The PTr’s weekly press conference on Friday 10 June served to draw attention to the 2022/23 Budget presented on 7 June by the Finance Minister, Dr Renganaden Padayachy. Dr Navin Ramgoolam went back over several points, including the various strategies of the State but especially, the allocations of Rs 1000 and Rs 2000 which he described as a bluff by the Finance Minister.
The illusory Rs 1000
“There is no transparency in the presentation of the Budget. There is a duty in presenting a budget, which is to tell the truth, not to manipulate the figures and to say where the money is going to be borrowed from. There is no economic strategy for the country that supports the announcements and measures said. He has done worse than all of them, he has hidden the truth from the population,” Navin Ramgoolam denounced.
“He said that the Budget of Padayachy will not restore the purchasing power of Mauritians,” said the leader of the Reds. He explained that the Rs 1000 to workers does not address the real problem of Mauritians and that in the long run, there will be a price to pay, “It is a mirage budget that he has put in front of us. It does not help the purchasing power of Mauritians. The poor and the middle class are in trouble.” He went on to make a comparison of the products and some of the most used brands. “These Rs 1000 and Rs 2000 are illusory and will soon disappear with the prices of foodstuffs, medicines and other products becoming more and more expensive. All these predictions, especially about inflation, will not be accurate once again.” Speaking of the inevitable increases, Dr Ramgoolam recalled that more than 75% of all products are imported and briefly explained the global reality and the prices charged for freight and other items.
No Macroeconomic Plan
Padayachy did not make a macroeconomic plan. He hid behind the IMF and World Bank forecasts. His forecasts will be over 8.5% and his forecasts on public debts have exceeded 100%. He predicts 1.4 million tourists, “but I estimate we won’t get even half that”. Coming back to the Rs 1000 and Rs 2000 gifts, he drew attention to the fact that for the last two years, there has been no decrease in practically anything and increases have followed one after another. Regarding the Rs 1000 to employees, he revealed “it comes from the CSG fund! It will give back what the employees have contributed“. He also warned that the price of electricity will soar.
On the subject of the land scandal, Navin Ramgoolam detailed that the middle class will be excluded from the Property Ladder. “The big landowners will not go into Food Security but convert their land into residential, which will be sold to foreigners at over Rs 15 million.” He argued that self-sufficiency will be possible only if these big landowners are developed into agriculture.
A Budget for some relatives
Navin Ramgoolam also denounced that many measures are ‘Copy & Paste’ of his former manifestos: “Pensions, abolition of municipal taxes, Rs 15,000 in subsidies to young people in employment…“. He ended on the point of Duty Free on cars which he said will benefit the biggest! “This Budget is not by the People and For the People but for certain relatives. Where is he going to get these 22 billion?” he said. He promised that his running mates will debate all the non-concordant points during the parliamentary sessions. The PTr leader maintained that in the event that the PTr returns to the helm of the country, he will introduce “a law on fiscal responsibility in order to get the country out of bankruptcy“.