Mauritius is under lockdown starting 6am on the 10 March until 8pm 31 March 2021. More information can be found here.
Only emergency services are working and until further notice our Courts remain closed.
Filings at the Registrar of Companies (RoC)
Due to the extension of the lockdown period following the Covid-19 outbreak, companies with documents required to be filed under the Companies Act 2001 during the lockdown period, will exceptionally be granted an extension of one month from the end of the lockdown period to do the needful.
Documents can be submitted either online or otherwise on the respective mail addresses provided on the website.
Ongoing services by the Corporate and Business Registration Department (CBRD) – updated
Following the lockdown on 10 March, the CBRD is maintaining its online facilities in respect of online incorporation, online filing and online payment. However, due to limited resources available during the lockdown period, there may be some delay in the acknowledgement and approval of documents filed through the online system.
Statutory documents which are for entities other than companies, may be filed through the email addresses available on the website of the CBRD at “About CBRD – Sections” or “About CBRD – Contact Us”
After the lockdown, original of the documents filed through email will need to be submitted.
For any other urgent queries, the CBRD can be contacted on the following numbers: 57559799 or 58759051.
Services of the Financial Services Commission (FSC) during lockdown
The FSC has deployed its Work from Home protocol and will provide its services remotely throughout the lockdown period.
The FSC is reachable via its official email email@example.com and telephone on 403-7000. The FSC will also keep posting important updates on its website www.fscmauritius.org.
Regulatory Relief – Extension of due dates for filing Financial Statements & Returns due to the impact of the Covid-19 curfew period – updated
The Financial Services Commission (Commission) is aware that the current lockdown/ Covid-19 curfew period is having a significant impact on its licencees resulting in practical constraints which may significantly impair the licensees to file and publish their:
(a) audited financial statements/annual reports, financial summaries and quarterly/interim financial statements (together referred to as “financial statements”);
(b) actuarial report, auditor’s certificate and statutory returns (together referred to as “statutory returns”); and
(c) documentation relating to risk management framework, auditor’s report and actuary report (together referred to as “RMF returns”),
within the statutory time period as per the relevant Acts and FSC Rules.
Therefore, the Commission wishes to inform its licensees that it is extending the timeline for filing of financial statements and statutory returns for licensees, as per relevant Acts / FSC Rules, for licensees (including entities registered as Reporting Issuers), as applicable, for years and quarters ended as specified in the table below, to 30 June 2021.
As for the timeline for filling of RMF returns, as specified in table below, same is extended to 30 September 2021.
Additionally, administrative penalties will not be levied provided that the licencees comply with their filing requirements within the extended timeline granted by the Commission, i.e. up to 30 June 2021 for financial statements and statutory returns and 30 September 2021 for RMF Returns.
However, failure to comply within the extended time granted (i.e. 30 June 2021 or 30 September 2021, as applicable) will trigger the imposition of administrative penalties pursuant to Financial Services (Administrative Penalties) Rules 2013.
The below table outlines the revised deadlines for the specific timeline:
A. Financial statements
|TYPE OF REPORT||YEAR END & QUARTER END||ORIGINAL FILING DEADLINE AS PER RELEVANT ACTS OR FSC RULES||NEW FILING DEADLINE – (EXTENDED DATE)|
|1.||Audited financial statements/ financial summaries||Year end: 30 September 2020 to 30 November 2020||Not later than 6 months of its balance sheet date||30 June 2021|
|2.||Annual report/ audited financial statements||Year end: 31 December 2020 to 28 February 2021||Not later than 90 days or 3 months of its balance sheet date or within 3 months after the end of the period to which they relate or 3 months after the expiry of||30 June 2021|
|3.||Quarterly/ interim financial statements||Quarter end: 31 January 2021 to 30 April 2021||Not later than 45 days after the end of each quarter||30 June 2021|
B. Statutory Returns
|TYPE OF REPORTS||YEAR END||ORIGINAL FILING DEADLINE AS PER RELEVANCE ACTS OR FSC RULES||NEW FILING DEADLINE – (EXTENDED DATE)|
|1.||Actuary Report||31 December 2020||Within 3 months after the end of the period to which they relate||30 June 2021|
|2.||Auditor’s Certificate||31 December 2020||Within 3 months after the end of the period to which they relate||30 June 2021|
|3.||Statutory Returns||31 December 2020||Within 3 months after the end of the period to which they relate or not later than 3 months after the expiry of each balance sheet date||30 June 2021|
C. RMF Returns
|TYPES OF REPORT||YEAR END||ORIGINAL FILING DEADLINE AS PER FSC RULES||NEW FILING DEADLINE – (EXTENDED DATE)|
|1.||Documentation relating to RMF||31 December 2020||Not later than 6 months after each balance sheet date||30 September 2021|
|2.||Auditor Report||31 December 2020||Not later than 6 months after each balance sheet date||30 September 2021|
|3.||Actuary Report||31 December 2020||Not later than 6 months after each balance sheet date||30 September 2021|
The Commission would, nonetheless, encourage licensees to submit their financial statements, statutory returns and RMF Returns within the current statutory deadlines or as soon as practicable, to ensure shareholders, investors and stakeholders have access to recent/timely financial information for their needs.
