The dialogue between Mozambican private sector and the government which was formalised about two decades ago is about to enter a new phase with the signing of a memorandum of understanding to pursue priorities in improving the business environment in Mozambique identified by the two parties.
In total, 28 priorities have been set, of which 22 were proposed by the Confederation of Economic Associations of Mozambique (CTA), with the other six identified by the government.
The memorandum, signed on Monday between the Minister of Industry and Commerce Ernesto Max Tonela and the president of the CTA Rogério Manuel during the first meeting of the business environment monitoring council, states that all the recommendations identified should be implemented by July 31, 2016.
On the private sector side, the major concerns related to the presentation by the Government of a proposal to amend the law establishing the Tax Code on Value Added Tax (VAT); approval of stimulus policies for agricultural production and productivity and the elimination of the fees and internal circulation orders for domestic agricultural products.
In the construction sector, the private sector has requested a review of Decree No. 15/2010 on public procurement, as a way of promoting greater access to state contracts for national companies and SMEs in particular.
The CTA would like to see industrial policy and legislation about business communication reviewed, and the private sector raised the need for action aimed at restructuring coastal shipping (cabotage).
Meanwhile, the government recommends that the CTA contribute in combating tax evasion and tax avoidance, both to prevent unfair competition and increase state revenue.
In response to the frequent abandonment of construction contracts, the government has demanded that the private sector comply more strictly with state contract completion deadlines, and has proposed a platform for contractors to register to facilitate public procurement.
Other government proposals relate to the formalization of at least 100 operators currently in the informal sector.
The need to create an association of insolvency administrators is another priority identified by the government.
The president of CTA, Rogério Manuel, said he felt that the signing of the memorandum would inaugurate a new phase in the public-private dialogue and that the parties had found a new way to solve their problems.
Manuel said he believed that if the issues raised got adequate treatment, Mozambique would rise in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking.
In turn, the Minister of Industry and Trade said that the government had been working with CTA to find a dialogue mechanism from the beginning, and that it was in this context that the Prime Minister would coordinate the whole process.
"We adopted a five-year business environment improvement strategy in 2013, and one of its major components is contact with the private sector to hear its concerns about barriers that must be removed to facilitate corporate life," Tonela said.