The Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr Renganaden Padayachy, had a pre-budget consultative meeting, this afternoon in Port Louis, with representatives of Consumer Associations.
Some 12 representatives of different associations, including the Association des Consommateurs de l'Ile Maurice (ACIM), the Association for the Protection of the Environment and Consumers, and the Mauritius Tax Payer's Association, among others, were present.
In a statement after the meeting, the ACIM Secretary General, Mr Jayen Chellum, gave an overview of proposals made to the Finance Minister by the various associations. The priority with the COVID-19 pandemic, he highlighted, is an increase of about 7 to 8% of the national budget for the health sector. This measure, he indicated, will help to tackle the rise of prices of medicine.
In addition, Mr Chellum called on Government to review taxes on certain food products such as vegetables, frozen or canned products. According to him, it is also necessary to revise the cost of telephone calls between the various local operators.
Other proposals that were made to the Minister include: the increase of the purchasing power of consumers especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic; the revision of some infrastructure projects in order to save money and investing in projects more suited to the current situation; and the provision of equal opportunity in education with regards to the use of digital tools for those who cannot afford to buy technological products.
Furthermore, Mr Chellum appealed to Government to review public funds spending, to continue to encourage good governance, and to remain cautious against corruption.