The Prime Minister was the last to speak on the budget, before the Minister of Finance did his summing-up. Pravind Jugnauth spoke about a series of issues. First, on election petitions, he said he never criticized the election commission or the election commissioner when he was not elected in 2005. “I never pointed fingers at the judiciary or the judiciary after I lost a case in court,” he said.
Referring to the comments of some opposition leaders, who would have asked the population to take to the streets, Pravind Jugnauth said that we must not forget that the streets “also belong to those who continue to trust my government. For him, it is necessary to pay attention to the wishes of this silent majority. “These people are not going to accept that the country should fall into chaos. Some would be ill-advised to interpret the silence of the majority of the population as weakness,” he said. For Pravind Jugnauth, all the opposition has in mind is to destabilize the government.
This budget, he said, will restore the purchasing power of Mauritians. “My government has always given great importance to purchasing power. We have increased the purchasing power of Mauritians as it has never been done before,” said the PM. More than Rs 115 billion have been “put in the pockets of households”, he said, adding that the government has spent Rs 27 billion to “save and protect lives” under Covid-19. Because of the price hike due to the war in Ukraine, the government added “a subsidy of Rs 1.5 billion to keep the prices of the most consumed products at an acceptable level. Then, in this budget, there are Rs 12 billion to support the lower and middle class.
Earlier, he said that the government is always looking to improve the quality of life of the people. And this, regardless of the situation. “We have systematically paid the wage compensation,” he said. The Prime Minister added that without the pandemic, Mauritius would have remained in the high-income category.
The Prime Minister also recalled that it was this government that introduced the minimum wage. According to him, the Generalized Social Contribution (CSG) has allowed to grant Rs 1,000 per month to 350,000 employees and 169,000 people over 65 years. Since 2019, those aged 60 to 65 years have seen their pension increase by 69% and those over 65 years by 77%.
He also mentioned the extension of the pension to Muslim widows whose religious marriage had not been registered until now. For him, this was something that should have been done a long time ago. He insisted that the government has already analyzed the legal scope. “This is justice for these people,” he said.
Regarding the racing industry, Pravind Jugnauth approved the measures taken. “There will no longer be a monopoly. Never again will a racing organizer be able to hold the racing industry hostage. Never again will anyone be able to gang up and act like a state within a state. This industry has enormous economic potential. It cannot remain the preserve of a small group,” he said. He also accused the MMM of defending Jean-Michel Giraud. The Prime Minister suggested that the latter would have made a financial arrangement to finance the MMM.