Former Defense Minister Alberto Chipande has come to the defense of the 850 million US dollar loan that the Mozambican Tuna Company (EMATUM) contracted on the Eurobond market in mid-2013. In an interview on Monday with Radio Mozambique, Chipande, who enjoys great prestige as the man who fired the first shots in Mozambique's war for independence, claimed that the EMATUM debt is sustainable.
He believed that the creation of EMATUM was part of “the strategies for the economic liberation of Mozambique”, and that the loan also contributed to the defense of Mozambican territorial waters. The stated purpose of the loans was to purchase 24 fishing vessels and six patrol boats from a shipyard in the French port of Cherbourg.
Chipande stressed the need to defend Mozambique's maritime borders. “This all has to be defended”, he declared. “We Mozambicans have to seek all possible means to survive as a sovereign country”. Previously tuna fishing in Mozambican waters was undertaken almost exclusively by foreign vessels and the only benefit Mozambique derived was the payment of license fees. It is hoped that the EMATUM loan will be the basis for a thriving Mozambican tuna fishing and processing industry.