THAT’S THE LAW

Mozambique 2016 | EXECUTIVE GUIDE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Eduardo Alberto Calú, Managing Partner of SAL & Caldeira Advogados, on upcoming changes to local legislation, the firm's competitive advantage, and working with foreign clients.

Eduardo Alberto Calú
BIOGRAPHY
Eduardo Alberto Calú is the partner responsible for the tax practice group at SAL & Caldeira Advogados. He advises national and international clients on matters ranging from tax compliance and structuring, to collective bargaining and labor discipline. He has been extensively involved in the reform of the tax framework for the oil and gas and mining sectors in Mozambique, representing industry interests. He is also a university lecturer in criminal law and criminal procedure.

What legal and regulatory changes are we likely to see in Mozambique in the medium term?

One of the important legal changes SAL & Caldeira Advogados expects is new legislation on local content, particularly in the extraction industry, with the inflow of oil and gas projects. The government is keen to create a framework under which Mozambicans are given an opportunity to participate in these projects. There is also the matter of social responsibility, which is becoming increasingly important. There may be some development of legislation in this area. Another important topic is competition and there is a new legal and institutional framework for that. The Competition Regulatory Authority is not yet operational, but we expect it to be in the near future. There is a draft bill for transfer pricing that has been under discussion with the private sector and other stakeholders for some time now. We expect that draft bill to be approved probably in 2016. In the land sector we have a draft bill for new regulations for the assignment of exploitation rights that will again probably be approved later in 2016. In addition, we have some draft special regulations under our labor laws that we expect to be approved in the near future. Mozambique's new insolvency law has also been approved; however, there are some regulations dealing with insolvency practitioners and their fees that still need to be passed. Finally, there is a draft bill for public participation in the legislative process. This is an important piece of law because it is crucial ensure that the private sector is consulted over new legislation, especially when it affects their business sector. This may also be approved in the near future.

What should foreign companies looking to invest in Mozambique be aware of before engaging in their start-up phase here?

Companies should first look for legal advice to better understand the general legal, regulatory, and institutional framework applicable to their business sector, especially in matters such as taxation, employment, and foreign exchange. They should also seek assistance in terms of a market review in order to understand the market, and seek assistance for designing their business plan. Once they have all that I believe they will be prepared to start the incorporation phase and the project will go more smoothly.

What would you say sets SAL & Caldeira Advogados apart from similar law firms in Mozambique?

SAL & Caldeira Advogados is a national, full-service law firm that combines local experience with international best practice to offer high-quality services to its clients both for domestic and international transactions. We are structured into eight specialized practice areas where we have motivated and very capable teams, namely corporate and commercial, banking and foreign exchange, labor, tax, litigation, immigration, natural resources, and administrative law. As a firm we work as a one-stop shop. We advise clients from the inception phase and continue assisting them throughout the life of their projects. We are also members of the DLA Piper Africa Group, which gives us access to comparative law and expert knowledge and training and international best practice in different practice areas. We also have offices in Tete and Pemba, which means we can serve our clients in the central and northern regions of the country.

How do you cater to foreign corporate clients?

We try to understand our clients' businesses and the issues and challenges they face. This way we can come up with tailored solutions to their problems. Apart from that, we have a combination of in-depth knowledge of the legal system, institutions, and policies of the country, and a well-trained and motivated team of lawyers with experience in areas relevant to our clients. When we have clients with multi-jurisdictional transactions or matters that touch on jurisdictions other than Mozambique, we can always work with DLA Piper Africa or its member firms in other countries to give our clients assistance from one firm, but using multi-jurisdictional resources.