September 21, 2007

Donors confirm budget support for 2008

The 19 donors and funding agencies who provide direct support for the Mozambican state budget have confirmed that they would channel the equivalent of 435 million US dollars in budget support in 2008. This looks like a considerable increase on the 385.8 million dollars pledged for 2008 budget support in May. But in fact the apparent increase is almost entirely due simply to the depreciation of the US dollar. Most members of this group, known as the Programme Aid Partners (PAP), give their aid in Euros or other European currencies, which have been rising steadily against the dollar. This is good news for the government, which finds itself with more dollars than expected, at a time when some of the country's most problematic imports, notably refined fuels, are still denominated in dollars. Likewise, the amount of aid that the 19 PAP members have allocated to specific programmes and projects in 2008 has risen from 241 million dollars in May to 320.9 million dollars now. Some of this is new aid - but again, much is due to the fall in the value of the dollar.
The total figure for pledged aid from PAP members for 2008 (budget support and project aid) has thus risen from 629.9 million dollars in May to 755.9 million now. The donor providing the largest support to the state budget is Britain (79.7 million dollars), followed by the World Bank (70 million), the European Commission (66 million), and Sweden (50 million). The figures were announced at the end of the six monthly review of progress by the government and the PAP donors. The meeting also agreed a set of targets for 2008, and, in some areas, indicative targets for 2009 and 2010. Thus in education, they key target is for a pupil-teacher ratio in the first five grade of primary education of 69 in 2008, falling to 67 in 2009. The document calls for a net rate of school attendance by six year old girls of 74 per cent in 2008, rising to 80 per cent in 2009.
One repeated concern of the donors is the relatively low number of women who give birth in health units (which is one of the causes of the alarmingly high maternal mortality rate). So the health authorities have been given the target of ensuring that 53 per cent of all birth to take place in health units in 2008, and 56 per cent in 2009. As for the fight against HIV/AIDS, the number of people who should be receiving the life-prolonging anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment should reach 132.280 in 2008, and 165.000 in 2009. The number of children on paediatric ARV treatment should be 20.826 in 2008, and 30.000 in 2009. The target for treating HIV-positive pregnant women so that they do not pass the virus on to their unborn children remains very low. The target for 2008 is that 17 per cent of such women will receive prophylaxis, rising to 22 per cent in 2009.
The document calls for a major push on agricultural extension. It wants to see 222.300 peasant farmers assisted by the government's extension services in 2008, and a near doubling of this figure (to 411.000) in 2009. The document also calls for 3,400 hectares of irrigated land to be rehabilitated with public funds and put at the service of farmers in 2008, and a further 3.000 in 2009. As in previous reviews, the area of law and order is the most problematic. Here very few targets are set in figures - apart from the crime clear-up rate: the optimistic drafters of this document wanted the police to clear up 74 per cent of crimes in 2008 and 75 per cent in 2009. No numerical or percentage figure at all is set for the number of corruption cases denounced, investigated and brought to court. The document merely insists that such figures must be published. As for the total number of cases tried per year, and the number of cases investigated within the legal deadline for preventive detention, the writers did not hazard a guess and the spaces were left blank. (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, Maputo)

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