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Sunday, April 21, 2024

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“2023 Is The Year Of Stability For The Mauritian Rupee” – Insists Renganaden Padayachy

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The Minister of Finance chaired the Public-Private Joint Committee in Ebene on Monday. In a statement to the press, he commented the depreciation of the rupee. For him, this is a normal phenomenon as the country is gradually emerging from a major crisis. Dr Padayachy insists that the Central Bank is closely monitoring the situation before adding that 2023 will be the year during which the Mauritian rupee will be stabilised. This, he says, will help control local inflation and thus, stabilize commodity prices. The Minister of Finance also commented on the interim order of the COMESA Court of Justice suspending the subsidy that the Mauritian government is giving to the State Trading Corporation to sell SMATCH brand oil at Rs 75 per litre pending the hearing and determination of the appeal. He insisted that the government will find a way to continue proposing the SMATCH brand oil at Rs 75.

Yesterday afternoon, the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr Renganaden Padayachy, met stakeholders of different sectors. First meeting was with local artists, to discuss the way forward for cultural and creative sectors in the context of the pre-budget consultations 2023-2024.

Public-Private Joint Committee in Ebene
Public-Private Joint Committee in Ebene

In a statement, the dancer and choreographer, Mr Stephen Bongarçon, highlighted that the meeting with the Finance Minister was very fruitful and productive. He stated that it was an occasion for local artists to apprise the Minister of the challenges they are currently facing and to propose measures in the arts and cultural heritage sector for the forthcoming budget. One of the proposals, according to him, is to put theatres at the disposal of artists so as to enable them to showcase their talents. Mr Clélie also expressed hope that the upcoming budget will respond to the aspirations of local artists.

The Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr Renganaden Padayachy, held discussions with stakeholders of the tourism sector, this afternoon in Port-Louis. The representatives of various organisations including the Association of Tourism Professionals, Association of Tourist Operators, Tourism Promotion Association, Federation of Pleasure Craft Operators, Association of Inbound Operators, Association of Leisure Operators, and Association des Agences de Locations Saisonières, were present.

Mauritian artists
Mauritian artists

In a statement after the meeting, the President of the Association of Inbound Operators of Mauritius, Mr Bruno Lebreux, lauded this Governmental initiative and said that he had an excellent discussion with the Finance Minister.He pointed out that all the stakeholders had the opportunity to bring forward recommendations that would be beneficial to the tourism sector.

One of the suggestions made by the Association of Inbound Operators of Mauritius pertains to the use of electric vehicles in line with the principle of Sustainable Mauritius, which he stressed, will help to promote green tourism in the country.

The Minister also listens to proposals from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Association des Hôteliers et Restaurateurs de l’Ile Maurice (AHRIM), Mr Jocelyn Kwok, and the President of Association des Hôtels de Charme, Mr Bissoon Mungroo, in the context of the pre-budget consultations 2023-2024. Mr Kwok expressed satisfaction with regard to the support provided during the COVID-19 pandemic. Discussions, he pointed out, focused on competitiveness which, he said, will lead to better air connectivity and a greater number of tourists in the country. The increase in air connectivity in terms of enhancing the quality of the product, including activities and accommodation, was put forth during the meeting, he mentioned.

Private sector table
Private sector table

The challenges of a sustainable tourism industry and the need for a unified and consolidated sector to address challenges were also highlighted by the CEO of AHRIM.

He moreover suggested that renewed consideration should be given to hotels during renovation periods in terms of payment of charges and rent. The increase of 28% in electricity tariff as from 01 February 2023, he remarked, is however impacting the hotel industry and needs to be reconsidered.

Furthermore, Mr Kwok underlined that the objective of reaching the target of 1.4 million tourists for year 2023 is achievable, while adding that the operation of Vistara airline will consolidate the set target. He also observed that the performance of tourist arrivals in January 2023 is better as compared to the same period in 2022.

Mr Mungroo, for his part, stated that measures such as the Wage Assistance Scheme put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic has been beneficial and has enabled the industry to restart its activities.

He listed some key points raised during the meeting such as the lack of manpower and hotels in need of renovation. He also proposed the provision of a loan of 3% to hotels for renovation purposes and to enable hotels to benefit from duty-free vehicles.

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