Government is determined to help every citizen in need and as such, one of the measures undertaken for consumers under the Social Register of Mauritius (SRM) as well as those under the National Empowerment Foundation (NEF) who are concerned with tariff 110A and 110B of the Central Electricity Board (CEB), is that electricity for the months of March and April 2021 will be free of charge. Some 61 000 families are concerned by this decision.
The Minister of Energy and Public Utilities, Mr Georges Pierre Lesjongard, made this statement, this evening, at the daily press briefing of the National Communication Committee on COVID-19, at the Treasury Building in Port Louis. The Minister of Labour, Human Resource Development and Training, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Protection, Mr Soodesh Callichurn, and the Minister of Gender Equality and Family Welfare, Mrs Kalpana Koonjoo-Shah, were also present.
Minister Lesjongard highlighted that persons under the SRM and those registered with the NEF will continue to pay 46% less than usual on their electricity bills adding that this tariff will be maintained for four months after the lockdown period. He stated that some 16 000 Small and Medium Enterprises consuming less than 125kW/h will not have to pay electricity for the months of March and April 2021. As for those concerned by tariffs 110 and 220, they will benefit from a discount of Rs 200 on their CEB bill and this measure concerns some 300 000 consumers, he said.
With regards other measures undertaken, he underlined that both the CEB and the Central Water Authority have decided that there will be no fines for the months of March and April 2021. Furthermore, a moratorium of four months will be given to all consumers to allow them to pay their bills for the months of March and April till August 2021.
Minister Lesjongard advised that all persons who are going to cash offices to pay their bills must observe precautionary and sanitary measures such as wearing of masks and using hand sanitiser. He also made an appeal to all persons who can use electronic platforms to do so for paying their bills so as to avoid unnecessary gatherings.
As for Minister Koonjoo-Shah, she dwelt on the state of families and children during the lockdown period. She recalled that services of her Ministry have been operational on a 24/7 basis. She also made an appeal to parents to ensure that their children do not use social media for negative purposes.
Moreover, she underscored that women entrepreneurs will play a key role in the country's economy following the lockdown period.
Setting up of a Control System for prices of products
For his part, Minister Callichurn underlined that Government has already put in place a control system for the prices of products, such as fixing a maximum mark-up. Officers of his Ministry, he said, visited some 6 041 businesses as at date and 984 fines were issued for non-display of prices or for selling products above the recommended price.
In addition, some 1 827 complaints have been registered and are being treated. The Minister reiterated his appeal to consumers to continue to report abuses on the hotline 185 and on the Citizens Support Unit portal. He also warned all shopkeepers that Government will step in and take appropriate measures if prices are too high.
He added that a Price Surveyance System will be put in place and prices of different products will be published on a monthly basis so as to keep customers informed and to ensure a better control on venders practising abusive prices.