BIZweek n°303 14 aoû 2020
BIZweek n°303 14 aoû 2020
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  • Parution : n°303 de 14 aoû 2020

  • Périodicité : hebdomadaire

  • Editeur : Capital Publications Ltd

  • Format : (260 x 370) mm

  • Nombre de pages : 7

  • Taille du fichier PDF : 1,7 Mo

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VENDREDI 14 AOÛT 2020 BIZWEEK ÉDITION 303 « Mauritius is now beyond day-to-day challenges and is going through gigantic challenges, whose economic consequences are yet to be seen in the future ». These were the concluding words of Akshar Maherally, Managing Director of WTS Mauritius, at the webinar organized by Penresa together with Forbes Africa as media partner. Nevertheless, Matthew Scott Rose’s (the moderator) guest speakers gave some positive insights into what makes Mauritius a « leading investment destination ». Especially since the country has recently been ranked as a high-income economy by the World Bank. Question  : Over the years, Mauritius has become a thriving investment hub. Can you give an insight into the strategies which have been implemented to appeal to investors ? Dr Rama Sithanen (Chairman and Director of SANNE Mauritius)  : Firstly, we have a combination of the right ecosystem, adapting and adjusting to changing circumstances. We have built expertise and acquired experience. Secondly, there is the software, that is, the political and social stability of the country which offers certainty, predictability and stability to the global business sector. We work very hard to improve the Ease of Doing Business and reduce the costs to become more competitive. We have also signed many agreements, which make us competitive in terms of taxation and help to protect companies investing in Mauritius from risks of nationalization. We have abolished foreign exchange controls to allow easy exchange of capital. There is no restriction as in other countries, but we do things within the parameters of the law. Mauritius is an excellent platformfor cross-border investments and we have good functioning institutions although there are challenges from time to time. Q  : You have mentioned taxation, how Mauritius strives to be competitive and adopt tax policies in line with international regulations. How is Mauritius adopting these best practices, and how are investors being protected ? Sanjiv Bhasin (Chief Executive Officer, AfrAsia Bank)  : My starting point would be – regarding the success story as an International Financial Centre – that Mauritius has always been compliant with international standards. Mauritius must have been compliant, otherwise it would not be enjoying the status it has today. The regulatory bodies here have always tried to be relevant and in compliance with evolving standards. We have signed, amongst others, the Base Erosion Profit Shifting (BEPS) agreement with the OECD. You cannot find Mauritius shine away from standards setup by the OECD. Q  : Regarding tax treaties and BEPS, Mauritius has been renegotiating its treaties with Senegal and Zambia. What is the way forward as Mauritius tries to unite with Africa ? Akshar Maherally  : As concerns the tax treaties renegotiations, it is part of the life cycle of tax treaties, and not necessarily a bad thing. We should clarify the situation. The treaties themselves are not being questioned. They are based on the OECD model, and signed by both governments at their own free will. From an economic perspective, changes and renegotiations happen. The Senegal and Zambia are unhappy about the terms of the tax treaty, especially the sharing of the taxing rights. Mauritius should be positive about these. It is important to note that the mere fact that a government wants a treaty to be renegotiated means that it is still ready or still want our two countries to be bonded by a treaty. The Zambia cabinet made it clear that they want discussions about it and keep the treaty albeit on different terms. We need to adapt and get going. Q  : In terms of human capital, there seems to be a lack of specialists such as investment bankers, wealth and asset managers… Dr Rama Sithanen  : There are many ways of handling this issue. We have gained experience. Nevertheless, we need to create an ecosystem to attract large banks to invest, and openup the country for expats who will share their expertise. We have done so to some extent already. The last Budget exercise made provisions and provided incentives to attract the Mauritian diaspora. We need furthermore to train our own people and expose them to challenges of the global business sector. So, it is a combination of learning, openingup the country, training and attracting the diaspora. LA TOUR WEBINAR – BY PENRESA AND FORBES AFRICA Why is Mauritius Still A Leading Investment Destination ? Mauritius has recently set the record in Africa for being ranked as a high-income economy by the World Bank. Penresa and media partner Forbes Africa hosted a webinar on Wednesday 12th of August to unravel the strategies implemented which have positioned Mauritius as one of the fastest-growing wealth markets. Matthew Scott Rose, the moderator, welcomedDr Rama Sithanen, Chairman and Director of SANNE Mauritius, Sanjiv Bhasin, Chief Executive Officer of AfrAsia Bank and Akshar Maherally, Managing Director of WTS Mauritius Q  : The finance sector represents 12% of the Gross Domestic Product. Is there a shake-up as concerns the coronavirus for the banking and finance sectors ? Sanjiv Bhasin  : Everybody is impacted. No economy has been spared. Most countries, from a macro level perspective, are trying to save jobs and businesses so there is no crisis. The government, in Mauritius, has reacted quickly and positively through measures like the wage support scheme. The challenge now is what next. I believeeverybody’s business model will change. All existing businesses will have to rethink their models more in terms of cost containment. Adoption of digital platforms will increase. Businesses are ready for it, but not necessarily all customers. Fundamentally, all businesses will have to be flexible to market changes and implement strategies to react quickly. The Mauritian banking system is very robust and healthy. Going forward – I don’t think anybody can predict – the sector will remain robust and capable of absorbing, but all depends on how businesses will be ready. It is difficult to predict from 12 to 18 months from now. Q  : Does the panel has any comment on the European Union black list and the FATF grey list ? Dr Rama Sithanen  : Of course, it affects our jurisdiction because of the reputational risk. To be frank, we are not happy the way this has happened. There should have been more discussions and dialogue before including us on the list. As we are talking now, business continues. The fact that we are on the grey list of FATF and black list of the EU attracts unwanted attention. The government is currently in conversation with the FATF and the EU to comply with the rules laid down. Five issues had been flagged. Committees have already been setup to look into these. We are technically compliant but we are being accused in regards to the effectiveness. Q  : In light of recent events, does anyone in the panel has any word, and tell why Mauritius is stilla destination for investment ? Sanjiv Bhasin  : It is very difficult to find anything wrong with Mauritius. One thing, in my opinion, is that Mauritius has been able to preserve things which are most important for an economy and promotes a robust and proactive association between government and the private sector. The Public Private Partnership (PPP) is on display in Mauritius full time. As regards the recent event, all citizens were willing to help with the oil spill. This is Mauritius’greatest strength. Dr Rama Sithanen  : We could have prevented the shipwreck and the oil spill with more preparedness, reaction and mobilization of resources. But the nation as a whole has reacted promptly to mitigate the impact. Secondly, even though in the long termMauritius will do well, we are facing a difficult situation with the public health emergency, its impact on the economy since Mauritius is an open economy, the blacklist and grey list and now the ecological disaster. These are challenging times for Mauritius in the next 2 – 3 years. But we have come far to reach a high Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita. Going forward, if we provide more stability and certainty, we can progress more. Akshar Maherally  : Mauritius is now beyond day-to-day challenges and is going through gigantic challenges whose economic consequences are yet to be seen in the future. The great solidarity shown by the population in regards to the oil spill brings lots of hope for the country. We now need to target a decent growth rate in the years to come, to attract foreign investors and ensure our sustainability. 3

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