The Economy confirms the post-pandemic recovery and maintains its growth: a pre-election balancing act in the face of economic challenges

ZAKIR TOORAWAAs the Mauritian government presents its last budget before the electoral deadline, it finds itself at a crossroads, juggling social expectations and economic imperatives. Designed in a difficult economic context, the budget aims to maintain high levels of growth while meeting the social needs of the population.

The budget places a strong emphasis on social issues, in particular on reducing poverty and improving the purchasing power of citizens, who have suffered from the pandemic, high inflation and a consequent drop in power. purchase.

The financial services sector remains the main contributor to the national GDP at 14%. This sector grew by 4.4% in 2023, remaining a driving force behind the recovery. The budget introduces measures to maintain this growth momentum and further expand the sector.

To consolidate the Mauritius International Financial Center (IFC) as a center of excellence, the government announced the introduction of a 10-year expert occupation permit, an initiative that aims to attract foreign talent in wealth management, 'Family Office', 'Virtual Asset' and 'Virtual Tokens'. Efforts in this direction also aim to explore the signing of strategic partnership agreements with India and African countries.

The budget also includes several measures to encourage foreigners to settle in Mauritius. In the same vein, the measures also aim to encourage investors moving their head offices and also professionals and retirees who wish to establish themselves in Mauritius. This is expected to improve the flow of foreign exchange and alleviate the acute shortage of labor hampering the growth of various economic sectors.

However, although the budget opens up to foreign talent, it would have been desirable if there were more measures to address the serious brain drain in several sectors including the financial sector. The increase in the minimum salary from Rs. 18,500 to Rs. 20,000 and the increase in the CSG allowance are steps to help young professionals at the start of their careers. Yet, as they gain experience, the risk of seeking opportunities abroad still exists.

The launch of “AI for All” and incentives for AI training courses, as well as tax incentives for licensing robotics and AI-enabled consulting services, indicate a focus on developing the AI ​​sector. 'HAVE. To meet the CIF strategy, Mauritius is committed to maintaining its whitelisted jurisdiction status by complying with international AML/CFT standards, adapting its regulatory framework to the emerging risks and challenges of the global financial landscape.

The 2024-2025 budget reflects the government's effort to strike a delicate balance between stimulating economic growth and meeting the social needs of its citizens, while positioning Mauritius as a competitive and compliant financial hub on the global stage.

ZAKIR TOORAWA: Chief Executive Officer, RockFin Compliance

A clear vision to strengthen economic resilience

Jay Soopayah NarrainenIn the wake of the pandemic, the Mauritius Budget 2024-2025 was unveiled with a clear vision to strengthen the economic resilience of the nation. The Minister of Finance stressed that the budget is built on three fundamental pillars: promoting economic dynamism, working for a sustainable and inclusive Mauritius, and laying the foundations for a better future. Although the tax landscape remains largely unchanged, the government has introduced measures to make doing business easier. This includes streamlining administrative procedures, improving regulatory frameworks and leveraging technology to simplify business operations. The Tax Arrears Settlement measure, a crucial element of the budget, has been reintroduced. Its renewal aims to accelerate the collection of unpaid taxes by June 2025, providing a lifeline to businesses still working to overcome the economic fallout from the pandemic.

In terms of personal taxation, the progressive taxation regime presents a considerable benefit to individual taxpayers, providing substantial savings and financial relief to Mauritian households. These measures announced in last year's budget speech were palpable during the current financial year and are being maintained.

Another major challenge the government has faced is the labor shortage. To address this, the government is easing the process of recruiting foreign workers, ensuring that key industries have access to the workforce needed to drive growth. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are receiving a boost with the announcement of salary compensation support amounting to MUR 2,000 per employee each month until December 2024. This initiative will help ease financial and to support employment.

In addition, the budget proposes a bold measure to write off SME loans which have been overdue for more than two decades. This measure should free up capital and encourage new investments.

Finally, a 50% discount on Development Bank of Mauritius (DBM) rent arrears of more than five years is proposed for those who settle by June 2025, providing much-needed relief to businesses facing outstanding debts. long term.

The 2024 Budget stands as a testament to the government's commitment to economic recovery, providing a blend of stability and support to steer Mauritius towards a prosperous future.

Jay Soopayah Narrainen: Chief Executive Officer, RockFin Tax

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