Aug. 3, 2020


José Parayanken

Mozambique

José Parayanken

President, Mozambique Holdings Limited (MHL)

“We have introduced rubber production as a pilot project in Lugela, Zambezia, initially for 2,000ha, with 1,000ha already planted.”

BIO

Jose Parayanken studied Biochemistry at Delhi University before acquiring his MBA. He career began at Exim Bank of India where he was in charge of African operations from 1984 to 1989. He later founded Mozambique Holding Group of Companies in 1990, which currently has a capital base of $100 million.


President Filipe Nyusi has called on the private sector to join forces with the government to improve the investment environment in the country. As one of the largest private sector groups in Mozambique, how does MHL contribute to this goal?

When we talk about business environment and wealth creation in the Mozambican context, there are two dimensions to it. On one side, the creation of economic infrastructure, banking, insurance, roads, bridges, transport, energy and transmission, basic healthcare, and so on, which have little short-term return, have to be state sponsored, and be part of the development plan of the government. On the other, business ventures in agricultural, industrial, and services sector led by the private or entrepreneurial sector feature adequate returns to be economically viable in the short term. The creation of adequate infrastructure and business environment are essential to support corporate and entrepreneurial investment in market-based business activities. Within the constraints related to infrastructure, we have been successfully setting up and managing production facilities in agriculture, water resources development, pharma, healthcare, and others, employing over 1,600 Mozambicans and aligning ourselves with state development plans in priority sectors. Agriculture, energy, and industrialization are some of the pillars of the National Development Strategy 2015-2035 that aims to foster the transformation of the country into a middle-income nation. MHL is present in all of those, generating jobs and pushing the economy forward.

What recent investments has the company committed to these sectors?

We have introduced rubber production as a pilot project in Lugela, Zambezia, initially for 2,000ha, with 1,000ha already planted. We have 14 drilling teams engaged in water resources development in Sofala, Manica, Zambezia, Nampula, and Cabo Delgado, initially in potable water in rural and semi urban areas and subsequently in irrigation. We have set up the largest generic pharma production facility in Africa with compliance approvals from WHO and Mozambique Regulatory Authority and have been in production for the last two years. We have created hydropower production at Pequenos Libombos dam. We have great potential for growth in our current areas of operations and where we have developed skills. Hence, our short- and medium-term focus is to complete the rubber cultivation as per plan and commence production and add on a second crop like cashew that does not require as much intensive monitoring; use our experience and expertise in water drilling to create irrigation facilities for small and medium-scale farms; and expand manufacturing of generic pharma products by setting up IV fluid and injectable factories to comprehensively address the national pharma requirement at international-quality standards and at prices accessible to most Mozambicans.

What are the expected impacts of the upcoming investments in oil and gas in the coming years? How will MHL capitalize on these investments?

Other than job creation and ancillary entrepreneurial opportunities, which are localized, the greater impact of oil and gas is in the income accruals to the government exchequer, which will enable the government to implement the infrastructure development plan. This will have a multiplier effect by fast tracking corporate and entrepreneurial investments in wealth creation, making it easier for MHL to progress with its rural and semi-urban agenda by increasing people's purchasing power and market expansion for local products.

You shared a big portion of your career with Mozambicans. How would you define your relationship with the country and its people?

We have been in Mozambique for 30 years, and this country has sustained and nourished us through this long haul. This assistance was essential in the initial difficult phases. Now, in gratitude, we reciprocate. Mozambique's ethos and cultural psyche evolved around its ethnic and cultural diversity. This welcomed Arab, Portuguese, Indian, and African settlers and transformed the country in a peaceful and positive way. We have evolved our own Mozambican persona in harmony with this ethnic and cultural diversity.

What are your hopes for the future?

President Nyusi has created new hope and positive energy among the people; the nation stands united across ethnic, cultural, and tribal divides and is in the process, as per his investiture address, of creating a government with fundamental attitudinal changes and technical skills to fast track the development effort. I hope he can create a sustainable business environment in the short and medium term so that Mozambicans become skilled, competent, productive people and learn to exploit their own vast natural resources and take a significant place in the history of humans.

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