Yesterday, like most Mauritians, I listened to the Budget Speech 2007-2008 while attending to my usual chores.
Personally, I like that duty is being removed on microphones, speakers, MP3 players like the iPod Nano, etc. I also like that duty is being removed on kitchen appliances etc. but I understand that those measures are somewhat trivial…
Another nice measure is the fact that there is now only one flat rate of 15% for (taxable) income tax. If my brain works correctly, this means that I will pay less tax compared to previous years and this is a good thing.
I was surprised to see that there is no measures announced for increasing the penetration of computers and Internet in households. As I’ve said so many times, we are missing the boat here…
There are a number of measures directly related to the University of Mauritius. I quote:
p9 – 53. we are amending legislation to give the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) full authority to allow foreign training and educational establishments in all fields to set up in Mauritius.
p38 – 228. Our vision is to transform Mauritius into a knowledge-based economy. We have, therefore, opened the country to international institutions of learning. Ramachandra Medical School and Eastern are part of the first wave that we plan to attract. Several institutions of high repute have expressed a keen interest to develop a campus in Mauritius. In addition to becoming a hub and attracting foreign students, the entry of tertiary institutions will broaden the opportunities for our children to have access to Tertiary Education.
Personally, I welcome the arrival of other tertiary institutions. Of course, this might be detrimental to the UoM as far as the number of students enrolled every year is concerned but I sincerely think that the best students will continue to choose the University of Mauritius if we, academics, can focus on quality teaching and research.
Having fewer students might be the best thing ever to happen to the University of Mauritius… given our limited budget and limited infrastructure.
Another interesting measure concerning the University and us, academics, is:
p24 – 140. Seventh, as we develop the knowledge hub, and with more tertiary education institutions being set up in Mauritius, Government will encourage the setting up of University-SME Partnership Programme. The universities can establish consultancy arms to provide managerial, financial and technical advice to SMEs on demand.
Consultancy is an activity which can prove to be highly beneficial both in the financial and the intellectual senses to all parties: academics, SMEs and the country as a whole. Many of my colleagues and, of course, myself are willing to participate in consultancy activities.
My opinion on the budget
I’ve read the Budget Speech this morning and there are not a lot of extravagant measures in it. My feeling is that the Minister of Finance is trying to strengthen the economy of the country without being irresponsible. I believe that economic growth (croissance) is needed if Mauritius wants to succeed.
I don’t know whether this will work or not but I am somewhat positive.