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Angola

3. Legal Regime

Transparency of the Regulatory System

Angola’s regulatory system is complex, vague, and inconsistently enforced.  In many sectors, no effective regulatory system exists due to a lack of political will, and institutional and human capacity.  The banking system is slowly adhering to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Public sector companies (SOEs) are still far from practicing IFRS.  The public does not participate in draft bills or regulations formulation, nor does a public online location exist where the public can access this information for comment or hold government representatives accountable for their actions.  The Angolan Communications Institute (INACOM) sets prices for telecommunications services and is the regulatory authority for the telecommunications sector. Revised energy-sector licensing regulations have permitted some purchase power agreements (PPA) participation.

Overall, Angola’s national regulatory system does not correlate to other international regulatory systems.  However, Angola is a member of the WB, ADB AfDB, OPEC (January 2007), the United Nations (UN) and most of its specialized agencies – International Conference on Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), UNCTAD, theIMF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the WTO, and has a partnership agreement with the EU.  At the regional level, the GRA is part of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), and theSADC, among other organizations. Angola has yet to join the SADC Free Trade Zone of Africa as a full member. On March 21, 2018 together with 44 African countries, Angola joined the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), an agreement aimed at paving the way for a liberalized market for goods and services across Africa. Angola is also a member of the Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA), which seeks to maintain relations with other port authorities or associations, regional and international organizations and governments of the region to hold discussions on matters of common interest.

Angola became a member of the WTO on November 23,1996.  However, it is not party to the Plurilateral Agreements on Government Procurement, the Trade in Civil Aircraft Agreement and has not yet notified the WTO of its state-trading enterprises within the meaning of Article XVII of the GATT.  A government procurement management framework introduced in late 2010 stipulates a preference for goods produced in Angola and/or services provided by Angolan or Angola-based suppliers. TBT regimes are not coordinated. There have been no investment policy reviews for Angola from either the OECD or UNCTAD in the last four years.  Angola conducts several bilateral negotiations with Portuguese Speaking countries (PALOPS), Cuba and Russia and extends trade preferences to China due to credit facilitation terms, while attempting to encourage and protect local content.

Regulation reviews are based on scientific or data driven assessments or baseline surveys. Evaluation is based on data.  However, evaluation if not made available for public comment.

The National Assembly is Angola’s main legislative body with the power to approve laws on all matters (except those reserved by the constitution to the government) by simple majority (except if otherwise provided in the constitution).  Each legislature comprises four legislative sessions of twelve months starting on October 15 annually. National Assembly members, parliamentary groups, and the government hold the power to put forward all draft-legislation. However, no single entity can present draft laws that involve an increase in the expenditure or decrease in the State revenue established in the annual budget.

The president promulgates laws approved by the assembly and signs government decrees for enforcement. The state reserves the right to have the final say in all regulatory matters and relies on sectorial regulatory bodies for supervision of institutional regulatory matters concerning investment.  The Economic Commission of the Council of Ministers oversees investment regulations that affect the country’s economy including the ministries in charge. Other major regulatory bodies responsible for getting deals through include:

  • The Ministry of Petroleum:  The government regulatory and oversight body responsible for regulating oil exploration and production activities.  The national concessionaire is Sonangol EP, which is the holder of the concession rights and has the authority to conduct, execute, and ensure oil operations in Angola.
  • The Regulatory Institute of Electricity and Water Services (IRSEA):  The regulatory authority for renewable energies and enforcing powers of the electricity regulatory authority.
  • The Angolan Communications Institute (INACOM):  The institute sets prices for telecommunications services and is the regulatory authority for the telecommunications sector.  Revised energy-sector licensing regulations have improved legal protection for investors to attract more private investment in electrical infrastructure, such as dams and hydro distribution stations.

Angola acceded to the New York Arbitration Convention on August 24, 2016 paving the way for the first time for effective recognition and enforcement in Angola of awards rendered outside of Angola and subject to reciprocity.  Angola participates in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), which includes a peer review mechanism on good governance and transparency. Enforcement and protection of investors is under development in terms of regulatory, supervisory, and sanctioning powers.  Investor protector mechanisms are weak or almost non-existent.

There are no informal regulatory processes managed by nongovernmental organizations or private sector associations, and the government does not allow the public to engage in the formulation of legislation or to comment on draft bills.  Procurement laws and regulations are unclear, little publicized, and not consistently enforced. Oversight mechanisms are weak, and no audits are required or performed to ensure internal controls are in place or administrative procedures are followed.  Inefficient bureaucracy and possible corruption frequently lead to payment delays for goods delivered, resulting in an increase in the price the government must pay.

No regulatory reform enforcement mechanisms have been implemented since the last ICS report, in particular those relevant to foreign investors.

The Diário da República (the Federal Register equivalent), is a legal document where key regulatory actions are officially published.

International Regulatory Considerations

Angola’s overall national regulatory system does not correlate to other international regulatory systems and is overseen by its constitution.  Angola is not a full member of the International Standards Organization (ISO), but has been a corresponding member since 2002. The Angolan Institute for Standardization and Quality (IANORQ) within the Ministry of Industry coordinates the country’s establishment and implementation of standards.  Angola is an affiliate country of the International Electro-technical Commission that publishes consensus-based International Standards and manages conformity assessment systems for electric and electronic products, systems and services.

A government procurement management framework introduced in late 2010 stipulates a preference for goods produced in Angola and/or services provided by Angolan or Angola-based suppliers.  TBT regimes are not coordinated.

