Mozambique: Chinese-Owned Companies Closed in Quelimane

Maputo — Quelimane (Mozambique), 10 May (AIM) - The National Inspectorate of Economic Activities (INAE) has ordered the closure of two Chinese owned companies in Quelimane, capital of the central Mozambican province of Zambezia.

INAE shut down Hongyu Plastics Sociedade Unipessoal Lda because of its clandestine production of types of thin plastic bag damaging to public health. Xin Heng Lda, which produces mattresses, was closed for violations of Mozambican labour legislation.

The INAE Zambezia provincial delegate, Vera Godinho, told AIM that the closure of the two industries was the culmination of an inspection resulting from anonymous denunciations from a group of workers. The provincial delegations of the environment and labour ministries took part in the inspection.

At Hongyu Plastics, the inspectors found that two of the three moulds for producing plastic bags do not meet the recommended standards for avoiding danger to public health. Only one mould produced bags that were of tolerable thickness, between 30 and 40 microns (a micron s one millionth of a metre). The other two produced plastic bags that were between 15 and 20 microns thick, well below the standards specified in Mozambican regulations.

"We don't know how many plastic bags with these anomalies were put on the market", said Godinho. "We shall have to collect them all and incinerate them, as precautionary measures, while procedures are under way to hold the company responsible for these abuses".

At the factory, the inspectors seized 50,000 plastic bags.

The company was not licensed, and its workers, recruited in January had no work contracts and did not even know how much their monthly wages should be. Members of the company management refused to speak to reporters, saying they needed authorisation from the shareholders.

As for Xin Heng, it was closed for repeated violations of labour rights, including failure to provide its workers with protective equipment. It had received warnings, but these did not persuade the company management to change its behaviour, said Godinho.

"We had no way out other than to order the closure of these companies, under the legislation in force in the country", she declared.

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