THE HAGUE, The Netherlands will determine within the coming fortnight whether to resume providing direct budget support to Mozambique, says Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders.

He told the media after a meeting with Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi here Wednesday, that he was optimistic that there would be a positive decision, thanks to the encouraging news he has been receiving from Mozambique.

Koenders had been encouraged both by the delivery of the audit report on the security-related companies Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company), Proindicus and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management), and by the truce declared by Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the rebel movement, Renamo. Since the truce took effect, on Dec 27, last year, there had been no further Renamo ambush on the roads, and no clash between Renamo and the government defence and security forces.

Ematum, Proindicus and MAM took out loans of more than two billion US dollars from European banks in 2013 and 2014 with guarantees illegally granted by the government of Nyusi’s predecessor, President Armando Guebuza. The Proindicus and MAM loans and guarantees were kept entirely secret, both from the Mozambican public and from the country’s international partners.

When the true scale of Mozambique’s foreign debt were exposed in media report in April 2016, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suspended its programme with Mozambique, and other western partners followed suit. All 14 donor countries, including the Netherlands, which had provided some of their aid in the form of direct budget support, suspended further disbursements.

He said the discussions with Nyusi included the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in view of their high job creation potential, as well as large scale projects such as the transformation of Mozambican natural gas into liquid (GTL) fuels, which will be undertaken by the Anglo-Dutch multinational, Shell.

We are working on many projects such as GTL, ports and maritime logistics, resilience to climate change, agriculture, and now we are also dealing with the resumption of support to health care in Mozambique,” he added.

Mozambican Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi said that while economic and financial aid has been suspended, there are countries such as Holland, which by indirect means, such as through NGOs, have been releasing some resources, which we regard as palliative measures. Normally, the relationship would flow between States without intermediaries of this nature, although we recognize the complementary role that these organizations play.

On Wednesday afternoon, Nyusi visited the Port of Rotterdam, where one of the largest ship repair companies in the world, Damen, operates.

Nyusi’s delegation was interested in seeking solutions to Mozambique’s maritime transport problems. After the visit, Transport Minister Carlos Mesquita told the media that Damen is interested in supplying vessels to Mozambique that can be used to transport goods and passengers along the coast.

We visited a vessel that has the technical specifications to be used in Mozambique and we shall see what models we can adopt in co-operation with Holland to empower Mozambique in maritime questions, Mesquita said.