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Private-Sector Participation in Analyzing Drought-Affected Areas in Mozambique
Private-Sector Participation in Analyzing Drought-Affected Areas in Mozambique

Private sector participates in relief efforts

Since the Agency for International Development (AID) began funding refugee support activities in Mozambique in 1984, the primary modes for distribution of relief goods have been the government's Logistical Support Unit's (LSU) fleet of over 400 trucks, along with government-controlled air and boat services. With the end of the civil conflict, the government and a number of international donors, including the AID, sought to expand the private sector's involvement in the distribution of needed relief goods. A number of studies of the Mozambican transport sector had targeted the need to improve and upgrade LSU services. The studies also identified a number of constraints to private sector participation in the transportation sector, including the high risks associated with unsafe roadways, a lack of adequate fuel and service facilities and a shortage of credit.

The Berger Group was selected to examine in detail the operations of the public sector trucking fleet involved in distribution of relief supplies, as well as essential agricultural inputs to drought-affected areas of Mozambique, and to analyze the opportunities for increased private participation. The study included analysis of fleet management, scheduling and operations, vehicle utilization and operating costs, driver training and safety; an evaluation of assets, accounting and costing procedures; and a review of government regulations affecting private sector transporters. Although previous studies had identified a number of constraints to privatization of the transport sector, the Berger Team's interviews, conducted in four provinces, indicated that these factors could be overcome by a carefully planned and implemented phased privatization program. Even with lack of security in some rural areas, most private transporters were willing to assume the risks, and since most private truckers provided their own maintenance, the need for support services was minimized. Similarly, in the case of credit, almost all of the existing truckers had loans, access to loans or sufficient savings to purchase a new or used truck. Therefore, many of the barriers to privatization of transportation service proved surmountable.

Based on the analysis, recommendations were submitted to the government for selling off portions of the government trucking fleet, as well as for contracting a number of the transportation routes and vehicle maintenance to the private sector.


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