Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)

Maputo — The Mozambican government announced on Tuesday that it has decided to abolish the state owned postal service, Correios de Mocambique.

Correios de Mocambique was set up as a state company in June 1981, and was transformed into a public company in September 1992, with financial and administrative autonomy, and subordinate to the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

But, as happened all over the world, clients deserted the traditional postal service in droves, as electronic mail replaced letters. Despite attempts to move into new areas of business, Correios de Mocambique lost money heavily and became a drag on the state budget.

The death sentence on Correios de Mocambique was read a week ago by Raimundo Matula, the executive director of the government’s Institute for the Management of State Holdings (IGEPE). He told reporters “its object of business, the market in which it operates, is out of date. With the explosion of a variety of technological resources, the company was not capable of following this evolution and of re-inventing itself”.

At the end of Tuesday’s weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), the Minister of Economy and Finance, Adriano Maleiane, announced there would be no further injections of state money into Correios de Mocambique.

It was no longer regarded as “a strategic company”, he said. Furthermore, under a 2016 law on the postal service, Correios de Mocambique had lost its monopoly. “It can all be done by the private sector”, said Maleiane.

The government’s decision leaves the 516 workers employed by Correios de Mocambique facing an uncertain future. IGEPE has been tasked with compensating them, or finding them jobs elsewhere.

Correios de Mocambique also has a valuable portfolio of assets, mostly buildings, scattered across the country. IGEPE will assess the value of these assets, and decided whether they should be used to finance other public companies that are running at a loss.

Although the use of the postal service has declined dramatically, it still exists. Parcels, publications and even a few letters are still sent by mail, and Correios de Mocambique still operates (and charges for) post office boxes. It is not yet clear who will take over these services.

Maleiane also announced the dissolution of the state-owned Mozambican Mining Company (EMEM), which only employs 46 people. The government is also selling off its shares in the real estate company, Domus, which was originally set up in the early 1980s to manage the 33 storey building in central Maputo, which is the second highest building in the country. Currently the state owns 94 per cent of Domus, and private investors six per cent.

The objective of restructuring the state business sector, Maleiane said, “is to ensure that the state does not compete with the private sector, and thus relieves the state budget. It is important to ensure that the workers are not prejudiced, and they should be compensated within the framework of the existing legislation”.

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