NYUSI URGES GREATER COMPETITIVENESS FROM HCB
Maputo, 28 Nov (AIM) – Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Sunday challenged the managers of Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB), the company that operates the Cahora Bassa dam in the western Mozambican province of Tete, to continue developing actions aimed at placing the company as a competitive supplier of energy in Mozambique and in the region.
The president was speaking in the dam town of Songo, above the Zambezi river, during the celebration gala marking the 15th anniversary of the Mozambican state taking control of HCB.
According to Nyusi, the fact that the company is running at a profit should not be a reason for distraction on the part of HCB’s managers, because other companies that work in the same sector, in the southern African region, are also investing. It was thus urgent “to work so that HCB continues to be more competitive.”
The president recommended that HCB should remain in the front line, contributing particularly to the acceleration of the government’s plan, which is to provide universal access to energy for Mozambicans by the end of 2030.
“We want an HCB that grows and positions itself strategically in a national and regional market that is increasingly competitive”, Nyusi said. “It should be one of the main actors for the consolidation of the country’s intention of becoming a regional energy ‘hub’ based on the potential of our energy matrix”.
He also recommended the HCB management not to become complacent and think that they have a monopoly and can thus easily sell electricity to all neighbouring countries.
For better management of HCB’s financial resources, the President demanded strict observance of the accounting rules, always going through independent audits, in order to avoid acts of corruption and other practices contrary to good management.
“The benefits of the Mozambican acquisition of HCB in favour of the economy are remarkable. This decision has served as a clear demonstration that it is possible to include Mozambicans in major financial and viable enterprises without looking at certain attributes, such as religion, race, and party affiliation”, said Nyusi.
With a view to increasing the range of shareholders, in 2017 HCB made available four percent of its shares, which allowed the entry of about 17,000 new shareholders into the company’s structure.
Regarding social responsibility actions, Nyusi recommended the adoption of rigorous criteria for the company to grant sponsorships
“People always think that HCB has a lot of money and everyone wants to ask for sponsorship. I don’t want to bankrupt this company,” he said.
“HCB may grant sponsorships, but without prejudicing the robust nature of the company”, he stressed.
The Mozambican state took a majority holding in HCB in November 2007, at a ceremony witnessed by the then Mozambican President, Armando Guebuza and the Portuguese Prime Minister, José Sócrates.
Up until then. Portugal had owned over 80 per cent of the company, and most of the management was Portuguese. Today, however, HCB is totally managed by Mozambicans.
The Chairperson of the HCB board, Boavida Muhambe, told the ceremony that the entire management, operation and maintenance of the dam and its power station “are guaranteed by a work force of over 700 Mozambicans, from all parts of the country. We are proud of this – it is Mozambicans who make Cahora Bassa work”.
Muhambe promised to continue to align HCB’s strategy with the country’s plans for socio-economic development.
“HCB will be able to adjust its strategic orientation so as to manage its challenges in an appropriate, responsible and sustainable way, and step up its role in the social and economic development of the country”, he said.
An HCB source told AIM that, over the past 15 years, the company has contributed about 50 billion meticais (around 781 million dollars at the current exchange rate) to the coffers of the Mozambican state.
Nyusi also urged HCB and the publicly owned electricity distribution company, EDM, to contribute towards implementing the Mphanda Nkuwa hydroelectric project, to be built on the Zambezi about 60 kilometres downstream from Cahora Bassa.
The Mphanda Nkuwa dam will take seven years to build and will be able to generate 1,500 megawatts of power.