the private partner walks away with the profit.

Zambia: Inefficiency, expensive financing leads to high fuel cost


Times of Zambia

By Davies M.M Chanda,

October 31, 2011

THE Wynter Kabimba commission of inquiry on the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has heard that Zambia has the highest cost of fuel in the mainland Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional bloc because of procurement inefficiency and an expensive financing arrangement.

The Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM), in its written submission before the commission has proposed that Government should rationalise the tax regime for both crude and finished products by lowering them.

According to a written submission presented to the commission by the Zambia Association of Manufacturers vice-president Steve Mwansa, the price of diesel in 2008 for Botswana was US1.19, Malawi US$0.96, Mozambique US$1.05, Namibia US$1.04, South Africa 1.04, Swaziland US$0.99, Tanzania US$1.05 while the cost in Zambia was about US$1.48.

The submission made available to the Times yesterday state that Government should also issue permits to oil marketing companies to supply areas according to their geographical location such as Nacala development corridor supplying Eastern Province while addressing alternative routes such as Angola and Mozambique.

Mr Mwansa said with good practices as recommended by ZAM, the country’s cost of fuel could reduce and estimated 19 per cent for petrol while diesel price would drop by 17 per cent and that Kerosene would sale at 21 per cent less than the current price.

ZAM cited poor feedstock cargo formulation, lack of adequate national reserves, inefficient feedstock processing and underdeveloped infrastructure for the importation of the finished products. The association also stated that the taxation system was the highest within the mainland SADC member states and that Government levies, duties and other taxes were higher in Zambia compared to other countries. ZAM has since called for a more transparent procurement system for crude oil and comingled petroleum which should also reduce supply chain costs.

There was also a call for balancing the reduction in tax on fuel with the increased collections from other sectors such as mining. The tax in Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Tanzania ranges from 0.06 to 0.44 per cent while in Zambia, it stands at 0.55 per cent. The commission was constituted by President Michael Sata last month to establish what was causing the cost of fuel to remain higher than the rest of the region and establish bottlenecks in the procurement system.

Mr Mwansa said there was need to invest in preventive maintenance for the Tanzania-Zambia oil pipeline to reduce on the losses and that ERB percentage fees should be reduced. The commission is expected to hold its sittings today at the Mulungushi International Conference in Lusaka before moving to Ndola on the Copperbelt Province where sittings will take place at the council chambers.

Canadian mining firm picks up heavy contract in Mozambique


titanium(IV) oxide
Image via Wikipedia

Afrique Avenir April 20th, 2011 in BusinessNews

APA: Maputo (Mozambique) The Mozambican government has granted Rock Forage Titanium Ltd, a mining firm formed by Canadian and Mozambican investors, a tender to exploit heavy mineral sands in the southern district of Chibuto, local reports indicated in Thursday.

Initially, the rights to the Chibuto mineral sands were granted to the Australian company BHP-Billiton, but were withdrawn in 2009.

Reports suggested that the Chibuto concession area covers 10,840 hectares and studies to date indicate that the deposit contains 72 million tons of ilmenite (iron titanium oxide), and smaller amounts of rutile and zircon.

Ilmenite is used to produce titanium dioxide which is a key component of pigments in the paint, paper and plastics industries.

The tender was launched on 18 October 2010, and the deadline for bids was 18 March. Just two bids namely from Rock Forage Titanium, and MOD Chibuto Sands, a South African consortium were received and opened.

According to the reports, the Mineral Resources Ministry’s Assessment Commission found that the Rock Forage bid was much superior to the MOD submission, scoring 712.57 points against 400.36 points.

The government will now negotiate an agreement of principles with Rock Forage, followed by a mining contract.

One of the main problems in exploiting titanium ores in Chibuto is obtaining enough electricity for the mining and beneficiation.

A shortage of power in southern Africa has held up other major industrial projects, such as the third phase of the Mozal aluminium smelter on the outskirts of Maputo.

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