Licensees are also encouraged to continuously review their business continuity plan to proportionately respond to the coronavirus threat and to ensure continuity of their services as warranted.
The Commission will continue to monitor the impact of the lockdown/Covid-19 pandemic and would keep the licencees and stakeholders abreast of any new developments on this subject matter.
Filings at the Commercial/Bankruptcy Division of the Supreme Court
Deadlines for filing of pleadings and deadlines for cases to be heard before the Commercial/Bankruptcy Division of the Supreme Court are waived until further notice.
Filings at the Registrar General
The Registrar General’s department remains engaged by providing remote online support in the processing of loan applications. Any deed witnessing a loan may be submitted online to the Registrar General’s department. The payment of related duties and taxes shall be made through e-payment. This initiative aims to provide facilities to the public, particularly to financial institutions, to ensure business continuity. These online services are available through the Mauritius e-Registry system. The Mauritius e-registry system also caters for other online services ranging from submission of documents, taxation, payment to retrieval of registered documents.
Penalties will not be applied on deeds or documents whose statutory delay fall as from and during the confinement period. Stakeholders will be updated through communiqués, as soon as a work from home team will be available to process urgent deeds or documents submitted online.
THE MAURITIUS REVENUE AUTHORITY
No penalty or interest for late submission of return/statement or late payments.
The Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA) informs taxpayers that NO penalty or interest for late submission of return/statement or late payment will be charged to those who are unable to submit their return/statement, or effect payment on or before the deadline, for any for the following cases:
- Payment of customs duty, excise duty and taxes under the Deferred Payment Scheme for goods cleared during the month of February 2020 and for which payments were due by 10 March 2020; and
- Bills of Entry not submitted within the statutory time frame as provided under Section 9A (1) of the Customs Act.
Returns/statements and payments due by 31 March 2020:
- Submission of CPS Statement & Payment of Tax electronically for quarter ending 31st December 2019 by individuals;
- Submission of APS for quarter ending 31st December 2019 by companies;
- Submission of return and Payment of Tax by companies with accounting year ending in September 2019;
- Remittance of Passenger Fee/Passenger Solidarity Levy;
- Joint electronic PAYE & NPF/NSF return and electronic payment of tax withheld;
- Submission of VAT Return for February 2020 electronically and Payment of Tax electronically; and
- Monthly Return of TDS and electronic payment of Tax deducted.
Returns and payments due on 20 March 2020 by operators of Limited Pay-Out Machines, Casinos, Gaming House, Coin Operated Machines and Amusement Machines.
Returns and payments due on 20 March 2020 and 27 March 2020 by Betting operators (Bookmaker conducting fixed odds betting on foreign football, Local pool promoter and Agent of a foreign pool promoter).
For those taxpayers who are in a position to submit their tax returns, the MRA wishes to inform them that they can have recourse to its e-Services to file their returns and effect payment, if any.
The head-office of the MRA at Ehram Court, Cnr S. Virgil Naz & Mgr Gonin Streets, Port Louis, is closed to the public.
For tax matters, queries may be emailed on firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling MRA on 207 6000.