Angola acceded to the Kyoto Convention on February 23, 2017.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

Angola’s formal legal system is primarily based on the Portuguese legal system and can be considered civil law based, with legislation as the primary source of law.  Courts base their judgments on legislation and there is no binding precedent as understood in common law systems. The constitution proclaims the constitution as the supreme law of Angola (article 6(1) and all laws and conduct are valid only if they conform to the constitution (article 6(3).

The Angolan justice system is slow, arduous, and often partial.  Legal fees are high, and most businesses avoid taking commercial disputes to court in the country.  The World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 survey ranks Angola 186 out of 190 countries on contract enforcement, and estimates that commercial contract enforcement, measured by time elapsed between filing a complaint and receiving restitution, takes an average of 1,296 days, at an average cost of 44.4 percent of the claim.

Angola has commercial legislation that governs all commercial activities but no specialized court.  In 2008, the Angolan attorney general ruled that Angola’s specialized tax courts were unconstitutional.  The ruling effectively left businesses with no legal recourse to dispute taxes levied by the Ministry of Finance, as the general courts consistently rule that they have no authority to hear tax dispute cases, and refer all cases back to the Ministry of Finance for resolution.  Angola’s Law 22/14, of December 5, 2014, which approved the Tax Procedure Code (TPC), sets forth in its Article 5 that the courts with tax and customs jurisdiction are the Tax and Customs Sections of the Provincial Courts and the Civil, Administrative, Tax and Customs Chamber of the Supreme Court.  Article 5.3 of the law specifically states that tax cases pending with other courts must be sent to the Tax and Customs Section of the relevant court, except if the discovery phase (i.e., the production of proof) has already begun.

The judicial system is administered by the Ministry of Justice at trial level for provincial and municipal courts and the supreme court nominates provincial court judges.  In 1991, the constitution was amended to guarantee judicial independence. However, as per the 2010 constitution, the president appoints supreme court judges for life upon recommendation of an association of magistrates and appoints the attorney general.  Confirmation by the General Assembly is not required. The system lacks resources and independence to play an effective role and the legal framework is obsolete, with much of the criminal and commercial code reflecting colonial era codes with some Marxist era modifications.  Courts remain wholly dependent on political power.

There is a general right of appeal to the court of first instance against decisions from the primary courts.  To enforce judgments/orders, a party must commence further proceedings called executive proceedings with the civil court.  The main methods of enforcing judgments are:

  • Execution orders (to pay a sum of money by selling the debtor’s assets);
  • Delivery up of assets; and,
  • Provision of information on the whereabouts of assets.

The Civil Procedure Code also provides ordinary and extraordinary appeals.  Ordinary appeals consist of first appeals, review appeals, interlocutory appeals, and full court appeals, while extraordinary appeals consist of further appeals and third-party interventions.  Generally, an appeal does not operate as a stay of the decision of the lower court unless expressly provided for as much in the Civil Procedure Code.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

AIPEX — former APIEX — is the investment and export promotion center tasked with promoting Angola’s export potential, legal framework, environment, and investment opportunities in the country and abroad.  Housed within the Ministry of Commerce, AIPEX will also be responsible for ensuring the application of the 2018 NPIL on Foreign Direct investments, entered into force on June 26, 2018.

Competition and Anti-Trust Laws

On May 17, 2018 Angola’s National Assembly approved the nation’s first anti-trust law.  The law set up the creation of the Competition Regulatory Authority, which prevents and cracks down on actions of economic agents that fail to comply with the rules and principles of competition.  The Competition Regulatory Authority of Angola (Autoridade Reguladora da Concorrência – ARC) was created by Presidential Decree no. 313/18, of December, 21,2018,  and it succeeds the now defunct Instituto da Concorrência e Preços. It has administrative, financial, patrimonial and regulatory autonomy, and is endowed with broad supervisory and sanctioning powers, including the power to summon and question persons, request documents, carry out searches and seizures, and seal business premises.

The ARC is responsible, in particular, for the enforcement of the new Competition Act of Angola, approved by Law no. 5/18, of May 10, 2018 and subsequently implemented by Presidential Decree no. 240/18, of October 12. The Act has a wide scope of application, pertaining to both private and state-owned undertakings, and covers all economic activities with a nexus to Angola. The Competition Act prohibits agreements and anti-competitive practices, both between competitors (“horizontal” practices, the most serious example of which are cartels), as well as between companies and its suppliers or customers, within the context of “vertical” relations.

Equally prohibited is abusive conduct practiced by companies in a dominant position, such as the refusal to provide access to essential infrastructures, the unjustified rupture of commercial relations and the practice of predatory prices, as well as the abusive exploitation, by one or more companies, of economically-dependent suppliers or clients.

Prohibited practices are punishable by heavy fines that range from one-ten percent of the annual turnover of the companies involved. Offending companies that collaborate with the ARC, by revealing conduct until then unknown or producing evidence on a voluntary basis, may benefit from significant fine reductions, under a leniency program yet to be developed and implemented by the ARC.

Considering the ample powers and potentially heavy sanctions at the disposal of the ARC, companies present in (or planning to enter) Angola are well advised to consider carefully the impact of the new law on their activities, in order to mitigate any risk that its market conduct may be found contrary to the Competition Act.

