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    30 September, 2010
Plan to acquire gas powered buses
Maputo, 30 Sept (AIM) - The Mozambican government hopes to have solved the problem of urban passenger transport in the main cities by the end of next year. According to the National Director of Land Transport in the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Pedro Moreruia, this will be achieved by importing many more buses, some on leasing schemes, and some owned outright by state transport companies.

Fifty new buses have already been leased from the country's largest bank, the Millennium-BIM (International Bank of Mozambique), and a further 50 are being acquired through this scheme.

Briefing reporters on these plans, Moreruia said that the government is in negotiations with suppliers from India and South Korea to provide 150 buses powered by natural gas. Initially, these buses can only be used in Maputo and the neighbouring city of Matola, since these are the only places in the country where the company Autogas has stations selling gas cylinders.

However, discussions are under way to expand the provision of natural gas for vehicles to other cities, starting with Xai-Xai capital of Gaza province.

Moreruia said that the sales contracts will include clauses obliging the suppliers to provide an adequate number of spare parts for their buses, and to train Mozambican mechanics.

Angelo Mavie, the director of economics and investment in the Ministry, said purchase of the bases would be financed out of a new Fund for the Development of Transport and Communications, set up by a government decree of 15 September. Sixty per cent of the revenue from selling transport permits will go into this fund, and five per cent of the fuel tax.

The key assets of the new fund will be properties transferred from all the companies and institutes supervised by the Transport Ministry - such as the ports and railway company (CFM), the airports company (ADM), the National Marine Institute (INAMAR), the National Meteorology Institute (INAM) and the Post Office.

Mavie said these companies have a large number of houses and other buildings that are not being used. On the companies' books, they are just liabilities - but transferred to the Fund, they can be used as guarantees when negotiating loans from the commercial banks.

The Fund will thus become an alternative to the state budget for acquiring buses and other essential transport equipment.
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