31 March 2014

Mozambique: Parliament Approves New Law Awarding Ex-Presidents Costly Perks

Maputo — On 31 March, the Mozambican parliament approved, in general terms, a bill revising the law covering Presidential Rights and Duties while in office and after. Thus, it was established that after leaving office a Mozambican head of state is entitled to receive an updated basic salary for the same number of years as while in office, as a "reintegration subsidy." The current president's salary and that of his predecessor are not public knowledge.

Said law was approved by Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) and Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) MPs while the Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo) abstained. Under this law, a former head of state will enjoy one annual holiday including first class flights and living expenses for his wife and minor or disabled children, in the country or abroad, with special protection.

But these are only part of a series of rights and benefits contained in said law. In truth, it is a series of perks that will cost the state millions of meticals to provide the president with a dignified life.

The document also says that the president, after leaving office, is entitled to a salary, representation costs, updated monthly subsidies; first class flights and living expenses when he travels on official state business, inside the country or abroad; and to a diplomatic passport for him, his wife, and minor or disabled children.

The law also entitles a former president to an office; special protection and security for him, his spouse, minor or disabled children, and first degree relatives; fitting protocol treatment, and other rights enshrined in the law that do not jeopardize others covered by other laws.

President in Office

While in office, the president should submit to the Attorney General's Office an annual declaration of his assets and other income. As for the rights and benefits, however, the law entitles him to a salary, a representation costs subsidy, living expenses, and other monthly subsidies "to be fixed by the Council of Ministers."

He will also be provided with vehicles or other means of transport when on official state business and others for personal use; an official residence and one for private use, among others. This law also does not deny him access to other rights and benefits under other laws.

In the event of his death while in office or after leaving office, his heirs are entitled to a pension worth 100 per cent of his updated salary or pension. The reintegration subsidy also transfers to his heirs.

Budget Impact

The implementation of this law will signify an adjustment to the General State Budget of 46,121,500 meticals [about $1.5 million]. Of this total, 22,060,000 meticals [about $706,000] is for equipment and vehicles, 2,859,999 [about $91.5,000] for goods and services, 19,402,500 [about $621,000] for family transfers, and the remaining staff costs are expected to come to 1,800,000 [about $57,600].

In this specific case, the above figures aim to cover the rights and benefits of current President Armando Guebuza and of former President Joaquim Chissano.

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