Mozambique: Mdm Condemns Planned Rise in Electricy Prices

Maputo — The Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), the country's second largest opposition party, has expressed deep concern over the announcement by the publicly owned electricity company, EDM, that it plans to increase its tariffs by 10 per cent next year.

The prospective increase was announced by the company last Friday, when it launched its strategic business plan covering the period up to 2024.

Addressing a press conference on Monday at the party's headquarters in Maputo city, the deputy head of the MDM's Department of Organization and Information, Augusto Pelembe, said the party was once again surprised by the latest demand for a price rise.

"What worries the MDM and the Mozambicans is not the increase as such, but the manner in which the increases occur," said Pelembe, pointing out that the proposed 10 per cent hike will be the fifth rise in five years.

The quality of the electricity distributed by EDM, Pelembe said, has time and again been questioned by most consumers especially in the country's rural and remote areas.

Pelembe also attacked the luxurious salaries paid at the company. He claimed that in 2016 EDM gave its management a 60 per cent pay rise, allowing each of the seven members of the EDM Board of Directors monthly take-home pay of over one million meticais (almost 14,000 US dollars, at current exchange rate).

Were such high salaries appropriate for a company which complains that its accounts are in the red?, Pelembe asked.

Pelembe also claimed that EDM is a slush fund for the ruling Frelimo party, and that part of EDM's money is used for corruption schemes. He did not give examples.

The opposition party also called on the electricity company to retreat from such "threats" that only make Mozambicans even poorer. "If the monopoly is unsustainable, then liberalize the market", exclaimed Pelembe.

EDM's proposed price rise is by no means certain, since it has yet to be approved by the government.

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