Expropriation and Compensation

Under the Land Tenure Act of November 9, 2004 and the General Regulation on the Concession of Land (Decree no 58/07 of July 13, 2007), all land belongs to the state and the state reserves the right to expropriate land from any settlers. The state is only allowed to transfer ownership of urban real estate to Angolan nationals, and may not grant ownership over rural land to any private entity (regardless of nationality), corporate entities or foreign entities. The state may allow for land usage through a 60-year lease to either Angolan or foreign persons (individuals or corporate), after which the state reserves legal right to take over ownership.

Expropriation without compensation remains a common practice.  Land tenure became a more significant issue following independence from Portugal when over 50 percent of the population moved to urban centers during the civil war.  The state offered some areas for development within a specific timeframe. After this timeframe, areas that remained underdeveloped reverted to the state with no compensation to any claimants.  In most cases, claimants allege unfair treatment and little or no compensation.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Angola is not a member state to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID Convention), but has ratified the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.  Its ratification was endorsed domestically via resolution No. 38/2016, published in the Official Gazette of Angola on August 12, 2016.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

The Angolan Arbitration Law (Law 16/2003 of July 25) (Voluntary Arbitration Law — VAL) provides for domestic and international arbitration.  Substantially inspired by Portuguese 1986 arbitration law, it cannot be said to strictly follow the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration.  In contrast the VAL contains no provisions on definitions, rules on interpretation, adopts the disposable rights criterion in regards to arbitration, does not address preliminary decisions, nor distinguish between different types of awards, and permits appeal on the merits in domestic arbitrations, unless the parties have otherwise agreed.

Angola is also a member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which can provide dispute settlement assistance as part of its political risk insurance products and eligibility for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth Opportunity Act.  The United States and Angola have signed a TIFA, which seeks to promote greater trade and investment between the two nations.

The U.S. Embassy is aware of two ongoing formal investment disputes involving American companies.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

Although not widely implemented, the Government of Angola and public sector companies recognize the use of arbitration to settle disputes with foreign arbitration awards issued in foreign courts.  In 2016, Angola took a major step in international arbitration by signing the New York Convention on recognition of foreign arbitration Wards. On March 6, 2017 the Government of Angola deposited its instrument of accession to the Convention with the UN Secretary General. The Convention entered into force on June 4, 2017.

Bankruptcy Regulations

Angola is ranks 168 out of 190 on the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 report on resolving insolvency. Banks are bound to comply with prudential rules aimed at ensuring that they maintain a minimum amount of funds not less than the minimal stock capital at all times to ensure adequate levels of liquidity and solvability. Insolvency is regulated by the Law on Financial Institutions No. 12/2015 of June 17, 2015. Based on this law, the BNA increased the social capital requirement for banks operating in the country by 200 percent (BNA notice 2/2015) to guard against possible damages to clients and the financial system. All monetary deposits up to 12.5 million Kwanzas (USD  40,000 equivalent) are also to be deposited into the BNA’s Deposit Guarantee Funds account (Presidential Decree 195/18 of 2018) so that clients (both local and foreign) are guaranteed a refund in case of bankruptcy by their respective bank. Article 69 of the law expressly states that it is the responsibility of the president of the Republic to create the fund, but it is silent on the rules governing its operation or the amounts guaranteed by the fund.

In early 2019, the BNA revoked the operating licenses of two private banks, Banco Mais and Banco Postal, due to their inability to recapitalize to meet new mandatory operating capital requirements set by the BNA in 2018. A third bank, Banco Angolano e Comércio de Negócios (BANC), was also put under administration due to its poor governance and a failure to also raise the mandatory operating capital to meet new minimum requirements. In 2015, following the 2014 collapse of Banco Espirito Santo Angola (BESA), the subsidiary of Portugal’s Banco Espírito Santo, the State intervened and restructured BESA which now operates as Banco Economico. While Angola’s arbitration law (Arbitration Law No. 16/03) for insolvency adopted in 2013 introduced the concept of domestic and international arbitration, the practice of arbitration law is still not widely implemented.

The law criminalizes bankruptcy under the following classification: condemnation in Angola or abroad for crimes of fraudulent bankruptcy, i.e. involvement of shareholders or managers in fraudulent activities that result in the bankruptcy, negligence bankruptcy, forgery, robbery, or involvement in other crimes of an economic nature.

The Ministry of Finance, the BNA and the Capital Markets Commission (CMC) oversee credit monitoring and regulation.

4. Industrial Policies

Investment Incentives

The NPIL seeks to award incentives to attract and retain investment.  Investment incentives in the PIL include:

Eliminates the minimum investment value and the value required to qualify for incentives in foreign and local investments, previously set at USD 1,000,000 and USD 500,000 respectively.  There is no more limit to invest and qualify for incentives;

Eliminates the obligation for foreign investors to establish a partnership with an Angolan entity with at least a 35 percent stake in the capital structure of investments in the electricity and water, tourism, transport and logistics, construction, media, telecommunications and IT sectors.  Under the new law, investors will decide on their capital structure and origin.

Grants foreign investors “the right and guarantee to transfer abroad” dividends or distributed profits, the proceeds of the liquidation of its investments, capital gains, the proceeds of indemnities and royalties, or other income from remuneration of indirect investments related to technology transfer after proof of implementation of the project and payment of all tax dues.

Investment incentives are granted by the AIPEX, the State’s investment agency, as opposed to by the president as mandated in the 2015 investment law. Companies need to apply for such incentives when submitting an investment application to the newly created AIPEX and the relevant ministry.

