BIZweek n°244 11 jun 2019
BIZweek n°244 11 jun 2019
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  • Parution : n°244 de 11 jun 2019

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MARDI 11 JUIN 2019 BIZWEEK ÉDITION 244 Boosting private investment A new Business Facilitation Bill willamend 26 legislations. Amendments will concern, amongst others, elimination of unnecessary licences and permits as wellas expedite clearances at the port and airport. Support to the sugarcane industry The government will waive the amount due by small planters under the Field Operations Regrouping Project (FORIP) Scheme, as wellas 50 percent of the advance on fertilizers provided to planters through the Mauritius Cane Industry Authority (MCIA). The insurance premium paid to the Sugar Insurance Fund Board by planters producingup to 60 tons of sugar is also being waived for Crop 2019. Furthermore, the MCIA will meet the shortfallarising from the suspension of CESS payments for Crop 2019. For crop 2019, all planters will benefit from a special unprecedented price of Rs 25,000 per ton of sugar for the first 60 tons of sugar accrued to them. Revitalising the manufacturing sector The Economic Development Board (EDB) has enlisted the services of « Idea Foundry » from USA to propose the most appropriate technology and processes required to foster a new ecosystem to adapt to the modern requirements of the international market. EDB willalso seek investors and strategic partners, with the support of the ISP Ltd, to re-engineer and re-capitalise Re-dynamizing tourism companies that tend to close down because they cannot easily find buyers or because they do not have any succession planning. A more productive Ocean Economy The daily rate of bad weather allowance for fishermen will be increased from Rs 310 to Rs 340. A full-fledged stock assessment in our waters will be conducted to better manage and protect species such as lobsters, squid and other small commercial pelagic fish. A four-year tax holiday will be granted on income derived from bunkering of low Sulphur Heavy Fuel Oil. Building on our financial services The government plans to establish a new framework for fund administration and fund management ; to revamp the existing Special Purpose Fund regime to ease access to new markets ; and the Financial Services Commission (FSC) will enter into an agreement with the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City to recognise Mauritian licensed funds and management companies as qualified to operate in the Gujarat jurisdiction as well. A new trading platformwill be developed at the Stock Exchange of Mauritius to allow medium sized profitable enterprises that do not qualify for listing on the official and DEM markets to raise capital and trade their shares. A ‘single-window system’will be setup at the FSC to allow for submission of documents for financial services and global business applications. An allocation of Rs 535 million will be given to the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority and an additional Rs 160 million to re-dynamize the Shanghai and Kenya routes. The MTPA will reinforce the visibility of the Mauritius destination in traditional markets as wellas in China, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Scandinavian countries, Ireland and Eastern Europe. Government will incentivise the development of marinas. Accordingly, regulations will be published for the operations of commercial marinas ; a yacht code will be introduced ; an 8-year income tax holiday will be granted to a newly set-up company developing a marina ; and VAT exemption will be provided on the construction of marinas. LA TOUR For health, the vulnerable and our elderly The government is providing Rs 200 million for implementing a Medical Insurance Scheme for public sector employees. For those earning less than Rs 10,000, Government will pay fully the insurance premium. For those earning more than Rs 10,000, Government will contribute 50 percent of the premium. The budget for the public health sector is thus being increased from Rs 12.2 billion to Rs 13.1 billion. Rs 10 million will be provided under the National CSR Foundation for the settingup of a Fortified Learning Environment Unit. This is another concept that is being introduced in our education system to better support vulnerable children and raise their performance standards. To meet the need of low-income families, 6,000 units will be constructed on 16 sites around the country over the next three years, with necessary amenities. These will be in high rise buildings with a maximum of 6 floors. The government will raise the threshold value of bare land that a first-time buyer may acquire, free of registration duty, to build a house. The exemption willapply on the first Rs 2.5 million of land value instead of on the first Rs 2 million, provided the acreage does not exceed 20 perches. This would represent an additional benefit ofup to Rs 25,000 per buyer. No registration duty will be payable on a secured housing loan for an amount not exceeding Rs 2.5 million, instead of the current threshold of Rs 2 million. Government will issue two Silver Bonds for our