Customs officers launched an indefinite nationwide strike on Wednesday, July 5, to protest the non-payment of salary arrears they claim have been due since 2013. The strike follows six months of unsuccessful negotiations with the Ministry of Finance and Budget. Malagasy entrepreneurs and industrialists, who are being directly impacted, are calling on both sides to quickly find a solution to the issue. While the government affirms that all custom offices remain open, the custom officer union announced that all employees are following the strike.
Customs officers are demanding the payment of salary arrears totaling approximately USD 13.9 billion (MGA 42 billion), however the government has said it is unable to meet their demand.
Unless quickly resolved, the strike could have a serious negative impact on the country’s economy; the current work stoppage by the customs officers is reportedly causing a loss of at least MGA 7 billion of revenue per day (approximately USD 2.3 million). Furthermore, Malagasy companies are also affected as they are heavily dependent on imports, while some clients rely on the country’s exports.
Individuals present in Madagascar are advised to monitor developments to the situation and to avoid all demonstrations.