Mozambican non-governmental organisations (NGOs) today said it was “urgent” for parliament to approve the sovereign fund for channelling revenues from gas from the Rovuma basin, the first export of which began on 13 January.
“It becomes urgent the entry of the sovereign fund, it must be implemented in a fast way,” said Stiven Ferrão, advocacy manager of the Association of Support and Legal Assistance to Communities (AAAJC).
Ferrão was speaking to journalists during a seminar on transparency in the extractive industry, held in the city of Xai-Xai, capital of Gaza province, southern Mozambique.
Noting that the proposal to create the sovereign fund was already deposited in the Mozambican parliament, the activist noted that transferring natural gas revenues to a specific account would provide guarantees of greater transparency.
“That these revenues are used in a responsible and transparent way to generate wealth for the well-being of Mozambicans,” he stressed.
Stiven Ferrão noted that the sovereign wealth fund is designed to receive earnings from the exploitation of other natural resources and not just gas.
He criticised the fact that the sovereign fund proposal submitted by the Mozambican government to parliament guaranteed little representation from civil society, which in his view reduced the mechanism’s ability to supervise.
In his turn, Germano Brujane, a programme officer with Kuwuka – Youth, Development and Environmental Advocacy, regretted that the export of natural gas had started without the sovereign fund being in place.
“We had hoped that this process would start already with the sovereign fund in place, but nothing is lost and we believe that soon we will have the fund,” Brujane said.
He also criticised the “diminutive and limited” representation of civil society in the model proposed by the Government, considering that it reduces the capacity for an independent oversight of the instrument.
“We ask that, in fact, there be greater space for civil society, academics and other important actors to be able to give their voice,” he stressed.
Germano Brujane advocated the smooth management of natural resource revenues with a view to ensuring investments in infrastructure, with a multiplying potential in the economy, and reducing the budget deficit.
On 13, Mozambican President, Filipe Nyusi, announced the beginning of the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Rovuma basin, in the Coral Sul Project.
“Today, Mozambique enters the annals of world history as one of the exporting countries of liquefied natural gas, which in addition to representing an alternative source of supply, contributes largely to energy security in countries of greater consumption,” Filipe Nyusi said in a statement to the nation.
Of the three liquefied natural gas projects approved for the northern region of Mozambique, the Coral Sul platform, in open sea, far from the armed violence in Cabo Delgado, was the first to export reserves, which will be shipped on the “British Sponsor” cargo ship.