The NPIL restructures the country into three economic development zones (zones A through C) determined by political and socio-economic factors, up from two as per the 2015 investment law.  For Zone A, investors have a 3-year moratorium on taxes reduced between 25- 50 percent of the tax levied on the distribution of profits and dividends. For Zone B, it is between three to six years with a 50 to 60 percent tax reduction, and for Zone C between six to eight years with a tax reduction between 60-70 percent of the tax levied on distribution of profits and dividends.

  1. The State guarantees “non-public interference in the management of private companies” and “non-cancellation of licenses without administrative or judicial processes.”
  2. The State provides a new and simplified procedure for the approval of investment projects, along with the adoption of measures aimed at accelerating the contractual process.  It also provides special rights projects (undefined), including easier access to visas for investors and priority in the repatriation of dividends, and capital.

Note: Angola is a signatory to the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) applicable to foreign investment.

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

Angola is a signatory to SADC but not a member of the SADC Free Trade Zone. Angola is analyzing and revising its tariff schedule to accommodate beneficial adjustments in regional trade under the SADC Free Trade Area (SFTA).

Under the NPIL, Angola is divided into three economic zones, zone A through C.  Zone A offers a three-year tax exemption for capital tax and a reduction in the tax burden by 25-50 percent; Zone B a three to six-year tax exemption for capital tax with a reduction in the tax burden by 50-60 percent; and, for Zone C, an eight year tax exemption for capital tax with a with a 60-70 percent reduction in the tax burden.

Porto Caio is under construction in the province of Cabinda.  The port is designated as a Free Trade Zone (FTZ) and is slated to provide numerous opportunities for warehousing, distribution, storage, lay down area and development of oil, and gas related activity.  The Port will also serve as a new major gateway to international markets from the west coast of Angola, and the development will facilitate exports and render them more cost-effective for companies.

Although the government has not yet established regional or international free trade zones, on March 21, 2018 the government signed an agreement creating the AfCFTA.  The AfCFTA is the result of the African Free Trade Agreement among all 55 members of the African Union, and will be the largest FTZ in the world since the emergence of the WTO.  The agreement’s implementation could create a market of 1.2 billion consumers. The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has estimated a 52 percent increase in intra-African trade by 2022.  Currently, intra-African trade is only 16 percent, with intra-Latin American at 19 percent, intra-Asian at 51 percent, and intra-European at 70 percent.

Performance and data Localization Requirements

Angola widely observes a policy to restrict the number of foreign workers and the duration of their employment. The policy aims to promote local workforce recruitment and progression. Decree 6/01, of 2001 establishes that expatriate workers can only be recruited if the Labor Inspectorate gets confirmation from the employer that no Angolan personnel duly qualified to perform the job required is available in the local market. The same decree limits foreign employment to 36 months and temporary employment less than 90 days on the explicit authorization of the Labor Inspectorate. Employers must register an employment contract entered into with a foreign national within 30 days at the employment center. The registration includes submission of a copy of the job description approved by the Labor Inspectorate during registration of the employment contract and the payment of a registration fee of 5 percent of the gross salary plus all the benefits. Companies must deregister upon termination of the contract. Deregistration equally applies to administration personnel and to the board of directors.

Foreign employees require work permits, and no employment is authorized on tourist visas. The visa application procedure, though improved, remains complex, timely and inconsistent. Processes and requirements vary according to the labor market situation at the time of application, the type of work permit being applied for, the nationality of the applicant, the country of application, and personal circumstances of the assignee and any family dependents. Through the NPIL Angola created the investor visa, granted by the immigration authority to foreign investors, representatives, or attorneys of an investing company, to carry out an approved investment proposal. It allows for multiple entries, and a stay of two years renewable for the same period. The NPIL liberalizes foreign investment, few instances translate to “forced localization,” and enforcement procedures for performance requirements are strictly observed in the labor, immigration, and petroleum sectors only.

International oil companies are working with the government on a new local-content initiative that will establish more explicit sourcing requirements for the petroleum sector in staffing and material. Specific to the oil sector, because of the significance it represents to the Angolan economy, the Petroleum Activities Law requires Sonangol and its associates to acquire materials, equipment, machinery, and consumer goods produced in Angola. Currently, local content regulations offer only guidelines that are loosely enforced, and companies lack clarity as to how much is enough to satisfy the Angolan government. While this situation may make it easier for foreign companies to comply with local content regulations, this lack of specificity challenges companies in their business planning. For example, it is difficult for companies to compare their competitive position against each other when competing for lucrative concessions and licenses from the government, as local content is sometimes considered during competition for government tenders. Legal guidance to get the guarantees for investors under the NPIL is strongly encouraged.

Data storage is not applicable; however, the Institute for Communications of Angola (INACOM) oversees and regulates data in liaison with the Ministry of Telecommunications. Regulations around data management including encryption are still at nascent stages.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy

Host Country Statistical Source USG or International Statistical Source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) 2018 N/A 2017 $102,300 www.worldbank.org/en/country  
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical Source USG or International Statistical Source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2017 $780 2016 $747 BEA data available at http://www.bea.gov/international/direct/investment-and-multinational-enterprises%20-comprehensive-data  
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) 2017 $226 2016 $234 BEA data available at http://www.bea.gov/international/direct/investment-and-multinational-enterprises-comprehensive-data   
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP 2017 9.9% 2016 9.0% UNCTAD data available at https://www.unctad.org/en/Pages/DIAE    


Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI

Direct Investment From/in Counterpart Economy Data
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
China $2,240 China $18,500
Portugal $2,020 India $3,770
Brazil  $669 United States $2,410
South Africa $637 South Africa $1,340
Congo $523 Spain $964
“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.


Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment

Data not available.

Mozambique

3. Legal Regime

Transparency of the Regulatory System

Investors face myriad requirements for permits, approvals, and clearances that take substantial time and effort to obtain.  The difficulty of navigating the system provides opportunities for corruption and bribery when officials facilitate routine transactions.  Regulations in the areas of labor, health and safety, and the environment often go unenforced, or are selectively enforced.  In addition, civil servants have threatened to enforce antiquated regulations that remain on the books to obtain favors or bribes.

Draft bills are usually made available for public comments through the business associations or relevant sectors or in public meetings.  Changes to laws and regulations are published in the National Gazette.  Public comments are usually limited to input from a few private sector organizations, such as CTA.  There have been complaints of short comment periods and that comments are not properly reflected in the National Gazette.  The GRM is considering a law that would make public consultation on future legislation mandatory.

International Regulatory Considerations

Mozambique is a member of SADC (Southern African Development Community).  In June 2016, the SADC EPA Group, which includes Mozambique, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland, signed an Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union. Mozambique exports aluminum under the EPA agreement.

The GRM ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in July 2016 and notified the WTO in January 2017.  A National Trade Facilitation Committee was established to coordinate the implementation of the TFA.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

Mozambique’s legal system is based on Portuguese civil law and customary law.  In December 2005, the Parliament approved major revisions to the Commercial Code – the result of a collaborative effort starting in 1998 between the Mozambican government, the private sector, and donors.  The previous Commercial Code was from the colonial period, with clauses dating back to the 19th century, and it did not provide an effective basis for modern commerce or resolution of commercial disputes.  The revised code went into effect July 1, 2006.  In April 2018, the Council of Ministers passed new provisions for the Commercial Code, which were debated and approved in Parliament.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

The Code of Fiscal Benefits, Law No. 4/2009, passed in January 2009, and Decree No. 56/2009, approved in October 2009, form the legal basis for foreign direct investment in Mozambique. Operating within these regulations, APIEX analyzes the fiscal and customs incentives available for a particular investment.  Investors must establish foreign business representation and acquire a commercial representation license.  During project development, investors must document their community consultation efforts related to the project.  If the investment requires the use of land, the investor will also have to present, among other documents, a topographic plan or an outline of the site where the project will be developed.

If the investment involves an area under 1,000 hectares and the investment is up to approximately USD 25 million, the governor of the province where it will be located can approve the investment.  APIEX has the authority to approve any project between USD 25 million and approximately USD 40 million.  The Minister of Economy and Finance must approve national or foreign investment between approximately USD 40 million and USD 225 million.  If the investment (national or foreign) occupies an area of 10,000 hectares or an area superior to 100,000 hectares for a forestry concession, or it amounts to more than USD 225 million, the project must be approved by the Council of Ministers.

On February 21, 2017, the GRM approved a new regulation to facilitate visas for foreign nationals intending to invest in projects in Mozambique.  The measure reduced the minimum investment amount required from USD 50 million to USD 500,000 for an investment visa.  Under the new visa regulations, citizens of nations that have Mozambican embassies or consulates may now also request visas upon entry for the purposes of short-term tourism and/or business.  The new border visa is valid for stays of up to 30 days and allows two entries.  It cannot be renewed or extended in Mozambique.

Competition and Anti-Trust Laws

Law 10/2013, passed on April 11, 2013, and known as the Competition Law, established a modern legal framework for competition in Mozambique and created the Competition Regulatory Authority.  A budget has still not been allocated to this body, and the GRM needs to appoint a board of directors.  The framework is inspired by the Portuguese competition enforcement system.  Violating the prohibitions contained in the Competition Law (either by entering into an illegal agreement or practice or by implementing a concentration subject to mandatory filing) could result in a fine of up to 5 percent of the turnover of the company in the previous year.  Competition Regulatory Authority decisions may be appealed in the Judicial Court in Maputo, for cases leading to fines or other sanctions, or to the Administrative Court for merger control procedures.

Expropriation and Compensation

While there have been no significant cases of nationalization since the adoption of the 1990 Constitution, Mozambican law holds that “when deemed absolutely necessary for weighty reasons of national interest or public health and order, the nationalization or expropriation of goods and rights shall (result in the owner being) entitled to just and equitable compensation.” No American companies have been subject to expropriation issues in Mozambique since the adoption of the 1990 Constitution.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Mozambique acceded in 1998 to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

For disputes between U.S. and Mozambican companies where a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) violation is alleged, recourse via the international Alternative Dispute Resolution may also be available.  No investment disputes in the past ten years have involved U.S. investors. Investors who feel they have a dispute covered under the BIT should contact the U.S. Embassy.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

In 1999, the Parliament passed Law no. 11/99 (Law on Arbitration), which allows access to modern commercial arbitration for foreign investors.  The Judicial Council approved Resolutions No. 1/CJ/2017 and No. 2/CJ/2017 in 2017, creating the Regulations of Mediation Services in Judicial Courts and the Judicial Mediators’ Code of Conduct.  These new resolutions are designed to promote the mediation process as an alternative to litigation.