elderly, offering an annual interest rate of 5.5 percent to increase return on savings and also to encourage savings towards retirement. Another increase of Rs 500 on the monthly Basic Retirement Pension will be implemented as from January 2020, to bring the old age pension to Rs 6 710. Public Companies and Statutory Bodies will be required to have at least one woman on their board of directors. The aim is to have a fair gender balance on the board. The Companies Act and the Statutory Bodies (Accounts and Audit) Act will be amended accordingly. The CEB is finalising a new Integrated Electricity Plan 2020 – 2030 to secure adequate supply over that period and beyond. That plan willalso integrate the use of renewable energy sources for electricity production. The government is lowering the rate of excise duty on an electric car of more than 180 kilowatt from 25 to 15 percent. « In the same vein, I am reducing the excise duty on a plug-in hybrid car. The reductions will be in the range of 5 to 15 percent, depending on cylinder capacity », said Finance Minister. Another Rs 300 million will be invested over the next 3 years to increase support under the Water Tank Scheme to reach out to an additional 37,500 households. The income eligibility threshold under that scheme will be raised from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000. These households willalso benefit from a grant of Rs 8,000 instead of Rs 5,000 for the purchase a water pump. A special provision of Rs 50 million has been made in this Budget for meeting, inter alia, expenses relating to the preparation for eventual resettlement on some of the islands of the Chagos Archipelago. A Land Research and Monitoring Unit and a Special Fund will be setup under the Ministry of Housing and Lands. An amount of Rs 50 million has been earmarked for that Fund to see justice restored in the cases of dispossession of land highlighted before the Truth and Justice Commission. Encouraging our enterprises The government plans to increase maximum loan amount under the existing DBM Micro-Credit Loan Scheme from Rs 250,000 to Rs 500,000 for micro enterprises. The government is also extending the suspension of trade fees ofup to Rs 5,000 for another period of 3 years. More than 300,000 businesses will benefit from this measure this year. Enterprises having annual turnover not exceeding Rs 10 million and engaged in specific activities such as manufacturing or trading of goods will be given the option to pay 1 percent of its turnover as final income tax on its businessincome or file the normal income tax returns. A new category of enterprises, namely the Mid-Market Enterprises (MME) with annual turnover between Rs 50 million and Rs 250 million, will be created. Improving the rights of workers A new Workers’Rights Bill will be introduced shortly. The Bill will provide, among others, a new mechanism for computation of gratuity which will recognise the full length of service of a worker irrespective of the number of employers he has worked for. The proposed Workers’Rights Bill willalso provide for a Wage Guarantee Fund which will guarantee remunerationup to Rs 50,000 to workers who lose their jobs in case of insolvency. Towards more efficiency The provision for overseas mission costs for ministries and departments will be reduced from Rs 160 million to Rs 120 million. The Valuation Office will be transferred to the Ministry of Housing and Lands for greater coherence in the cases of compulsory acquisition of lands. The e-health project will soon be implemented as a major reformin the public health sector so that data on the medical history of patients are available to all hospitals across the country in real time. Government will make available online facilities for the following  : delivery of free copies of birth and marriage certificates ; application for enrolment of children in primary and secondary schools ; searching information on land titles ; registering of vehicles ; and making application for SC and HSC examinations by private candidates. 4
MARDI 11 JUIN 2019 BIZWEEK ÉDITION 244 CHRISTINE LAGARDE MANAGING DIRECTOR INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND Opening Remarks at the G20 High Level Seminar « Our Future in the Digital Age » Fukuoka, Japan POST SCRIPTUM IMF G20 HIGH LEVEL SEMINAR The Next Steps for International Cooperation in Fintech I would like to thank Japan’s Financial Services Agency for the opportunity to participate in this session focused on the important topic of our future in the digital age. It is appropriate that we are launching our discussion in Fukuoka. Why ? Because Fukuoka is Japan’s start-up city. In each of the last three years more companies have been started in Fukuoka than nearly anywhere else in Japan. And here in Japan — and in Asia more broadly — is where both the peril and promise of fintech have revealed themselves. It is in Asia where innovations in digital payments and verification systems first became mainstream. But it is also in Asia where we first saw the darker side of fintech, with concerns for consumer protection and privacy concerns bubbling to the surface years ago. Asia, like the rest of the