GIS - 17 April, 2020: Among the key economic responses to limit the human and economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Government has earmarked Rs 4 billion for the extension of the Wage Assistance Scheme to cover the month of April 2020, and an additional sum of Rs 500 million for the Self-Employed Assistance Scheme to cover the period 16 April to 30 April 2020.
The extension of the financial assistance schemes was announced, this evening, by the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr Renganaden Padayachy, at the daily press briefing of the National Communication Committee on Covid-19, at the Treasury Building in Port Louis.
According to the Minister, a sum of Rs 1.5 billion has been disbursed under the Wage Assistance Scheme at end March to cater for some 243 000 employees and with its extension till end April 2020, an additional cost of Rs 4 billion will be incurred. He recalled that the aim of the Scheme is to provide financial support to employees of the private sector who have become technically unemployed during the Covid-19 curfew period. However, Dr Padayachy cautioned that an employer would be debarred from the Scheme if he has benefitted from funds and has not paid his employees for the months of March and April 2020 or he has laid off an employee during the confinement period.
Speaking about the Self-Employed Assistance Scheme which provides financial support to the informal sector, the Finance Minister stated that an additional sum of Rs 500 million will be disbursed to cover the period from 16 April to 30 April 2020. Furthermore, he underlined that over 163 000 persons have benefitted from the Scheme amounting to a total funding of Rs 835 million.
As for Rodrigues and Agalega, the Wage Assistance Scheme will be applicable till 15 April 2020 while the Self-Employed Assistance Scheme will not apply as curfew order has lapsed.
With regard to financial support to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the Bank of Mauritius has brought down the Special Relief Fund by 1.5 percent and loan under this scheme will be secured up to 60 percent by the State Investment Corporation (SIC) for SMEs with a turnover of less than Rs 50 million. As for companies with turnovers exceeding Rs 50 million, the SIC will secure loans up to 50 percent.
Covid-19: Economic forecast for Mauritius
- IMF forecasts a decrease of 6.8 percent in the economic growth of Mauritius if the economy is back on track after the confinement as from July 2020
- Projection of a negative growth between 7 to 11 percent by the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development; Bank of Mauritius and Economic Development Board for the year 2020
- Investment to decrease by 11 to 18 percent
- Unemployment rate which stands at 6.7 percent currently is projected to increase by 17.5 percent
- Rise in inflation rate is inevitable
- No new cases registered during the last 24 hrs
- The number of successfully treated patients stand at 108
- As at date, there are 324 Covid-19 cases with 204 active cases
- Since the outbreak in Mauritius, 9 755 tests have been carried out
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