Mozambique NGO questions allocation of land in Palma without hearing communities
Screen grab: TVM
The Mozambican Post Office has about 380 million meticais (around six million US dollars at the current exchange rate), to compensate 560 workers who are being dismissed following the government’s decision last year to liquidate the company.
Currently, pensions have been fixed for 230 of these workers, including the amount of compensation they must be paid.
The company was abolished by the government in May 2021 and the sale of its properties is currently in the liquidation phase, a process expected to be extended over the next 18 months.
Speaking at a Wednesday press conference in Maputo, the chairperson of the liquidation commission, Raimundo Matule, who is also an executive director of the Institute for the Management of State Holdings (IGEPE), explained that all the post office workers are entitled to compensation.
“We should have carried out this process earlier, but due to financial difficulties it was not possible” he said, stressing that the payment of compensation should start in July. Due to the shortage of funds, the payment of compensation will be phased.
“If everything goes well, as we hope, by the end of the year we expect to have all workers compensated”, he said.
Matule added that the Post Office has identified a total of 127 properties under its jurisdiction across the country, with a market value of about two billion meticais. However, he added that an accounting assessment puts the value at only 1.1 billion meticais.
Matule admitted that the value calculated may not be realistic due to the current market in which the company operates. He claimed that the true market value will only be known when a public tender opens, “when those who intend to acquire the company properties present their bids.”
In addition to this sell-off, some of the properties of the company will be given to public institutions at national level.
“At this moment, we still don’t have the final decision as to which properties go to public institutions and which go for sale; what I can stress is that this decision is up to the government”, said Matule.
The sale of the assets is expected to cushion the debts incurred by the Post Office, estimated at around 854.9 million meticais.
The institution owes about 67 million meticais in Social Security contribuitions and Personal Income Tax (IRPS). Unpaid Value Added Tax (VAT), and Corporate Income Tax (IRPC) amount to a further 88.5 million meticais. The Post Office also has a debt to Mozambican banks of around 121 million meticais.
“There is a huge list of ordinary creditors, suppliers of goods and services, with debts of 345.5 million meticais”, Matule said. Among the debts is 14.4 million meticais owed to airlines, and 4.4 million meticais owed to other international creditors, mainly post offices in other countries.
The Post Office must also collect debts from those who owe it money, mainly tenants renting space in its buildings. The total money that can be collected from these debtors is put at about 274.3 million meticais.
Matule said that the Post Office had been bankrupt for over seven years and, in June 2019, it was no longer even able to pay wages to its workers. The wage bill was 15 million meticais a month, but the company did not expect revenue of more than seven million a month.
The anti-corruption NGO, the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP), has claimed that the post office assets are grossly undervalued. For example, a three room apartment in the up-market Maputo neighbourhood of Polana Cimento has been valued at 2.8 million meticias – but, after consulting estate agents, CIP concluded that the real value is six million.
This is just one of many examples of post office assets that, in CIP’s view, appear to have been deliberately undervalued.
But Matule denied these accusations, and said the company which undertook the valuation, Intellica, is competent for the job, and was chosen by public tender. The valuation was then submitted to the Attorney-General’s Offce, and to the Administrative Tribunal.
“We are satisfied with Intellica’s work”, said Matule.
Watch the TVM report.