Businesses affected by Covid-19 and Other Financial Information
Financial support plan of Rs 9 billion for economic operators affected by COVID-19
The Government is doing its utmost best to reduce the consequential impacts of the pandemic COVID-19 on the Mauritian economy and has come up with a financial support plan of about Rs 9 billion for economic operators across all sectors of activities including the Small and Medium Enterprises who are affected by the significant economic slowdown.
The Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr Renganaden Padayachy, made this statement at a press conference held this evening in Port-Louis.
He underlined that the Plan has been conceived with the help of institutions such as the Bank of Mauritius (BoM), the Economic Development Board, Business Mauritius, Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority and the Mauritius Export Association, amongst others, to mitigate the adverse impacts of COVID-19.
The Minister observed that on the stock market level, several countries are being affected by the imbalance created in supply and demand following the outbreak of COVID-19. He stated that there is a considerable impact on global economic growth adding that Mauritius can experience a negative impact of 1% to 6,5 % on its Gross Domestic Product.
To this end, he said, several fiscal and monetary measures are being put at the disposal of economic operators at the macroeconomic and cross-sectoral level. He stated that the BoM has already communicated guidelines on Credit Impairment Measurement and Income Recognition following a decrease of 0,5% in the key repo rate. A Special Relief Amount of about Rs 5 billion, he added, has been made available by the BoM for which disbursement will be made through commercial banks from 23 March to 31 July 2020.
Other measures include: an Equity Participation Scheme by the State Investment Corporation Ltd to assist enterprises to overcome financial difficulties; a Revolving Credit Fund of some Rs 200 million at the Development Bank of Mauritius to help companies with turnover of less than Rs 10 million; and a double tax deduction on the investment in Plant and Machinery for the period 01 March to 30 June 2020. Schemes under the Investment Support Programme Ltd and SME Equity Fund Ltd will also be reviewed for greater efficiency.
Moreover, the Finance Minister stated that all works permits expiring this year will be extended automatically up to 31 December 2021. In regards to minimising human contact, the Government will promote the Work at Home Scheme and will set up an e-Government Digital Bureau for the provision of public services through electronic means.
With regard to measures taken for the tourism sector, he highlighted that the Passenger Fee on Air Ticket will be suspended for tourists coming from Reunion Island, Australia, and South Africa up to 31 July 2020. Air Mauritius Ltd will extend its promotional fare strategy to attract tourists from Reunion Island, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia while hotel operators will provide a discount from 15 to 35% for tourists from these countries.
On the topic of the exports sector, the Minister stated that the Freight Rebate Scheme will be extended for exports to South Africa and Tamatave and that the Speed to Market Scheme will be broadened to include exports of manufacturing to Africa, Japan, Australia, Canada and the Middle East up to 31 December 2020.
As for the local production, he announced that an amount of Rs 100 million has been earmarked to encourage local production of food crops and urged owners of sugar estates to put, at the disposal of small planters, additional land for cultivation of crops and vegetables.
Minister Padayachy also stated that a sum of some Rs 208 million has been made available to the Ministry of Health and Wellness for the acquisition of new medical equipment in the wake of the COVID-19.
An Implementation and Monitoring Committee under the chair of the Financial Secretary, Mr Dev Manraj, comprising representatives from public and private sectors has been set up to ensure effective implementation of the support plan, he added.
Statement on the temporary cessation of the operations of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius Ltd
The Financial Services Commission (“the Commission”) takes cognizance of the Curfew Order dated 22 March 2020 (General Notice No.512 of 2020) issued by the Government of Mauritius (“the Curfew Order”), aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19 by way of a total lockdown of Mauritius. The Curfew Order is effective from 23 March 2020 at 20:00 local time to 2 April 2020 at 20:00 local time.
The Commission is of the view that the orderly transaction of business on the securities exchange is being or is likely to be adversely affected due to the occurrence of the total lockdown.
Given that the total lockdown is one that is captured by the provisions of section 133(2) of the Securities Act 2005 and having been satisfied that the requirements of section 133(3) of the Securities Act 2005 are met, NOTICE is hereby given that the Commission has exercised its powers under section 133(1) of the Securities Act 2005 and ordered the Stock Exchange of Mauritius Ltd (“SEM”) to cease all securities transactions.
The Stock Exchange of Mauritius Ltd has also been directed to inform all of its market participants of measures it has put in place for an orderly resumption of the market.
The ORDER issued by the Commission to the Stock Exchange of Mauritius Ltd takes effect from 27 March 2020 at 20:00 local time and shall lapse on 2 April 2020 at 20:00 local time.
source : MCCI
Government Wage Assistance Scheme – Clarifications
With a view to assisting businesses in making applications for GWAS, the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA) wishes to bring the following clarifications to their attention:
1. All businesses willing to avail themselves of the support under GWAS should fill in an application form.
2. All applications received are being processed, and disbursement of funds will be made on a first come first served basis.
3. The GWAS is for businesses only and, therefore, employers in the category of Private Household and NGOs may not avail of the scheme.
4. The quantum of assistance claimed should be based on the basic salary of the employees as normally declared by employers in their monthly NPS Contribution Returns.
5. In processing the applications under GWAS, the MRA will carry out internal checks to verify the correctness of claims. The verification will be based on previous NPS returns filed by a business to ascertain the number of employees and their basic salaries.
6. After internal verification, MRA will credit the approved amount to the employer’s bank account used by him for payment of monthly NPS contribution. Any adjustment to that amount will be made once normal work resumes after curfew.
7. A self-employed, for example a hairdresser, will be entitled to GWAS only in respect of employees for whom he has been paying monthly NPS contributions. 8. Businesses having trainees or staff on placement will be entitled to the GWAS if NPS contributions are being made in their favour.
source : MCCI