The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Jugnauth, presented the Budget 2016-2017 this Friday, July 29, 2016 at the National Assembly.
During the Budget speech, the Minister of Finance laid a particular emphasis on the national and international economic context, as well as the urgency to develop innovative measures to give new momentum to the country's economy and allow it to face forthcoming challenges. Investment (domestic and foreign) thus remains one of the main pillars of this budget with objective to increase economic growth rate, create skilled jobs, improving the quality of life of the population and reduce absolute poverty.
Simplification of Occupational Permit procedures (Investors, Self-employed and retired)
Initially, the government wants to improve the Mauritian business climate by simplifying procedures for foreign investors and retirees wishing to settle in the country. Indeed, an online system will be set up so as to review formalities relating to application of the Occupational Permit.
Henceforth, foreign investors will not have to register their company and transfer funds in advance, provided that it meets certain criteria. The application for the Occupational Permit will be validated following checks on the person. Upon approval, applicants will have to travel to Mauritius to fill the remaining administrative formalities for the issue of the Occupational or Resident Permit. Moreover, an applicant may complete a single form for himself and his dependents.
Foreign investment - scales
Foreign investment prospects will also be extended. An investor will thus have to justify a turnover of Rs 2 million for the first year and a net cumulative turnover of Rs 10 million for two consecutive years. A foreign investor already operating in Mauritius for at least 3 years preceding the Occupational Permit application without having registered their company with the Board of Investment (BOI) will require a cumulative turnover of Rs 2 million for at least one year.
In order to speed up strategic investments in innovative projects, under certain conditions, the government plans to introduce the Regulatory Sandbox License (RSL) concept which already exists in Australia, UK and Singapore. Approvals, permits and licenses will be issued by the Board of Investment following consultation with relevant ministries.
Acquisition of commercial property
Changes will also be brought to the acquisition of commercial properties by non-residents who do not hold more than 25% of shares. They will no longer have to request for the approval of the Prime Minister's office in the case of ownership transfer. In addition, an electronic version of the Business Registration Card will be issued.
On the other hand, non-residents registered with the BOI may acquire apartments and commercial property. The Non-citizens (Property Restrictions Act) will be amended accordingly.
Measures impacting on your everyday life
Among measures that are likely to affect your daily life in Mauritius, you have a decrease in the price of household gas cylinders from Rs 330 to Rs 270. A rise of 5% applies to the tax on beer, 10% on alcohol, 15 to 30% on rum and whiskey and 25% on cigarette prices. In return, the 10% tax on recreation will be abolished. Electric cars will also be exempt from duty.
Cereals, photovoltaic panels, batteries and CCTV cameras and other monitoring equipment will be exempt from value added tax (VAT).
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So what do you think about these measures? Feel free to share your views.
Thank you in advance for your contribution.