Malawi Posts Corporation (MPC) says it needs about K30.8 billion ($40 million) to fully implement its turnaround strategy for the corporation to become a profit-making entity.
MPC acting post-master general Zacheus Meke said this in an interview yesterday after addressing MPC employees who are on a sit-in to force management to address some of their grievances.
Among others, the employees claim that they have not received their November salaries and that their pay has been delayed since September this year.
They also claim that they have been receiving their salaries is phases and that for the past 17 months, MPC management has been failing to remit pension funds to Old Mutual despite the money being deducted from their salaries.
Meke acknowledged the employees’ concerns and expressed optimism that the challenges the corporation is facing will be resolved next month as it is working towards implementing the turnaround strategy.
He said MPC management has been engaging government officials on the matter.
Said Meke: “With $40 million, we should be able to bring about various transformative programmes in place and also deal with things of the past.
“We are engaging international finance institutions who are willing to give us finances. It should also be noted that, either we can find one investor that will be interested to invest in the project or there will be multiple investors based on their areas of interest.”
Addressing the aggrieved staff, Meke pleaded with them to resume work, saying they will receive their November salaries within this week.
But in an a separate interview, a representative of the employees George Makina said they were not satisfied with management’s explanation and they will seek government’s intervention.
He said: “We are suffering. We need money to travel to work, for lunch and for our families’ upkeep.”
The employees agreed to continue with the sit-in until they get their salaries.
When contacted, Minister of Information Gospel Kazako, who is also government spokesperson, said while he sympathises with the employees government will not bail out MPC because the Tonse Alliance administration does not want to promote a culture of bailing out parastatals, unless it is a very special case.,
He said: “They [MPC striking employees] should liaise with their management because their management knows that the corporation’s resources were abused. They should also suggest what we should do with the management.”
According to Meke, MPC currently has 824 employees and 180 post offices but out of the 180 post offices, about 160 are not economically viable.
When The Nation visited some post offices in all the three regions such as Chichiri in Blantyre, Kawale in Lilongwe and Luwinga in Mzuzu, employees were seen in their respective offices, but not attending to their customers.
At Chichiri Post Office, between 10 and 11am, 13 dispatch riders failed to collect mail while seven vehicles, including that of Electricity Corporation of Malawi (Escom), were denied entry into the post office premises as the gates were closed due to the sit-in.
During a public reforms meeting in August this year, Vice-President Saulos Chilima expressed worry over MPC’s failure to make profits for the past 20 years, with the institution accumulating K1.6 billion in utility, debts, and statutory obligations as well as K6.3 billion in unpaid taxes.