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Budget 2016/2017 Highlights: Reforming business facilitation and expanding economic horizons

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Budget 2016/2017 Highlights: Reforming business facilitation and expanding economic horizons

One of the important strategies of Budget 2016/2017 is reforming business facilitation and expanding our economic horizons which aims to free our economy from the stifling bureaucracy and get it out of the constraining mould of laws, regulations and administrative procedures that have not been able to adapt to the new exigencies.

The first measure is to cut drastically the time it takes to deliver Building and Land Use Permits and clearances for all construction related projects. To this end, the requirement for approval by the Executive Committee of the Local Authority concerned when determining a BLP is being abolished and the Local Authority will have only 8 working days to seek any additional information from an applicant.

The Property Development Scheme (PDS) will be reviewed and the PDS regulations will be amended to remove the maximum size limit of 50 arpents, to remove the requirement to sell at least 25 percent of residential units to Mauritian buyers and to review the current maximum permissible land size for a villa, from half an arpent to 1.25 arpent.

An e-licensing platform will be set up to provide a single point of entry for applications for permits and licences. This will bring down submission of documents in some cases from around 48 copies to just one copy.

The Investment Promotion Act will be amended to authorise the Board of Investment (BOI) to issue the necessary clearances and approvals for a business to start operation in cases where the statutory deadlines for processing applications have lapsed. This is in line with the Silent Agreement Principle. It should unlock a significant number of projects which are in the pipeline, accelerate job creation, turn around the declining trend in private investment, increase FDI and boost up economic growth.

The Budget 2016/2017 makes provision for introducing the Regulatory Sandbox Licence in Mauritius. The BOI may issue approvals, permits and licences to start an innovative project after consulting relevant ministries.

To further open the economy the Budget will allow noncitizens, registered with the BOI, subject to security clearances, to acquire apartments and business spaces in buildings. The Noncitizens (Property Restriction) Act will be amended accordingly.

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