June 21, 2019

MAURITIUS BUDGET 19/20 - IMPROVEMENT OF BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT

1. Facilitating Start of Businesses and Implementation of Projects

 

 Reviewing the Process of Payment of Trade Fee

 (i) The Local Government Act will be amended to:

  •  Empower the Corporate and Business Registration Department to collect trade fees on  account of local authorities;
  • Extend the suspension of trade fees of Rs 5,000 and below for another period of 3 years;
  • Remove the requirement of trade fees for all business activities which are regulated by the Tourism Authority; and
  • Harmonise trade fees across all local authorities

(ii) The Business Registration Act will be amended to provide for transfer of the trade fees to the respective local authority on a monthly basis.

 

Ensuring Efficiency and Higher Degree of Compliance with Construction Permitting

  • The Local Government Act and the Building Control Act will be amended to provide that application for Building and Land Use Permit (BLUP) for a building having floor area above 150 m2 should be made through the National Electronic Licensing System
  • The processing fees for plan approval from utilities will be removed
  • The requirement for the Local Authority to seek clearance of the Mauritius Fire and Rescue Service on a BLUP under the Local Government Act will be exempted.
  • Guidelines will also be introduced by the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) to provide for riskbased inspections of construction sites.

Streamlining of Licensing Procedures

(i) The Mauritius Qualifications Authority Act and its Regulations will be amended to:

  • Eliminate the registration requirement for managers, trainers and programme officers;
  • Eliminate the requirement for approval from the Mauritius Qualifications Authority (MQA) for a Non-Award course; and
  • Empower the Director of the MQA to grant final approval for the issue of a license.

(ii) The Tourism Authority Regulations will be amended to provide for payment of license fees on an instalment basis for a period of 3, 6, 9 and 12 months

(iii) The Excise Act will be amended to streamline the licensing process for the manufacture and import of excisable goods by:

  • removing police inspection and clearance for proposed premises for the manufacturing unit; and
  • Introducing timelines for the determination of a license application.

(iv) The Occupational Safety and Health (Employees’ Lodging Accommodation) Regulations will be amended by repealing the Lodging Accommodation Permit, in an effort to streamline and reduce the effective time for the processing and issue of a work permit.

 

2. Align with international best practices regarding protection of minority investors and sharing of information

 

Increasing Protection to Minority Investors

(i) The Securities Act will be amended to ensure immediate disclosure to the public if the  transaction has a value of at least 10% of the Company’s assets;

(ii) The Companies Act will:

  • be amended such that individual compensation of directors are disclosed in the annual report;
  • be amended such that dividend declared by the Board is paid within a maximum period of 15 months subject to solvency test; and
  • allow disqualification of a director upon a successful claim by shareholders

(iii) The Listing Rules will be reviewed to provide for the requirement of obtaining shareholders’ approval for Related Party Transactions, where the percentage ratios as specified in the Rules, represent 10% or more.

(iv) The Insolvency Act will be amended to allow an administrator to call separate meetings for different classes of creditors. The Creditors shall vote separately, and the Administrator shall ensure equal treatment for each class. The Administrator shall also ensure that creditors are not worse off than they would have been in a liquidation.

 

Expediting Dispute Resolutions

  • The Income Tax Act will be amended such that parties attempting a mediation or a conciliation or an arbitration be allowed a deduction from taxable income of an amount equivalent to 150% of the case filing fee.

 

3. Trade Facilitation

 

Facilitate issue of import and export permit

  • All applications for import and export permit will be made electronically through TradeNet.
  • A statutory time frame will be introduced for authorised officers of regulatory agencies to issue a permit.
  • In cases where verification or testing of goods will be required, the authorised officer will issue the permit within a defined timeframe after the verification of the good or from the receipt of the test report.

Logistic performance :

  • Cargo Handling Corporation Ltd will implement an electronic payment system to expedite the payment process
  • The Mauritius Port Authority will reduce the cut-off time from 24 hours to 12 hours for compliant traders for export consignment.
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