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Mozambican Government cuts expenses and privileges to top officials

The Mozambican government has introduced austerity measures to cut expenditure on the perks and privileges of high ranking state officials, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Adriano Malaeiane, announced on 5 December.

Speking to reporters after the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), Maleiane said the cuts are expected to result in savings of 7.2 billion meticais (US$120 million) in 2018.

One of the largest savings is on rent. Because the government does not have enough houses of its own to accommodate senior officials, up until now it has put them in hotels, or private rented accommodation at enormous cost. The new government decree, Maleiane said, fixes a basic sum per square metre for rented accommodation. This cut will save the state budget 1.1 billion meticais a year.

Officials can no longer expect that their jobs will entitle them to travel in luxury cars. Maleiane said that the State will now only use cars with an engine capacity of between 1,300 and 1,500 cubic centimetres.

It will also end the long-standing scandal of buying cars with the sole purpose of selling them at a discount to officials for their personal use. Instead when an official takes office he will be granted an allowance. Maleiane did not say how much this allowance will be, but he said the measure will allow the State to buy only the vehicles that it really needs.

Officials will no longer have unlimited access to fuel and communications. A ceiling is set of 5,000 meticais a month for the fuel allowance, and 10,000 meticais for communications (essentially on mobile phones). It should be noted that 10,000 meticais is two and a half times the Statutory minimum wage in the public administration (currently 3,996 meticais a month). The limits on fuel and communications allowances will save the state 245 million meticais over the year, Maleiane said.

The decree eliminates an irrational “special bonus” granted to officials merely because they have completed a mid-level or higher education courses, regardless of whether the degree they obtain is of any relevance to their work.

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