Maputo, 26 May (AIM) – The Mozambican government intends to reduce the wage gap between high ranking officials of the public administration, and ordinary public sector workers – which will mean cutting the wages of ministers, deputy ministers, and parliamentary deputies.
Meeting on Thursday in Maputo, the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) approved amendments to the law which defines the rules and criteria for fixing the remuneration of public servants.
Speaking at a press conference following the meeting, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Max Tonela, said the government’s bill seeks to reduce the gulf between the top and bottom of the public wage scale, and establish a greater wage balance within the same professional careers.
He added that the proposal also seeks to reduce the public sector wage bill from 14 to eight per cent of the Gross Domestic Product. He claimed that this would be in line with the average in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, and with “good international practices”.
It is also a demand from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). An IMF staff team which visited Mozambique from 24 April to 5 May, insisted on cutting public sector wages. A statement from the team leader, Pablo Lopez Murphy, said the IMF “encourages the government to proceed with additional measures to reduce the annual wage bill to its approved budget level”.
He claimed that “Ensuring that the public wage bill is brought down is critical for safeguarding fiscal and macro sustainability”.
Tonela told the Thursday press conference that the government bill intends to cut the salaries and allowances paid to ministers, deputy ministers, secretaries of state, and parliamentary deputies “among other office holders in public bodies”.
Members of the provincial assemblies can also expect a cut in their remuneration, which Tonela said violate the principles of wage justice “since their wages are much higher than those paid to members of the national and provincial governments”.
The changes proposed, Tonela said, “will improve the sustainability of the wage bill, and are perfectly aligned with the structural reforms the government has been implementing”.
The government bill must pass through the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic. The government is thus asking the deputies to approve a cut in their own wages. This would be quite unprecedented.
Tonela did not say by how much the salaries of ministers and other senior officials will be cut.