For customs matters, queries may be emailed on email@example.com or contact Team Leader, Mr. Naden Vencatachellum, on mobile No. 5 259 6950. A team of MRA officers is working from their workplace or from home to ensure a smooth running of the core services.
All work permits that will expire this year will be extended automatically up to 31 December 2021.
Following the introduction of the Wage Assistance Scheme for employers, employers affected by Covid-19 may, after payment of salaries, apply to the MRA for financial support under the scheme.
Self-employed persons who have suffered a loss of revenue as a consequence of the lockdown in the fight against Covid-19, may apply to the MRA to assist through the Self-Employed Assistance Scheme (SEAS).
Introduction of the Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2020
The Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2020 (Bill) was read for the first time in the National Assembly on 23 June 2020. The object of the Bill is to bring additional fundamental reforms in the financial services sector for ensuring closer compliance with recommended international best practices and norms of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) by amending various enactments for strengthening the existing legal provisions relating to combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
There have been changes to various sections of the Companies Act to reinforce the concept of beneficial ownership, including identification and record keeping. Changes have also been brought to the Financial Services Act, one of which is the express determination on which the FSC will base itself to carry out onsite inspections. The Financial Intelligence and Anti-Money Laundering Act has also been amended to include new provisions on the obligations and manner in which Suspicious Transactions Reports (STRs) are filed.
The test for reasonable suspicion has been amended so that the term “suspicious transaction” means a transaction which gives rise to a reasonable suspicion that it may involve (a) the laundering of money or the proceeds of any crime or (b) funds linked or related to, or to be used for, the financing of terrorism or proliferation financing or, any other activities or transaction related to terrorism as specified in the Prevention of Terrorism Act or under any other enactment, whether or not the funds represent the proceeds of a crime.
Amendments have also been brought to the threshold for financial transactions applicable to certain members of a relevant profession as defined under the FIAMLA from ‘financial transactions equal to or above 100,000 rupees’ to ‘a total cumulative financial transaction equal to or above 20,000 rupees, on any given date’. This amendment concerns persons licensed under the Gambling Regulatory Authority.
Changes have also been brought to the Prevention of Corruption Act, to provide for fines where an offence is committed by a legal person. Any legal person who commits an offence under this Part shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding 10 million rupees.
2. Can searches be conducted?
Searches at the Registrar of Companies
No searches at the premises of the RoC. Only online searches for basic information are available through the MNS system.
Searches at the Registrar General
No physical searches can be undertaken at the premises of the Registrar General during the lockdown period.
Due to restricted staff and service within the Judiciary for the lockdown period no physical or online searches can presently be undertaken.
3. Certificates of current standing – if and how these are being conducted
This service is currently not available.
4. Other searches – how are these being conducted?
See section above.
5. Court sessions and position (including filings and hearings)
All cases scheduled before all courts in Mauritius (other than the Court of Rodrigues) during the confinement period from 10 March 2021 to 25 March 2021, are postponed until further notice. In order to ensure the provision of minimum judicial services during that period, urgent matters only will be attended to. For more information please click here.
On 10 March 2021, the first lockdown day in Mauritius, the Chief Justice ordered that all cases scheduled before all courts in Mauritius (other than the Court of Rodrigues) during the confinement period from 10 March 2021 to 25 March 2021, be postponed until further notice. Arrangements were made to ensure the provision of minimum judicial services during this period to attend to urgent matters only – contact details of court officers, available during normal working hours by phone or e-mail were made available for any urgent motions/applications before the Supreme Court, Master’s Court, Industrial, Intermediate and District Courts (other than the Court of Rodrigues), the Bail and Remand Court and the Weekend Court.
To ensure proper access to justice, on 15 March 2021, the Chief Justice updated the above arrangements and ordered that urgent applications before District Courts in Mauritius (except the Court of Rodrigues), the Bail and Remand Court (Bail hearings) and Weekend Court, the Intermediate Court and the Industrial Court, will, where possible, be conducted by remote hearing by approved video link system as from the 15 March 2021, until further notice.
Any request in relation to the above urgent applications should be made to the relevant Court Manager during normal working hours by phone or e-mail as per the contact details provided in the Supreme Court Communiqué of the 10 of March 2021.
