Budget 2016 – To be presented on 29th July, says Finance Minister
Budget 2016 will be presented on 29th July 2016, announced the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Jugnauth, during a press conference on 15th July in Port Louis.
The Finance Minister outlined the main focus of the forthcoming budget taking into account the country’s economic condition, economic performance for the year 2015-2016 as well as the challenges looming ahead.
According to him, a higher growth rate must be achieved in view of realising the set goals and ambitions of the Government at national level. This, he said, will create jobs and provide more opportunities for all Mauritians.
He further stressed that he would prioritise fiscal discipline and financial prudence which will eventually translate Government’s determination to bring public debt below 50% of GDP in 2018.
Minister Pravind Jugnauth also emphasised on the importance of addressing the challenges facing our four traditional pillars of the economy namely, the Financial sector, Tourism, the Sugar and Manufacturing sectors, given the international context, with an increased competition on the global market.
Other issues of concerns raised pertained to the BREXIT situation with its foreseeable impact on the Mauritian economy; the low-level investment by the private sector; and the impact of an ageing population on the economy and society as a whole.
Regarding employment, the Minister highlighted the mismatch between market demands and the skills available and expressed Government’s commitment to address this anomaly, while reforming the education system in view of aligning it with global standards, trends and developments in order to meet the requirements of employers.
He further underscored the need of reviewing our production tools and our technology given the challenges posed by climate change as according to him, the world is constantly changing and it is therefore imperative to change our mindset, our habits, the performance of our institutions, as well as our legal framework.
Commenting on the economic situation prevailing in the country, Finance Minister Jugnauth, spoke about the uncertainties looming on the international scene, whereby the rate of growth in several countries has been reviewed downwards. Nevertheless, he pointed out that the growth rate of the Mauritian economy which stands at 3% for 2014-2015 is expected to rise by 0.6% for the financial year 2015-2016.
He further highlighted that inflation rate which is at 1.3%, is on a downward trend. While the current account of the balance of payments improved in 2015, the deficit has decreased from 5.6% of GDP in 2014 to 4.8 % of GDP in 2015. Furthermore, the balance of payments also recorded a surplus of Rs 20 billion in 2015, the equivalent of 4.9% of GDP, he added. With regard to unemployment, a rate of 7.6% was recorded for the first quarter of 2016, representing a decrease from 8.7% during the corresponding period in 2015, he concluded.