The Mozambican government on Tuesday approved the new statutory minimum wages, for all sectors of activity, with increases ranging from 1.15 to 12.5 per cent.
The announcement follows consensus a fortnight ago on the new minimum wages in the Labour Consultative Council (CCT), the tripartite negotiating forum between the government, the trade unions and the employers’ associations.
There is no longer a single minimum wage in Mozambique. Instead the work force has been divided into nine categories, each with its own minimum wage. Since several of these categories have been broken into sub-sectors, there are in fact 14 separate minimum wages.
Labour Minister Vitoria Diogo announced the new monthly wages at the end of the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet). As happens every year, the new wages are backdated to take effect as from 1 April. The new statutory minimums are as follows:
1. Agriculture, livestock and forestry – 3,298 meticais (a rise of 3.61 per cent);
a) industrial and semi-industrial fishing – 3,815 meticais (nine percent);
b) The Kapenta (Lake Tanganyika sardine) fishery on the Cahora Bassa lake – 3,375 meticais (12.5 per cent);
a) Large companies – 6,213.67 meticais (10.11 per cent)
b) Small companies, quarries and sandpits – 4,907.17 meticais (8.11 per cent);
c) Salt pans – 4,476 meticais (7.18 per cent);
4. Manufacturing industry
a) General – 5,200 meticais (eight per cent);
b) Bakeries – 3,985 meticais (1.15 per cent);
5. Electricity, gas and water
a) Large companies – 6,036.71 meticais (11.75 per cent)
b) Small companies – 5,421.77 meticais (11.75 per cent)
6. Building industry – 4,886.74 meticais (nine per cent)
7. Non-financial services – 5.050 meticais (eight per cent);
8. Financial services
a) Banks and insurance companies – 8,750 meticais (8.7 per cent)
b) Microfinance companies – 8,400 meticais (7.69 per cent).
9. Public administration, defence and security – a seven per cent rise for the lowest levels (including, for example, primary school teachers, nurses, and policemen, and soldiers), and four per cent for the higher levels.
None of these wage rises is large enough to keep up with the pace of inflation. According to the figures from the National Statistics Institute (INE), based on the consumer price indices for the three largest cities (Maputo, Nampula and Beira), inflation over the past year (April 2015 to March 2016) was 13.62 per cent. This is the first time in more than a decade that the rise in the statutory minimum wages has failed to keep pace with inflation.
Over the past year, the metical has undergone sharp devaluation against the US dollars. There are now about 53 meticais to the dollar (using the exchange rate for the inter-bank exchange market). So, if expressed in dollars, the new monthly wages vary from 60 dollars (for agricultural workers) to 152 dollars for workers in banks and insurance companies.
Speaking to reporters, the Minister of State Administration, Carmelita Namashalua, said the wage increase for the public administration was “a difficult exercise” given the country’s current economic situation.
She stressed the need for adopting austerity measures throughout the state apparatus – these would include reducing the use of fuel, cutting allowances, and tighter control over the payment of overtime.
“We have few funds, and these must e shared so that our public administration and other sectors can function properly”, said Namashalua.