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Mozambique: Government Won’t Commit to Paying Christmas Bonus to State Workers

Mozambique: Government Won’t Commit to Paying Christmas Bonus to State Workers

 Mozambique’s government is not committed to paying civil servants the Christmas bonus this year, with Prime Minister Adriano Maleiane pointing out that it is a “right conditional on availability” of funds.

“The bonus has always been [paid] according to availability. This has normally been done at the end of December because when there is a possibility, it is paid in January. At the moment, we don’t have a position to promise. Let’s wait,” said Maleiane, speaking to journalists in the Mozambican parliament after the general discussion on Thursday of the 2024 budget proposal.

He insisted that the “norm” is in place regarding this payment to civil servants: “It’s a right conditional on availability”.

“So we don’t create problems. Let’s not create expectations for people,” he added.

The Mozambican state’s operating expenses rose by 9.4% in the first nine months of the year to 237.4 billion meticais (€3.39 billion), driven by the increase in salaries, according to official figures reported this month by Lusa.

According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s economic and social balance sheet on the implementation of the state budget from January to September, this performance corresponds to 78.9% of all state operating expenses planned for this year, valued at almost 316.9 billion meticais (€4.52 billion).

The largest item is personnel expenses, which grew by 16.1% by the end of September, compared to the same period in 2022, to almost 146.365 million meticais (2.091 billion euros), representing 78.9% of the total budget for the 12 months.

“The growth in personnel costs is justified by the effects of the implementation of the Single Salary Table (TSU), implemented in the second half of 2022, as part of the Public Administration salary reform process,” the document reads.

Specifically, wages and salaries represented an increase in public spending of 17.9% in nine months compared to the same period in 2022, to 141.64 billion meticais (€2.024 billion), equivalent to 80.4% of the budget for the whole year.

The application of the new civil service salary scale is being strongly contested by various professional classes, such as doctors and teachers, with a record of salary delays and cuts in the security forces, criticised by various segments of the Mozambican state apparatus.

Approved in 2022 with the aim of eliminating asymmetries and keeping the state’s wage bill under control in the medium term, its inception caused salaries to skyrocket by around 36%, from an expenditure of 11.6 billion meticais/month (€169 million /month) to 15.8 billion meticais/month (€231 million /month).

The new salary matrix in the state has 21 levels, from 8,756 to 165,758 meticais (from €134 to €2,580), instead of 103 steps, as before.

The Mozambican government estimates an annual impact of 28.45 billion meticais (€406.5 million) with the TSU, which is contested by various sectors of the civil service and has led to delays in salary payments.

According to the documents supporting the proposal for the Economic and Social Plan and State Budget (PESOE) for 2024, which is being discussed in parliament, the government has revised the impact of applying this measure, taking into account the initial forecast of 19.2 billion meticais (€274.4 million), citing “some inconformities throughout the process of framing civil servants”.

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