New Provisionals will be dealt with at the Centralised Court, on the ground-floor, of the New Court House, Pope Hennessy Street, Port-Louis, every day as from the 15th of March 2021 until further notice.
Any payment is to be made to the following account of the Accountant General and the bank deposit voucher or a screenshot of the deposit voucher is to be forwarded to the relevant Court Manager or Prosecutor’s Office:
Account Name : Accountant General Payable Order Account
Account Number : 610 301 0000 25 15
Bank Name : SBM Bank Mauritius Ltd
The deposit voucher should contain the name of the accused party and that of the surety.
Swearing of Affidavits
All affidavits relating to urgent applications before the Supreme Court, will be sworn/solemnly affirmed at the New Court House, Pope Hennessy Street, Port Louis, Mondays to Fridays, (other than public holidays) from 10.00am to 12.00am.
The cash office at the New Court House, Pope Hennessy Street, Port Louis, will be open Mondays to Fridays (other than public holidays), from 10.00am to 2.00pm.
6. Travel restrictions
Mauritian borders are now opened for all passengers (local and international) arriving on the territory subject to the incoming passengers possessing the following documents:
- a certificate of a negative Covid–19 PCR test administered between 5 and 7 days prior to the date of boarding at the last point of embarkation;
- a valid air ticket to Mauritius;
- proof of purchase of a travel package including accommodation, on a full board basis, at a designated hotel for a mandatory 14-day in-room quarantine; and
- a duly filled in Public Health Covid-19 Passenger Health Self-Declaration Form and Passenger Locator Form (both available at www.mymauritius.travel)
Attention is also drawn to the fact that:-
- any incoming passenger will have to undergo PCR tests on day of arrival, day 7 and day 14 following arrival: and
- if a PCR test reveals that a person is Covid-19 positive, he shall be transferred to a public medical institution for treatment.
- Non-Mauritians must pay a fee of Rs13,500 (approximately USD 400/-) per person to their hotel to cover for Ministry of Health costs (including three PCR tests administered in Mauritius) when purchasing their travel package.
The quarantine period in Mauritius has been extended 31 May 2021. This also entails the prohibition of entry of aircrafts and ships in Mauritius until 31 May 2021, except for those aircrafts and ships as may be approved by the Prime Minister.
Following the continuous and rapid spread of the Covid-19 virus, the following precautionary measures have been adopted by the Mauritian Authorities:
- All travelers who come from or have been in transit in the following countries during the last 15 days will not be allowed to enter the Mauritian territory until 31 March 2021:
- South Africa
Travelers coming from the UK will be allowed to enter Mauritius as from 1 March 2021.
For the latest travel alerts for Mauritius please click here.
Extension of visas and permission of stay
Taking into consideration the resurgence of Covid-19 cases in Mauritius, the Government has decided that foreigners whose visas and Residence Permits/ Occupation permits are expiring during the period ending 31 March 2021 and who are not able to leave the country, be exceptionally granted an extension of their visas and permission of stay respectively until 31 May 2021 or upon upliftment of the restrictions whichever is earliest.
The Passport and Immigration Office wishes to inform those foreigners in this situation will not be considered as illegal and should NOT call in person at the Passport and Immigration Office until the lifting of the restrictions.
Once the same is over those concerned should contact the Passport and Immigration Office on the following telephone numbers 2602073, 2109418 or 2602206 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the Electronic Queue Management System (EQMS) – “moRendez-Vous” application for an appointment.
7. Other Temporary Regulatory Measures
Bank of Mauritius Covid-19 Support Programme offers additional measures to support economic operators, including SMEs, households and individuals impacted by COVID-19
Following the introduction of numerous measures starting March 2020 by the Bank of Mauritius (BoM) under a Support Programme to assist economic operators, SMEs, households and individuals impacted by COVID-19, the BoM has borne the interest payable on outstanding household loans with commercial banks for the period 1st April 2020 to 30th June 2020 and a moratorium of 6 months on capital repayment for existing loans for economic operators that are being affected by COVID-19 was given.