The Center of Arbitration, Conciliation, and Mediation (CACM) offers commercial arbitration. During 2018, CACM handled 20 cases of commercial arbitration, and another five cases are in process.  CACM has 298 arbitrators, 11 of which are international.  One of the main constraints to the use of arbitration is that many contracts do not incorporate a clause that allows conflicts to be resolved via arbitration instead of in the courts.

Bankruptcy Regulations

In June 2014, the GRM passed a comprehensive legal regime for bankruptcy, streamlining the bankruptcy process and setting the rules for business recovery.  Globally, Mozambique stands at 84 of 190 economies on the ease of resolving insolvency issues, according to the 2018 Doing Business Report.

4. Industrial Policies

Investment Incentives

The Code of Fiscal Benefits contains specific incentives for entities that intend to invest in certain geographical areas within Mozambique that have natural resource potential but which lack infrastructure and have low levels of economic activity.  Rapid Development Zones (RDZ) were also created to facilitate investment.  Investments in these zones are exempt from import duties on certain goods and are granted an investment tax credit equal to 20 percent of the total investment (with a right to carry the credit forward for five years).  Additional modest incentives are available for professional training and the construction and rehabilitation of public infrastructure, including, but not limited to roads, railways, water supply, schools, and hospitals.

The Code of Fiscal Benefits, Law No. 4/2009, passed in 2009, is available at: https://investmentpolicyhubold.unctad.org/InvestmentLaws/laws/108 .  The Regulations for the Code of Fiscal Benefits are set forth in Decree No. 56/2009, which was approved in October 2009.  APIEX can assist companies with the investment incentives stipulated in the Code of Fiscal Benefits

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

Mozambique has seven free trade zones in the country, which provide a variety of fiscal exemptions depending on the sector of investment as well as the project location.  Investors should pay close attention to documents and procedures requested in order to establish a business locally or to request fiscal and customs incentives if investing in an industrial free zone. Information regarding business registration and administrative practices are available at: http://www.portaldogoverno.gov.mz/por/Empresas/Registos .

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

The government generally does not require investors to purchase from local sources, nor does it require technology or proprietary business information to be transferred to a local company; however, a proposed “Local Content” law could create additional requirements in this realm.

Regulations for new mining and petroleum laws may require investors to give preference to local sources available in Mozambique if the goods or services are of an internationally comparable quality and competitively priced.

Companies may hire foreign workers only when there are not sufficient Mozambican workers available that meet specific job qualifications.  The Ministry of Labor enforces quotas for foreign workers as a percentage of the workforce within individual private companies.  All investments must specify the number and category of Mozambican and foreign workers.

There are currently no data localization policies in effect in Mozambique.  The government agency responsible for enforcing IT policies and rules is:

UTICT – Unidade Tecnica de Implementacao da Politica de Informatica
Technical Implementation Unit for IT Policy
Tel: (258) 21 309 398; 21 302 241
Mobile (258) 305 3450
Email: cpinfo@infopol.gov.mz

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy

Host Country Statistical Source USG or International Statistical Source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount  
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) 2016 $11,400 2017 $12,600 www.worldbank.org/en/country 
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical Source USG or International Statistical Source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2016 $354 2017 $398 BEA data available at https://www.bea.gov/international/direct-investment-and-multinational-enterprises-comprehensive-data 
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2017 N/A N/A
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A 2017 340.4% UNCTAD data available at https://unctad.org/en/Pages/DIAE/World%20Investment%20Report/Country-Fact-Sheets.aspx 

 


Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI

Direct Investment From/in Counterpart Economy Data
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
Total Inward $37,486 100% Total Outward Amount 100%
Mauritius $7,345 20% N/A
UAE $6,786 18%
Italy $5,398 14%
Portugal $3,381 9%
UK $2,890 8%
“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.


Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment

Data not available.

Tajikistan

3. Legal Regime

Transparency of the Regulatory System

Tajikistan’s regulatory system lacks transparency.  Executive documents – presidential decrees, laws, government orders, instructions, ministerial memos, and regulations – are often inaccessible to the public.  Businesspeople and investors must purchase access to Adliya, a commercial legal database, to obtain updated legal and regulatory information.  Each ministry has its own set of unpublished regulations and these may contradict the laws and/or regulations of other ministries.

The Tajik government rarely publishes proposed laws and regulations in draft form for public comment.  Although the Tajik government solicited public comment on the 2013 Tax Code, it did not modify the draft law based on the input received.

TajikStandard, the government agency responsible for certifying goods and services, calibrating and accrediting testing laboratories, and supervising compliance with state standards, lacks experts and appropriate equipment.  TajikStandard does not publish its fees for licenses and certificates, or its regulatory requirements.

The World Bank funded Public Financial Management Modernization Project helps the Ministry of Finance adopt International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).  National energy utility company Barqi-Tojik, Dushanbe municipality water and sewerage utility Dushanbevodokanal, and the national rural water utility Khojagii Manziliyu Kommunali received World Bank assistance to fully adopt and apply International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).  The World Bank is exploring opportunities to provide additional assistance to increase State Owned Enterprises (SOE)s’ financial reporting and monitoring capacity.  The 2011 Accounting Law requires all Public Interest Entities, including all major State Owned Enterprises, to apply International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).  As of 2019 the transition process continues.

The Tajik central government is the highest rule-making and regulatory authority.  On a case-by-case basis, the central government will delegate some regulatory functions to regional or district levels.

The Office of General Prosecutor, Anti-Corruption Agency, the Tax Committee, and the State National Security Committee oversee government and administrative procedures.

