GIS - 3 Avril 2015: Government is laying much emphasis on the protection of consumers in the quest to address the issue with regards to Mauritians becoming more and more a nation of consumers and much less a nation of producers of goods and services with the proliferation of hypermarkets and shopping malls.
On this score, a series of measures have been spelt out in Budget 2015-2016 to further protect consumers. They are
· The maximum interest rate with regards to hire purchase, has been brought downwards from 19 per cent to 12 per cent, and the penalty rate from 5 per cent to 2 per cent;
· Display of prices inclusive of VAT by all suppliers of goods and services. This measure concerns all hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, hypermarkets, supermarkets, and all other distribution networks. In the case of shops, the price tags should display only the price inclusive of VAT. The Finance Bill will provide for appropriate sanctions in case of non-compliance;
· Setting up an Office of Ombudsperson on Financial Institutions to deal with complaints received by consumers about excessive fees charged by banks, including on credit card transactions. Furthermore, the Bank of Mauritius will implement the report on abuses of commercial banks released recently; and
· Setting up of a special committee to examine the Report of the Commission of Enquiry on Sale by Levy for expediting the implementation of its recommendation.
Rs 442 million to give a boost to the Manufacturing sector
The Budget also makes provision for Rs 442 million to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection to support the manufacturing sector as it gears up to meet the challenges of stiffer global competition.
Among the measures to boost the sector are:
· Setting up of an inter-ministerial committee to look into the issue of tariff protection for sensitive local industries especially against dumping practices;
· the Accelerated Annual Allowances provisions in the Income Tax Act to be improved to facilitate the modernisation programme, particularly in the textiles sector; and
· Extension of the Freight Rebate Scheme to other ports in Africa and open to all shipping lines.
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