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Mon, 01 Apr 2019
IMF STAFF COMPLETES 2019 ARTICLE IV CONSULTATION MISSION TO MOZAMBIQUE- UNA...

 

While it is still early to precisely assess the macroeconomic effects of Cyclone Idai and reconstruction costs, these will be very significant; Despite the likely adverse macroeconomic effects of Cyclone Idai in 2019, which are still being analysed, the outlook is for a recovery in economic activity over the medium-term; The mission also emphasises the importance of achieving significant debt relief and strengthening oversight of the entire public debt portfolio to bring public debt indicators to safer levels.

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff team led by Ricardo Velloso visited Maputo during March 13–27, 2019, to conduct the Article IV consultation mission. At the end of the visit, Mr. Velloso issued the following statement:

“The mission would like to express solidarity with the Mozambican people in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai that hit hard central Mozambique, causing significant loss of life and damage. Our condolences go to those affected by this unprecedented natural disaster and their families and friends.

“While it is still early to precisely assess the macroeconomic effects of Cyclone Idai and reconstruction costs, these will be very significant. The international community will have to continue playing a vital role in assisting Mozambique. In this context, the IMF will consider the authorities’ request for emergency financial assistance under the IMF Rapid Credit Facility (RCF).

“Real GDP growth decelerated to 3¼ percent in 2018, but it was broader based, with non-mining growth accelerating to 2¾ percent in 2018, from 2 percent in 2017. Inflation remains subdued, reflecting tight monetary policy, and exchange rate and food price stability. International reserves at the Bank of Mozambique are relatively comfortable, covering over six months of next year’s non-megaproject imports.

“Despite the likely adverse macroeconomic effects of Cyclone Idai in 2019, which are still being analyzed, the outlook is for a recovery in economic activity over the medium-term, with more significant expansion with the start of LNG production expected in 2023.

“The fiscal policy effort was significant in 2017-18. Subsidies on fuel and wheat prices were eliminated, an automatic fuel price adjustment mechanism was adopted, and electricity and public transportation tariffs were adjusted, bringing those prices close to cost recovery levels. Despite these efforts, the overall fiscal deficit in 2018 remained relatively high.

“Medium-term fiscal consolidation will be essential to ensure that public debt-to-GDP ratios remain on a clear downward path and, given that public debt is in distress, budget financing should rely to the maximum extent possible on grants and highly concessional loans.

“The mission also emphasizes the importance of achieving significant debt relief and strengthening oversight of the entire public debt portfolio to bring public debt indicators to safer levels.

“The mission welcomes the implementation of the strategy to clear the stock of domestic payments arrears to suppliers and advises the authorities to avoid new arrears by strengthening commitment controls. It also encourages the authorities to develop a strategy to clear the backlog of VAT refunds.

“The mission welcomes cabinet approval of the SOE Law regulations and recommends strengthening controls over SOE debt issuance. The new agency envisaged in the SOE [...]

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Tue, 26 Mar 2019
AROUND 1.85 MILLION PEOPLE AFFECTED BY CYCLONE IN MOZAMBIQUE – UN...

BEIRA – About 1.85 million people have now been affected by Cyclone Idai and its aftermath in Mozambique alone, UN humanitarian agency OCHA said on Tuesday, as aid workers raced to fathom the scale of the disaster and determine what help is most urgently needed.

“Some will be in critical, life-threatening situations. Some will sadly have lost their livelihoods, which whilst an appalling tragedy is not immediately life-threatening,” OCHA coordinator Sebastian Rhodes Stampa said.

Idai flattened homes and provoked widespread flooding when it made landfall near the Mozambique port city of Beira on 14 March. It then ripped through neighboring Zimbabwe and Malawi

At least 686 people have been killed by the storm and its aftermath across the three countries, a figure that could rise as relief workers prepare for what they say are inevitable outbreaks of diseases including malaria and cholera.

Mozambique remains the hardest hit by the humanitarian crisis with tens of thousands of homes destroyed and hundreds of thousands displaced across an area of some 3,000 square km – roughly the size of Luxembourg.

“We can determine the size, we can’t determine the circumstance. So we’re now going out on the ground, dropping people off from helicopters to determine what the critical needs are,” Stampa said

 

Source :https://ewn.co.za/2019/03/26/around-1-85-million-people-affected-by-cyclone-in-mozambique-un

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Thu, 08 Mar 2018
Listeria outbreak: SA neighbours ban meat exports

Four countries in southern Africa on Monday took steps against South African chilled meat imports made at a factory found to be the origin of the world’s worst-ever listeria outbreak.

Mozambique and Namibia announced they were immediately suspending imports of the products. Botswana said it was recalling the items “with immediate effect”, while Zambia called on South African retail chains in its country to pull the incriminated goods from local shelves.

Since January 2017, 948 people in South Africa have contracted listeriosis – a disease caused by bacteria from soil, water, vegetation and animal faeces which can contaminate fresh food, notably meat.

At least 180 have died, according to official figures.

Health officials say the source of the outbreak was an Enterprise Food plant, 300km northeast of the South African capital of Pretoria.

Queues formed outside Enterprise sites in South Africa as angry consumers and small retailers gathered to demand refunds on their purchases of ready-to-eat meat products that include polony -a local version of baloney sausage – sliced ham and Frankfurter-style sausages.

“I’ve eaten already some polony and Russian (sausage). I don’t know, maybe I can get some disease,” said taxi driver Bongani Mavuso as he queued outside Enterprise’s factory shop in Germiston, Johannesburg to seek a refund. “I’m just coming to collect my money.”

On Sunday, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi took the unprecedented step of advising South Africans to avoid eating all processed meat products sold as “ready to eat” after announcing Enterprise as the outbreak’s source.

The Department of Health ordered retailers to immediately recall affected products.

The chief executive of Tiger Brands, which owns Enterprise, denied that its products had been shown to be responsible for the deaths.

“There is no direct link with the deaths to our products,” Lawrence MacDougall told a news conference.

‘Devastating’ to be linked to outbreak 

MacDougall did acknowledge that the government had linked the ST6 strain of listeria bacteria detected in Enterprise facilities with the outbreak that has resulted in 180 deaths.

“We are being extra cautious and vigilant, we are recalling all products made from the two facilities affected,” he said, adding that the government had only ordered the company to withdraw three product lines.

“Any loss of life is tragic. It is devastating for me to have our products linked to this outbreak.”

Enterprise-branded products accounted for 28.2 percent of processed meat sales in South Africa in 2017. The local market was worth 6.02 billion rand ($500 million) last year alone.

Tiger Brands, one of South Africa’s food giants, made pre-tax profits of 4.27 billion rands ($360 million) in 2017.

South Africa’s two largest supermarket operators, Shoprite and Pick n Pay, have also pulled products made by Rainbow Chickens after Motsoaledi confirmed that listeria had been identified in samples taken from one of its facilities.

Additional precautionary measure

Motsoaledi said on Sunday that Enterprise and Rainbow Chicken’s registration to export their products outside of South Africa had been temporarily suspended. Namibia also said it was suspending imports from Rainbow Chickens.

As fears of listeria continued to rise in South Africa, several other smaller food retailers have also announced [...]

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