Government Business Support Measures
Summary of business support measures announced by the Mauritian Government in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, as at 20 April 2020.
In light of the global COVID-19 outbreak, a series of support measures have been introduced by our government to help businesses and protect employment.
The COVID-19 ‘Plan de Soutien’ Cell has been set up and comprises the State Investment Corporation Limited (SIC), Investment Support Programme Limited (ISP), SME Equity Fund Ltd (SEF) and Development Bank of Mauritius Ltd (DBM).
We invite all members to closely review all the support measures that have been announced as at 20th of April 2020, in order to best understand them, their application and benefits, should they benefit to your businesses.
A. Wage/ Salary Support for March 2020
- COVID-19 Wage Assistance During Confinement/ Curfew Period
Applicable to March 2020 salaries
Enterprises entitled to receive an amount equivalent to the 15 days’ basic wage bill for all employees drawing a monthly basic wage of up to Rs 50,000 subject to a cap of Rs 12,500 per employee.
|For every employee with basic salary in March 2020||Basis||Assistance per employee (Rs)|
|From 9,700 to Rs 25,000||15-days wages||From Rs 4,850 to Rs 12,500|
|From Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000||Fixed Amount||Rs 12,500|
|Above Rs 50,000||Nil||Nil|
Assistance paid AFTER salary effected.
Exceptionally, where a business is unable to effect payment of salary for the current month due to cash flow problem, it may apply to the MRA for assistance under the scheme so that the salaries may be paid in a timely manner.
- How to apply: Employers need to fill in the following form:
Wage Assistance Scheme
Communique of the MRA
Applicable to April 2020 salaries
Since the COVID-19 lockdown period has been extended up to 04 May 2020, the Government has decided to extend the Wage Assistance Scheme for the month of April 2020.
- A business will thus be eligible to receive an additional funding equivalent to one month’s basic wage bill for its employees drawing a monthly basic wage of up to Rs 50,000 subject to a cap of Rs 25,000 of assistance per employee.
- An employer would be debarred from the Scheme if he has benefitted from funds under the Scheme and has not paid his employees for the months of March and April 2020 or he has laid off even one employee during the lockdown/curfew period.
- The Scheme is applicable in respect of Mauritians in full-time or part-time employment, and expatriate employees working in Mauritius.
- For the Government Wage Assistance Scheme, employers will have to apply again because there could be changes in the number of employee’s/wage bill.
- How to Apply for all the above:
A. Financial Support
1. Bank of Mauritius Special Relief Programme
Special Relief Amount of Rs 5 Billion to meet cash flow and working capital requirements of economic operators which are being directly impacted by COVID-19.
- available through commercial banks.
- interest rate of 1.5% per annum and (reduction from 2.5%)
- there will be a moratorium of six months on capital and interest repayments,
- 2 years loan repayment period
2. Reduction of Cash Reserve Ratio
The Cash Reserve Ratio applicable to commercial banks has been reduced from 9% to 8%.
3. Easing of Banking Guidelines
The Bank of Mauritius has put on hold the Guideline on Credit Impairment Measurement and Income Recognition, which was effective since January 2020.
4. 2020 Savings Bond
2.5% Two-Year Bank of Mauritius 2020 Savings Bond for an amount of Rs 5 billion from 23rd of March 2020
5. Special Foreign Currency (USD) Line of Credit
- Targeting operators having foreign currency earnings, including SMEs.
- This line of credit of USD 300 million available through commercial banks.
- Funds will be made available to commercial banks at 6-month USD Libor for this facility.
- This line of credit will be available from the 24th March 2020 until the 30th June 2020 and repayment will be over a period of 2 years from the effective date of disbursement.
6. Swap Arrangement to Support Import Oriented Businesses
USD/MUR swap arrangement with commercial banks for an initial amount of USD 100 million.
- support import-oriented businesses, except for the State Trading Corporation
- effective as from the 24thMarch 2020 until the 30thJune 2020.
- How to Apply for all the above:
7. State Investment Corporation Equity Participation Scheme
Assist enterprises with annual turnover exceeding Rs 250 million
8. Investment Support Programme Limited (ISP)
- SME Factoring Scheme
Enterprises with annual turnover of up to Rs 50 million
– reduced interest rate of from 2.5% instead of 3.9%
- Leasing Equipment Modernisation Scheme (LEMS I, II, III)
Enterprises with annual turnover ranging between Rs 50 million and Rs 1.5 billion
– reduced interest rate ranging between 2.5% and 3.35% per annum.
- Corporate Guarantees to banks
ISP Ltd will issue corporate guarantee to banks to enable them to grant loans to companies affected by COVID-19, on a case to case basis.
9. SME Equity Fund Ltd
- Equity Financing
Reduced minimum return dividend rate requirement on equity /quasi-equity financing from 6% to 3% up to 31 December 2020. Thereafter, normal conditions and dividend rate of 6% will be applicable.
10. Development Bank of Mauritius Ltd
- Enterprise Modernisation Scheme (EMS)
Enterprises with annual turnover of up to Rs 10 million
– reduced interest rate 2.5% instead of 3.5% up to 31stDecember 2020 and
– a grant of 15% up to a maximum of Rs 150,000.
- Revolving Credit Fund
A Revolving Credit Fund of Rs 200 million:
– Companies with turnover of up to Rs 10 million
– To ease cash flow difficulties up to Rs 1 million
– With repayment over 2 years. Interest will not be payable if loan is repaid within 9 months. Otherwise, interest will be at a rate of 6% per annum.
- How to apply for all the above:
- Enterprises may have access to those support through the COVID-19 ‘Plan de Soutien’ Cell which comprise the State Investment Corporation Limited (SIC), Investment Support Programme Limited (ISP), SME Equity Fund Ltd (SEF) and Development Bank of Mauritius Ltd (DBM)
- Enterprises should fill the following form: Plan de Soutien FORM_COVID-19.pdf
Communique of the State Investment Corporation
- Double Tax Deduction on InvestmentEnterprises being affected by COVID-19 will be entitled to a double tax deduction on their investment in Plant and Machinery for the period 1st March 2020 to 30th June 2020.
All work permits that will expire this year will be extended automatically up to 31st December 2021.Government will give full support to promote the Work at Home Scheme that was announced in the 2018-2019 Budget Speech.
- Contributions/Donation – Deduction from Taxable Income
To encourage public and enterprises to donate/contribute to the Fund, Government will allow them to deduct the amount donated/contributed from their taxable income.> Communique Tax Deduction
C. Support to Households
Mauritian households may request their commercial banks for a moratorium of 6 months on capital repayments on their existing household loans as from the 1st April 2020.
In addition, for households earning a combined monthly basic salary of up to Rs 50,000 the Bank of Mauritius will bear the interest payable for the period 1st April 2020 to 30th June 2020 on their outstanding household loans with commercial banks.
- How to apply for all the above:
- Households have to apply to their respective commercial banks. Banks will have the responsibility of assessing the situation of businesses and targeted households to analyse whether they have been hit by COVID-19 before granting the moratoriums of 6 months and applying for the interest rate relief for households to the Bank of Mauritius.
- For more clarifications regarding the definition of household please check out the following link: Clarification of the definition-household
D. Other important Communique related to COVID-19
- Communique on Service Essentials
- Communique on Temporary ban on importation of live animals and fish
- Communique on Price Control of Masks, Hand Sanitisers and Respirators
- Communique on Workplace Access Permit during curfew period