The Tajik government did not announce any regulatory system and enforcement reforms in 2018.  Government agencies submit proposed draft regulations to working group commissions. Government representatives head the working group commissions.  Once cleared, draft regulations receive final review by the relevant ministries and the Executive Office of President.

Legally, the public has the right to review and monitor the enforcement process.  In practice, however, Tajikistan does not regularly enforce regulations.  The Tajik government does not review regulations based on scientific or data-driven assessments.  Tajikistan archives its laws, regulations, and policies at www.mmk.tj .

International Regulatory Considerations

Tajikistan is a member of the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States).  To date, Tajikistan has decided against membership in the Eurasian Economic Union.

The regulatory system that governs Tajikistan’s cotton sector incorporate CIS and U.S. technical norms.  Tajikistan is a WTO member and must notify all draft technical regulations to the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

Tajikistan has a civil legal system.  The parties to a contract can seek enforcement by submitting their claims to Tajikistan’s Economic Court.  Tajikistan has written laws on commercial activities and contracts.  Tajikistan’s economic courts review economic/commercial disputes.

Legally, the judicial system is independent.  In practice, the executive branch interferes in judiciary matters.  The current judicial process is neither fair nor reliable.  Outcomes tend to favor the government’s executive branch.

Legally, regulation and enforcement actions are appealable and the national court system adjudicates appeals.  In practice, national courts typically carry out executive preferences, leaving business and commercial interests vulnerable to government interference.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

Several government websites provide information on laws/regulations:

The Tajik government regulates investments through a number of laws, inter alia, the Law on Investment Agreement, Law on Concessions, Law on Resources, Law on Legal Status of Foreigners, Law on Free Economic Zones, Law on Investments, Concept of State Policy on Investments and Protection of Investments, Law on Natural Resources Tenders, and Law on Privatization of Housing.  The government also established the New Coordination Council of Inspection Agencies.  According to the proposed draft decree, an initial risk assessment will now guide all inspections.  Historically, inspections lack justification and are a means to extract fines and revenue from the private sector.

The government’s Action Plan for the Improvement of Investment Climate of the Industrial Sector, Support of Introduction Entrepreneurship, and Development of National Production for 2016-2018 was approved July 27, 2016 and extended to 2020.  President Rahmon introduced new amendments to the Action Plan to support the industrial sector in February 2019 by prohibiting irregular state inspections for industrial businesses for two years.

The Tajik government does not offer a “one-stop-shop” website for investment that provides relevant laws, rules, procedures, and reporting requirements for investors, however the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has expressed interest in helping the Tajik government establish one.

Competition and Anti-Trust Laws

The Antimonopoly Service is responsible for regulating prices for products of monopolistic enterprises, preventing and eliminating monopolistic activity, and monitoring potential monopolistic abuse and unfair competition.

Expropriation and Compensation

The Tajik government can legally expropriate property under the terms of Tajikistan’s Law on Investments, Law on Privatization, civil code, and criminal code.  The laws authorize expropriation if the Tajik government identifies procedural violations in privatizations of state-owned assets or determines a property has been used for anti-government or criminal activities, as defined in the criminal code.  Under the Law on Joint Stock Companies, the government may request that a court cancel the private purchase of shares in SOEs if it determines that there was a violation to the procedure within the original sale.

Tajikistan has a history of expropriating land because the properties involved were illegally privatized following Tajikistan’s independence.  Following an investigation by government anti-corruption, anti-monopoly, and other law enforcement agencies, the Committee for Investments and State Property Management can issue a finding that the asset was illegally privatized, and request that the Tajik court system order its return to government control.  Domestic law requires owners be reimbursed for expropriated property, but the amount of the compensation is usually well below the property’s fair market value.

In several cases, Tajik officials have used government regulatory agencies to pressure businesses and individuals into ceding properties and business assets.  The Tajik government has not shown any pattern of discrimination against U.S. persons by way of illegal expropriation.  All privately owned operations are vulnerable to expropriation actions.

The Tajik government may threaten to impose inflated and baseless taxation charges on companies, and use this as leverage to negotiate the transfer of some share of a company to the government.  In cases of expropriations, claimants and others have generally had no access to due process.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Tajikistan is not a member state of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) Convention.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

Tajikistan became the 147th country to sign and ratify the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958).  Nonetheless, Tajik courts have overturned arbitral awards in favor of connected officials.

Tajikistan acceded to the Convention on August 14, 2012, but it entered into force on November 12, 2012 – 90 days after depositing the signed text at the UN and in accordance with Article XII (2) of the Convention.

Tajikistan signed the Convention with a number of reservations regarding types of arbitration agreements and decisions that Tajikistan can recognize and implement.

One of the reservations established that Tajikistan does not apply the provisions of the Convention to disputes with immovable property.  Norway established a similar reservation, which acceded to the Convention in 1961.

Another reservation established that Tajikistan apply the Convention only to disagreements and decisions “arising after the entry into force of the Convention and to decisions made in the territories of third countries.”

Tajikistan is not a member state at the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

In 2011, Tajikistan joined the Cape Town Convention on International Interests and Mobile Equipment.  The Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and the Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment on Matters Specific to Aircraft Equipment, together usually referred to as the Cape Town Treaty, is an international treaty intended to standardize transactions involving movable property, particularly aircraft and aircraft engines.  The treaty creates international standards for registration of ownership, security interests (liens), leases, and conditional sales contracts, and various legal remedies for default in financing agreements, including repossession and the effect of a particular states’ bankruptcy laws.

