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The Budget presented on Friday June 7 beats all records of irresponsibility, said MMM MP Joanna Bérenger. It was during his speech in the National Assembly.

The Budget presented by Minister of Finance Renganaden Padayachy is “an inflationary Budget”, argued the MP of the Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM) Joanna Bérenger. For her, “prices have continued to increase and will continue to increase”. She pointed out that Statistics Mauritius mentioned in its bulletin that the Consumer Price Index increased from 103.1 to 137.6 from the end of 2019 to March 2024.

While the Minister of Finance talks about the decline in overall inflation, he acknowledges that inflation persists. And it simply says that the rate of price increase is a little lower than last year, added the purple MP. According to her, this Budget continues to jeopardize the future of children with a debt level of Rs 561 billion.

According to Joanna Bérenger, the budget perpetuates the path of depreciation of the rupee and favors neither local production nor job creation. For her, more imports mean the need for more foreign exchange, which is bought more expensively due to a shortage in the market.

BASIC PROBLEMS

“We import 80% of what we consume,” she pointed out. And for the MP, the Budget does not resolve the fundamental problems. There is an absence of structural reform and a new pillar to revive the economy, although many projects had been set out in previous budgets. She cited, among other things, the establishment of green industries, the blue economy, “hubs” of all kinds, biopharmaceuticals, which were not ultimately realized. “You made the population dream. 'E ler gete… kosmar pe kontinie',” she said.

And while the government is pleased to have increased the guaranteed minimum income to Rs 20,000, the salary threshold to obtain an occupation permit has been reduced at the same time to Rs 22,500, with the aim of attracting foreign talent. “How are our young graduates supposed to find their place in the job market? » asked the MMM MP. With such measures, it is not surprising that 75% of young people who study abroad prefer not to return home.

“Today, we should not be surprised that our best people are leaving the country to contribute to the growth of foreign businesses and economies,” continued Joanna Bérenger. According to her, the government does not seem to be aware of the consequences that this situation could have on the country in the long term. For her, the departure of young Mauritians is an undeniable proof of “the evil that is gnawing at the country”.

Joanna Bérenger also declared that the Climate and Sustainability Fund of Rs 3.2 billion until 2030, had already been mentioned in 2023. “There already exists a National Environment and Climate Change Fund, most of the funds of which are devoted to projects that have nothing to do with our climate resilience,” added the MMM MP. According to her, of the Rs 1.6 billion in this fund, Rs 523 million was used for beautification and cleaning projects which have nothing to do with climate resilience. For her, the government likes to hear that it protects the environment, but does the complete opposite and then looks for miracle solutions to repair its mistakes.

“Pyromaniac and firefighter”

Addressing the sand extraction project in our lagoons, Joanna Bérenger asked if a study had been carried out beforehand. If this measure is implemented, it would set the country back twenty years. Rajesh Bhagwan, then Minister of Environment, stopped this process in order to protect the lagoon. She also pointed out that an oceanographer collaborating with the government on certain projects pointed out that “extracting sand from the lagoon increases erosion and destroys the regeneration capacity of the lagoons. This will have catastrophic effects on the environment, accelerating the negative impacts of sea rise.”

She used as an example a senior official in the Maldives' environment ministry who resigned to express his disapproval of a permit granted for sand mining despite his reservations. According to Joanna Bérenger, the Mauritian Minister of the Environment should take inspiration from it. “If he did not deign to resign in the face of a blatant case of conflict of interest…” said the MMM MP. For her, this measure goes against the ambition to repopulate and rehabilitate the lagoon. “The government wants to extract coral sand from the lagoon, but at the same time wants to create 250 farms to cultivate corals. Pyromaniac and firefighter at the same time. 'Li mem met dife, li mem rod fer krwar li pou teign dife',” she said.

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