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Five civil society organisations, members of the Civic Coalition on the Extractive Industry (CCIE), yesterday proposed to the government the formulation and implementation of a Special Plan to Combat Poverty among the communities of the administrative post of Namanhumbir, Montepuez District, Cabo Delgado Province.
The main objective of the plan would be improving the living conditions of communities in the region using revenues derived from the extraction of rubies, which demand high prices worldwide.
The CCIE is a platform for coordinating advocacy strategies and monitoring and exchanging information on extractive industry in Mozambique. It is composed of the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP), the Terra Viva Centre (CTV), the Christian Council of Mozambique (CCM), the Centre for Studies and Research of Communication (Sekelekani) and KUWUKA – JDA Development and Environmental Law.
Under the CCIE proposal, the plan could be made possible through a unified and careful management of two types of funds for the development of the communities in the region, namely funds corresponding to the 2.75 percent production taxes that the state charges Montepuez Ruby Mining (MRM), plus one percent of revenue from the MRM’s annual auctions, which MRM already dedicates to its corporate social responsibility programmes.
In the CCIE analysis, these two funds, managed in a coordinated and focused way, have the potential to improve living conditions in Namanhumbir better than their current application, which centres on the provision of public social infrastructure – already the responsibility of the state.
In fact, according to the government directive that establishes the obligation of the state to allocate the amount equivalent to 2.75 percent of the annual value collected in respect of taxes on production (royalties), the beneficiary community should have as options the construction of social infrastructure such as classrooms, water boreholes and health posts, among others.
“Under this model, the state relieves itself of its responsibilities, taking from the community with its left hand what it channels with the right,” Tomás Vieira Mario, CCIE member organisation Sekelekani’s executive director says.
The proposal was presented last Wednesday during a joint press conference to announce the results of a monitoring mission on the economic and social impacts of the extraction and sale of rubies in Namanhumbir, including the implementation of the Ntoro Community Resettlement Plan in the concession area assigned to MRM.
After years of profitable extraction and sale of rubies in Namannhumbir, communities in the locality still live in conditions of extreme poverty, in stark contrast with the revenues collected by MRM at auction, says Fatima Mimbire, representative of the Centre for Public Integrity, another member organisation.
The CCIE therefore proposes that both the general state guidelines on the application of the fund and the way in which it is managed be revised. Currently, management is assigned to the District Advisory Councils which, according to platform members, operate in a non-transparent way vis-à-vis beneficiary communities.