There have been no claims by U.S. investors under a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) or Free Trade Agreement (FTA), because Tajikistan does not have a BIT or an FTA with the United States.

Disputes involving foreign investors have primarily centered on the implementation of tax incentives.  In the last ten years, numerous foreign investors have reported to Embassy officials difficulty utilizing promised value-added tax exemptions on imported items.  Tajik procedures require businesses to submit in January of the calendar year a list of goods to be imported, the exemption then expires at the end of December in that same year.

It takes an average of 430 days to obtain a resolution on a commercial dispute/contract enforcement proceeding in Tajikistan:  40 for filing and service, 120 for trial and judgment, and 270 for enforcement of the decision.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

Tajik law recognizes the role of local courts in dispute resolution and arbitration but in reality there is not a reputable arbitration institution that is a popular venue for resolving disputes domestically among individuals and businesses.  In practice, however, these courts are primarily used to resolve disputes over agricultural plot demarcations as part of the land reform process, and do not serve as venues to resolve non-agricultural commercial disputes.

Tajikistan has signed bilateral agreements with several countries on arbitration and investment disputes, but local domestic courts do not always properly enforce or recognize awards.

Bankruptcy Regulations

Under Tajikistan’s Law on Bankruptcy (2003), both creditors and debtors may file for an insolvent firm’s liquidation.  The debtor may reject overly burdensome contracts, and may choose whether to continue contracts supplying essential goods or services, or avoid preferential or undervalued transactions.  The law does not provide for the possibility of the debtor obtaining credit after the commencement of insolvency proceedings.  Creditors have the right to demand the debtor return creditors’ property if that property was assigned to the debtor less than four months prior to the institution of bankruptcy proceedings.  Tajik law does not criminalize bankruptcy.

4. Industrial Policies

Investment Incentives

According to statements by President Rahmon, there are 240 tax, regulatory, and legal incentives for businesses.  According to IFC Business Regulation and Investment Policy project, there are 97 incentives for investments.  In practice, businesses and investors cannot access or utilize most of these incentives.

The Tajik government has officially expressed an interest in attracting FDI but has taken little practical action to do so.  In 2016, Tajikistan’s government approved an ambitious National Development Strategy 2016-2030, which highlights the critical role of private sector investment.  According to this strategy, the Tajik government plans to attract as much as USD 55 billion in FDI by 2030.  Given the country’s business and tax environment, however, this plan appears to be more aspirational than realistic.  The Committee on Investments and State Property Management’s website lists government-promoted investment opportunities (https://www.investcom.tj/ ).

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

The Tajik government has established four Free Economic Zones (FEZs), which offer reduced taxes and customs fees to both foreign and domestic businesses.  To be eligible for preferential tax treatment, manufacturing companies must invest a minimum of USD 500,000, trading companies USD 50,000, and service and consulting companies USD 10,000.

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

According to the Tajik Law on Audits, at least 70 percent of the workforce must be local employees at local companies.  If the CEO of the company is foreign, then the percentage of local staff should be at least 75 percent.  The Tajik government can waive this requirement.

In June 2015, the Minister of Labor, Migration and Employment announced that for large-scale projects implemented in Tajikistan, which are signed between the Tajik government and either a company registered in another country or a government of another country, at least 80 percent of the workforce must be locally hired.  Depending on the qualifications of the local labor force, Tajik authorities may increase this requirement to 90 percent.

Tajik legislation permits foreigners to hold senior management and directorial positions.

It is possible to obtain visas and residence/work permits, but applicants are required to provide documentary support, and most permits cannot exceed one year.  According to Article 3 of government resolution #529, foreign worker permission procedures, investors and depositors with more than USD 500,000 in investments do not require work permits for one year from the date of state registration.

Relevant ministries must review and approve all investment proposals.

The government does not practice a forced localization policy.  The Tajik government requires all telecommunication service providers to install surveillance equipment.  Russia provides the equipment and technology as a part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization agreement.

The government does not impede the transmission of customer or other business-related data outside the economy/country’s territory unless the data violates anti-terrorist and anti-extremist laws and policies.

In 2017 Tajikistan’s Telecommunication’s agency formally completed a unified communication center (single gateway), monopolizing internet access.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy

Host Country Statistical Source USG or International Statistical Source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount  
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) 2018 $7,300 2018 $7,523 www.worldbank.org/en/country 
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical Source USG or International Statistical Source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in Partner Country ($M USD, stock positions) 2017 $13.8 2017 N/A BEA data available at http://bea.gov/international/direct_investment_multinational_companies_comprehensive_data.htm 
Host Country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) 2017 N/A 2017 N/A BEA data available at http://bea.gov/international/direct_investment_multinational_companies_comprehensive_data.htm 
Total Inbound Stock of FDI as % host GDP 2018 4.48% 2017 5.14% N/A


Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI

Direct Investment From/in Counterpart Economy Data
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
Total Inward Amount 100% Total Outward Amount 100%
China 238.8 73% N/A Amount N/A
Great Britain 20.4 6% N/A Amount N/A
Cyprus 17 5% N/A Amount N/A
Turkey 17 5% N/A Amount N/A
Switzerland 16.9 5% N/A Amount N/A
“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.

Agency on Statistics at the President of Tajikistan


Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment

IMF’s Coordinated Portfolio Investment Survey (CPIS) does not list Tajikistan.

Investment Climate Statements
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