05 June 2007

05 June 2007 Minutes

Introduction

The Private Sector Working Group conducted its June meeting on June 5, 2007, at 11 a.m., at the USAID office building. Jay Knott, USAID/Mozambique Director, presided over the meeting, in which 20 people participated (please refer to the attached presence list)

Agenda

1. Annual Private Sector Conference (CASP): dates, themes and funding
2. Scanning
3. Mapping of donors’ projects in the private sector
4. Terms of reference of the Working Group on Trade
5. Hiring of consultants

Minutes

Topic 1: Annual Private Sector Conference (CASP)

1. Paulo Fumane noted the following:

  • The CASP had been initially scheduled for the 11th-12th of July, but was postponed till September.
  • The main topic of the conference will be “The challenges to Mozambique of regional integration and economic partnership agreements".
  • It will be a two-day conference and the President of the Republic will be present in the morning of the first day.
  • High-level international officials will be present: former Malaysian Prime Minister, Director of the World Bank Doing Business and Georgia’s Reform Minister have been mentioned as possible participants.
  • The estimated cost of the conference is 313 thousand meticais, not including expenses with international experts. 650 people are expected to attend

Topic 2: Scanning:

1. Kekobad Patel, President of the Fiscal and Customs Reform Working Group, spoke about the current scanning issue in Mozambique:

  • CTA’s complaints about scanning practices were pretended to the Customs’ Superior Council (Conselho Superior Aduaneiro), and consisted of the following: (i) fees are extremely high, (ii) international good practices have not been observed in implementing and utilizing the scanners.
  • The Ministry of Finance is working with relevant parties to reach a consensus: the pre-conditions presented by the private sector were: (i) exports, goods in transit and empty containers must be discharged of all scanning fees, (ii) a risk assessment system must be implemented, (iii) a reasonable fee for imports must be established.
  • A temporary solution had been agreed upon and would be in place for 18 to 24 months and consisted of (i) port operators would discount US$0,10 from their taxes to cover scanning fees, (ii) a consultant would be hired to analyze the viability of the implementation of scanners, (iii) international standards would be observed.
  • The concessionary presented a counterproposal consisting of a reexamination of fees, as long as the Government extended the contract and eliminated the requirement to invest in unworkable ports.
  • No consensus was reached. The Ministry of Finance will make a final decision regarding the issue.
  • CTA’s position is to cancel the contract, conduct a viability assessment and, based on its findings, launch a new request for proposals.

2. A clarification session followed.

Topic 3: Mapping of Donor's Projects in the Private Sector

1. Nelson Guilaze, from USAID, noted that the World Bank suggested the mapping of each donor’s activities in the private sector, in preparation to the new program to support the private sector.

2. Some group members initially stated that information regarding donors’ projects in the private sector had already been gathered and was available at the ODA database (www.odamoz.co.mz).

3. Other members recognized the existence of the database, but noted that it is very generic in the majority of cases and does not contain specific information about activities currently being implemented. Therefore, it was recommended that such mapping be carried out.

4. The following organizations volunteered to take part in the working group: USAID, CTA, Italian Cooperation, Swiss Cooperation and GTZ.

Topic 4: TOR of the Working Group on Trade:

This topic was not discussed, but the Group’s President recommended that members that would like to comment on the subject send their comments directly to Ramon and Tim.

Topic 5: Hiring of Consultants:

1. Friedrich Kaufmann said that, based on the evaluation made by him, Tim and Ramon and, the proposal presented by Sal & Caldeira was selected. They are currently finalizing the contract.

Final Remarks

1. The next meeting is scheduled for July 3rd. [This will change to accommodate the World Bank private sector visit.]

2. Jay Knott, President of the Group, noted that this would be the last meeting presided over by him, given that he is leaving USAID/Mozambique. He thanked all members for their contributions to the group’s success. He praised the increase in the number of members and the constant participation of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and CTA.

3. Paulo Fumane, Vice-President of the Group, thanked Jay and praised him for his leadership and accomplishments, emphasizing the realization of the first PSWG meeting outside of Maputo.

Maputo, June 6, 2007.

Links

Draft Terms of Reference for Trade Sub-Group

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