Dear Clients and Business Partners,
Further to our two previous communiques, we would like to share with you the latest updates on the situation related to COVID-19 in Mauritius. Since our last Communique, the government of Mauritius has decided to extend the lockdown until the 15th of April and has taken some important measures. As at date Mauritius has registered 273 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
In light of the lockdown, exceptional measures have been taken by both the business community, the regulatory bodies and the Government of Mauritius in order to encourage business continuity, relieve the population of non-essential activities, ease deadlines, to limit the economic threats, and assist the population in focusing their efforts towards containing the spread of the virus.
Measures for the Financial Sector
The Financial Services Commission in Mauritius has on the 30th of March published an update (FSC update 30 March) regarding the conduct of the Global Business sector during the curfew period. It is noted that the Commission will be applying a flexible approach to the compliance towards filing and reporting obligations falling strictly during this period of lockdown. The reporting period has been extended till the 30 June 2020.
Simultaneously, the filing deadline for global business transactions of 31st of March 2020, which occurred during the curfew has also been extended till 30 June 2020. However, it is to be noted that deadline of 31st of March 2020 for outstanding businesses from previous years which are in non-compliance with regulatory requirements will not be extended.
The Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM) which was closed for business during the initial curfew imposed on the 20th of March has resumed from temporary cessation. The Trading and settlement activities on SEM and CDS have therefore resumed.
The Bank of Mauritius has informed the banking community through an update dated 25 March 2020 that the provision of banking services by domestic commercial banks will be maintained and banks will stay open in the current context, subject to specific conditions.
Other key measures announced by the Bank of Mauritius in a previous update dated 23 March 2020 are as follows:
Support to households
- Existing loans from commercial banks will have a special moratorium with regards to capital repayments.
- The Bank of Mauritius will bear the interest payable on outstanding households’ loans for those having a combined monthly basic salary of Rs 50,000. Period of support is from 1st of April till 30 June 2020.
Special Foreign Currency (USD) Line of Credit
- USD 300 million have been earmarked to support operators including SMEs having foreign currency earnings with terms of repayment within two years.
Swap arrangement to support import-oriented businesses
- USD 100 million have been earmarked. The effective period is from the 24th of March to 30th of June 2020.
Shared ATM Services
- There will be no fees payable temporarily for users of ATM machines which do not belong to their issuers.
A National COVID-19 Solidarity fund has been launched to which the European Union has contributed Rs 11,3 M. The purpose of this fund is to take care of Mauritian workforce and of the community particularly in a context of pressure on the resources. The objectives of this fund are;
- Financing of projects, programs and schemes related to the COVID-19 virus and other related public health issues;
- Provide financial support to persons residing in Mauritius and organizations being affected by the COVID-19 virus; and
- Provide assistance in such other circumstances related to the COVID-19 virus as the Minister may approve.
There has been the introduction of two schemes in collaboration with the Mauritius Revenue Authority as follows;
Introduction of a Self-Employed Assistance Scheme (SEAS) for eligible self-employed individuals and trades persons who will receive a financial support of Rs 5,100 during the lock down.
Introduction of a Wage Assistance Scheme (GWAS) for the private sector ensuring full remuneration for the month of March 2020, applicable to Mauritian and foreign employees, and subject to a prescribed table of assistance. Registered employees in Mauritius who work for Global Business Companies will also benefit from this support.
COVID-19 Committees set by Business Mauritius
Business Mauritius is an independent association of more than 1200 local enterprises and an eminent voice of the local businesses. To assess the impact of COVID-19 on the social and economical ongoing concerns, the association has set up 6 committees are as follows:
- The Economy Recovery Committee will work on short and medium-term recommendations for economic recovery which will include the formulation and implementation of economic strategies.
- The Cross Border Logistic Committee will look after the flow of cross border logistics either it be at the airport or through the port operations. With curfews affecting most countries from where supply and demands of products have dropped or surged, it is quite a challenge to find the equilibrium or at least maintain the essential supplies.
- The Food, Necessary Supplies and Energy Committee caters for the supply of food to the population in a structured manner and in the most appropriate living conditions. The strategies will unlock several avenues to create a fair system of distribution of food and essential supplies to stay safe.
- The Health Committee focus on building capacity for the healthcare sector with the aim of strengthening the coordination and potential partnership between the Public Sector and the business community in order to optimise the country’s resilience in its fight against Covid-19
- Human Resources Committee has the double objective of providing support to guide members on people management issues during the pandemic and to look into employment policies which would prepare the business community for the best possible economic recovery.
- Communication Committee
Business Mauritius is also exploring other avenues to optimize the support provided to Mauritians in these unprecedented moments.
DTOS wishes to inform its clients and business partners that our goal is to accompany you on the long term and to assist you during this crisis period. Our plans to work remotely have been running smoothly since the start of the lockdown and feedbacks from all concurrent teams are encouraging. We thank our clients and business partners for their understanding whilst they remain an important part of this process to make it happen. We shall continue to inform you about the status of COVID-19 in Mauritius and provide insights on its impact within our industry through regular updates. Should you have any query or require any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. We shall be pleased to assist.
Sources & Useful links
- DTOS communiques
- Regulatory Bodies and institutions
Date of Publication: 9 April 2020