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    7 September, 2010
Government committed to seeking solutions - President Guebuza
Maputo, 7 Sept (AIM) - President Armando Guebuza reaffirmed on 7 September that his government is committed to seeking solutions to the problems facing the majority of Mozambicans, notably those arising from increases in the prices of goods imported by Mozambique.

President Guebuza was speaking to reporters at the Monument to the Mozambican Heroes in Maputo, after laying a wreath to mark "Victory Day" - the 36th anniversary of the agreement on Mozambican independence, signed on 7 September 1974 in Lusaka between the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) and the Portuguese government.

The President declared that the government is deeply concerned with the rise in international commodity prices. "When I leave here I am going directly to a Cabinet meeting to receive the report from the working group set up by the government to study the measures to be taken that will allow us to react in a responsible fashion to the situation we find ourselves in", said President Guebuza.

This month bread rose in price by around 20 per cent following sharp increases in the price of imported wheat. The price of all foodstuffs imported from South Africa has risen considerably, due to the depreciation of the Mozambican currency, the metical, against the South African rand. In addition, electricity and water prices went up as from 1 September, after a price freeze on these services for around three years.

Riots against the rise in the price of living rocked Maputo and the neighbouring city of Matola on Wednesday and Thursday last week, and resulted in the deaths of 13 people.

Asked about likely measures that the government could adopt in the short, medium and long term, President Guebuza gave no details, but said all the proposals presented by the government's working group, which has consulted other economic and social sectors, would be considered at the Cabinet meeting.

As for the decision to increase electricity prices, despite the Mozambican state taking a majority holding in the Cahora Bassa dam, the main source of power in the country, President Guebuza said, "Cahora Bassa is ours, but Cahora Bassa also has costs, and must be able to cover them".

The main cost associated with Cahora Bassa is the need to build a new transmission line from the Zambezi Valley to Maputo, which will cost about $1.8 billion.

President Guebuza also stressed that since the Lusaka agreement opened the path to Mozambican independence, Mozambique has undergone considerable growth and development. Evidence for this was present in the shape of the young reporters crowding round the President in Heroes' Square, who would never have become journalists under colonial rule.

"Your very presence here, with your microphones and cameras, reflects a part, albeit a small one, of the fruits of 7th September", declared President Guebuza.

He added that the government is well aware of the scale of the problems facing Mozambican citizens, but was also aware that it is Mozambicans themselves and nobody else who will solve these problems.

"We have to solve our problems in a constructive way", he said, repeating appeals to all citizens to remain calm and serene.
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