Law of State Representation in Maputo City approved by parliament
Photo: Folha de Maputo
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Wednesday declared that the National Social Security Institute (INSS) must serve the workers who contribute to it, and must not be a stage for conflicting individual interests.
Speaking at a gala celebrating the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the INSS, Nyusi urged all workers to accept deductions from their wages in order to provide the INSS with the financial muscle it needs in order to pay out benefits.
“All workers should agree to pay contributions”, he said. “The INSS must not look like a bank for personal benefits, and it should not go into partnerships with bankrupt companies”.
But equally the employers must also pay their contributions to the INSS in good time, he urged. Here the President hit on the weakest point in the INSS, which is that large numbers of private companies not only fail to pay their own contributions to the INSS, but also fail to pass on the contributions deducted from their workers.
These companies are effectively stealing from their workers. The workers believe their social security contributions have been paid, but in reality the money has not been channelled to the INSS, and as a result they are not eligible for benefits. Trade unions have called for action against this scandal for years, but it still continues.
Nyusi recalled that, when it was founded, in 1988, the INSS covered only a handful of workers, but today it covers the entire country, and has 1.3 million contributors. New technologies had been introduced to facilitate citizens’ access to the INSS, which had helped attract thousands of self-employed people into the system.
“Today you don’t have to walk long distances to reach an INSS office”, said the President. “Using a cell phone, workers can gain access to the services provided by the Institute”.
The embrace of modern technology, he continued, was cutting out red rape and reducing the time it took for citizens to be attended, both in the INSS and in other state institutions.
“Red tape is passing into history”, said Nyusi. “The phrase ‘come back tomorrow’ in state institutions is also passing into history”.
Thanks to the new technological platforms, the INSS had been able to root out fake pensioners – people who had died, or who never existed in the first place. Nyusi said the use of biometric “proof of life” (whereby pensioners must prove that they are real) had led to the discovery of around 5,000 “ghost” pensioners.
“Some of the ghosts are here (at the gala)”, the president remarked, to loud applause.
He urged the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security to continue making institutional reforms, even though they might take a long time to bear fruit.
“Often, when a reform is introduced, some bitterness is felt – but when it is time to change, we should all change and that does us good”, Nyusi stressed.