Mozambique reduce water, bread prices after riots

September 7, 2010 19:23

MAPUTO, Mozambique — Mozambique's government is reversing bread and water price increases that had touched off deadly riots, the planning minister said Tuesday.

Protests last week in the capital, Maputo, over hikes in the costs of bread, water and electricity turned violent, with demonstrators clashing with police. The health department put the death toll at 13.Planning Minister Aiuba Cuereneia told reporters after a Cabinet meeting that the 20 percent increase in the government-set price of bread — which had followed a year of steady increases on the staple in this impoverished country — that went into effect Monday would be reversed. A loaf will cost five meticais, or about 14 cents. The reverses are immediate, he said.

He said an increase in the price of water also would be reversed, but that higher electricity tariffs were being maintained.

The government also reduced the cost of a 25-kilogram (11-pound) bag of rice by 7.8 percent, to 700 meticais (about $19).

"These are measures we are taking to reduce the cost of living in Mozambique," the minister said. He referred to the protests only to condemn the violence.

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