EU: NGO warns of “signs of corruption” in the economic management of the pandemic
The non-governmental organization Center for Democracy and Development defended yesterday that the return of budget support from the European Union (EU) to Mozambique “should not sacrifice the principles of good governance”.
The “need to resume direct support to the State Budget should not sacrifice principles of good economic governance”, reads in a note from the Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) distributed today to the media.
At issue is the signing, on Monday, of an agreement that provides for direct support to the State Budget of 100 million euros from the EU to Mozambique, a modality suspended since 2016 due to the so-called “hidden debts” and now resumed because of covid-19, but in different ways.
For the CDD, “although it is fundamental” to respond to the economic challenges facing the country, support occurs at a time when there are “signs of corruption in the management of the money allocated to respond to the covid-19 pandemic”.
“Without public tenders, the business of supplying goods and services, including public works contracts, was directly awarded to companies with connections to the ruling political elite,” said the non-governmental organization (NGO), adding that of the “direct awards made , especially in the health and public works sectors, the works in progress in schools do not justify the millions of meticais paid to hand-selected companies ”.
Speaking after signing the agreement in Maputo on Monday, the EU ambassador to Mozambique, António Sánchez-Benedito Gaspar, said that this is “specific budget support”, which is focused on the consequences of the socio-economic impacts of covid-19.
Asked to comment on whether the aid represents a return to the form of direct support to the State Budget (OE), interrupted in 2016, Gaspar emphasized that it has quite different characteristics from the aid that the EU traditionally channeled to the Mozambican OE.
“We in the EU continue to believe, first, in the measures and efforts being made by Mozambique [to promote transparency], and then budget support remains, for us, as partners, one of the most effective modalities in achieving sustainable development goals ”, he highlighted.
Mozambique has an accumulated total of 13,202 infections by the new coronavirus, 81% of which are considered recovered, and 95 deaths.
On March 23, the Mozambican government asked partners in Maputo for a total of US $ 700 million (€ 595 million) to cover the fiscal hole caused by the pandemic in the 2020 OE, as well as to finance the fight against the disease and support the poorest.
Of the requested amount, according to official data released in early October, at least US $ 458 million (about 389 million euros) had already been made available, of which about 70% was disbursed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
This article is available in: Português