world, is facing a defining moment  : How to manage the risks of fintech without suffocating innovation ; how to keepup with rapid fintech innovation, while making sure consumers and investors feel secure in their investments. Technology always has, and always will, spur innovation in finance. The question is whether these innovations will benefit all, or only a select few. If handled correctly, fintech can cut the cost of utilizing financial tools and enable millions to fulfill their aspirations of building a better life. That is why I believeit is our shared responsibility to create a safe, sound, sustainable and inclusive financial system, protected from criminal abuse. The Bali Fintech Agenda How can the IMF help with such an enormous task ? Last year, at the request of our membership, the IMF and the World Bank developed the Bali Fintech Agenda. This agenda identifies twelve priorities that countries and other international organizations should focus on in the fintech space. We then surveyed our members about these elements and 96 countries participated. Our findings will be released in a new joint IMF-World Bank paper coming later this month and this afternoon I would like to share with you a few highlights. A sneak peak, if you will. First, countries overwhelmingly see fintech as transformative for financial inclusion. They recognize that inclusion plays a key role in promoting growth, opening access for poor and rural communities through lower costs, and facilitating women’s participation in the formal economy. Indeed, as IMF research shows, fintech has helped to close the inclusion gender gap in some countries, but not everywhere. Gaps in access to technology are one explanation, but even when accessis equal, there appears to be lower usage by women. For example, in Egypt, Ethiopia, and India, men are 20 percentage points more likely than women to have their own phone ; in Bangladesh, men are 22 percentage points more likely than women to have a mobile money account. Women also tend to use digital services less than men, at least in some countries, possibly due to social norms, or issues related to affordability and financial literacy. That is why we believeincreasing financial literacy can play a key role in generating higher gender participation in every economy. Second, countries are asking for greater international cooperation in fintech  : Nearly 80% mentioned cybersecurity as their most important priority ; Around 60% listed anti-money laundering legal and regulatory frameworks ; Another 40% cited payment systems including across borders. I should note that these issues are already being discussed in the various international forums in which IMF staff participates, but countries want to see swifter progress. For example, crypto-assets have been in use for several years, but even among the countries of the G20, there is no consensus on their regulatory treatment. The same is true about another issue discussed in our review — market concentration. A significant disruption to the financial landscape is likely to come from the big tech firms, who willuse their enormous customer bases and deep pockets to offer financial products based on big data and artificial intelligence. These developments hold out the promise of accelerating inclusion and modernizing financial markets, but raise, in addition to privacy issues, competition and market concentration concerns, both of which could lead to vulnerabilities in the financial system. China’s technology industry is a prime example of this trade-off between benefits and challenges. Over the last five years, technology growth in China has been extremely successful and allowed millions of new entrants to benefit from access to financial products and the creation of high-quality jobs. But it has also led to two firms controlling more than 90% of the mobile payments market. This presents a unique systemic challenge to financial stability and efficiency, and one I hope we can touch on during the G20, and addressin a cooperative and consistent fashion. Conclusion So, let me conclude. Everyone here, and many around the world, recognize that it is critical to continue the international dialogue on fintech. It is not as easy as it seems. Integrating different national approaches to crypto-assets, non-bank fintech intermediaries, and the governance of data is crucial if we are to harness fintech’s potential to promote greater financial inclusion and development. Yet at the same time, we have to find a way to preserve financial stability and integrity, protect consumers, and increase financial literacy. Here, we can draw inspiration from the famous Japanese proverb  : Walk across the stone bridge only after you have tested its strength. We will cross the bridge, together, into the fintech future. But we will only do so once we are confident that the bridge is safe and secure. Events like the one organized today are a critical part of this process. I congratulate our hosts and the Government of Japan for taking on this important initiative. The IMF is proud to be your partner. Thank you very much. Domo Arigato ! 5

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