April 28, 2005

Parliament approves its own plan and budget

The Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, has approved its own plan and budget for 2005 unchanged, rejecting attempts by the Renamo to slip in extra expenditure. The main Renamo amendment would have made it obligatory for the state to provide all 250 deputies with personal vehicles within a year. It went down to defeat by 157 votes to 83.
Assembly chairman Eduardo Mulembue tried to placate Renamo. He said he had found someone prepared to finance the acquisition of cars for deputies, and now a guarantor was being sought. Thus some form of hire purchase is envisaged: the benefactor puts the money up front, the deputies pay in installments, and in the background is a guarantor who will be obliged to speak up should any deputy default. According to Mulembue, deputies should inform the Assembly's Standing Commission whether they were interested in such a scheme and under what conditions.
The budget approved is 252.6 billion meticais (12.6 million US dollars). Most of this (161.3 billion meticais) is described as "personnel costs", of which the majority are the wages and various subsidies paid to the deputies themselves. Goods, services and current transfers amount to 75.4 billion meticais, and the Assembly's capital budget to a mere 15.9 billion.
The Assembly also allocated 1.7 billion meticais to its ad- hoc commission charged with revising the national flag and emblem. Setting up this body was a concession to Renamo - a pledge to revise the flag was part of the price for Renamo supporting the constitutional amendments passed in 2004. (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, Maputo)

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