The BoM has extended the moratorium on loans to the 30th of June 2021. Several other measures falling under the Support Programme have also been extended to the 30th of June 2021, including the Special Relief Amount of Rs5 Billion, which was made available through banks to meet cash flow requirements of economic operators impacted by COVID-19, and to safeguard business continuity.
The BoM has also announced that it will again bear the interest payable on the outstanding household loans with commercial banks, for the period 1st January 2021 to 31st March 2021.
The Bank of Mauritius also stated that it “stands ready to take any additional appropriate measure to maintain the stability of the financial system and mitigate any adverse impact on economic growth and development, consistent with its statutory responsibilities.”
FINANCIAL CRIMES DIVISIONS
These Divisions are being set up to ensure that financial crime cases are fast-tracked, in line with recommended international best practices and norms of the Financial Action Task Force.
The Land Division will have original jurisdiction to hear and determine any matter regarding ownership of land and property rights, other than any matter which falls under the jurisdiction of the Intermediate Court or District Court under any enactment, and such other matters as directed by the Chief Justice.
The Real Estate Agent Authority Bill
The Real Estate Agent Authority Bill provides for the establishment of the Real Estate Agent Authority, which will regulate and control the business activities of real estate agents, land promoters and property developers. The key duties of the Real Estate Agent Authority will be to:
- register real estate agents, including land promoters and property developers;
- exercise and maintain discipline in the business activities of real estate agents, including business activities of land promoters and property developers; and
- promote transparency, accountability and integrity in the business activities of real estate agents, including business activities of land promoters and property developers;
- protect and assist persons engaged in real estate transactions with real estate agents, including land promoters and property developers;
- cooperate with the Financial Intelligence Unit under the Financial Intelligence and Anti-Money Laundering Act and other relevant public sector agencies to assist in the detection and prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation within the real estate sector;
These duties will ensure further compliance with recommended international best practices and norms for combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation.
The Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2020 has been approved with amendments on 07 August 2020
Different dates have been set for the coming into force of the different legislative changes being brought by the Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020.
The temporary measures which were introduced to the Companies Act during the COVID-19 period will be no longer in force as from 01 January 2020.
Temporary measures introduced in the Insolvency Act during the COVID-19, which pertain to winding up and creditors meetings will no longer be applicable on 02 September 2020.
As of 02 September 2020, the requirement for a company to pay its debt, enter into comprise or otherwise compound with the creditor, or give a charge over its property to secure payment of the debt, as provided by Section 180(d) of the Insolvency Act, shall now be done within one month – the moratorium of 2 months given during the COVID-19 period will no longer stand as of 02 September 2020.
All other measures relating to amendments to the Companies Act and the Financial Services Act are in operation since 07 August 2020.
The Financial Services Commission of Mauritius publishes Enforcement Manual
The Financial Services Commission of Mauritius (FSC) has published its Enforcement Manual (Manual) which covers the FSC’s approach to enforcement as a credible deterrent tool and the exercise of its enforcement powers. It sets out general policies and procedures which the FSC uses as guidance in detecting, investigating, and taking actions in cases where the relevant laws and /or any other relevant guidelines have been breached.
The Enforcement Manual has been issued with the intent of increasing transparency, certainty, and consistency, and, more generally, to promote the rule-of-law principles that underpin all of the FSC’s enforcement actions.
The FSC’s enforcement approach has three broad objectives:
- early detection of misconduct and breaches of law;
- the reduction of systemic risk through effective deterrence; and
- the protection of consumers.
The focus is on addressing deficiencies which are considered as strategic priorities:
- Anti-Money Laundering;
- Corporate Governance;
- Market abuse.
The objective of Enforcement by the FSC is to investigate licensees or persons who ought to have been licensed, who have contravened or are contravening or likely to contravene, and/or to investigate possible breach(es) to the applicable laws and prescribed practices, following which appropriate enforcement actions will be taken by the FSC.
To ensure consistency in the determination of appropriate enforcement actions, the breaches are divided into three categories (i) Minor breaches (1-5% of gross income) (ii) Moderate breaches (6-10% of gross income) and (iii) Major breaches(11-15% of gross income). The FSC will identify the category in which the breach falls based on its seriousness and the administrative penalty will be calculated on a percentage of the relevant gross income of the licensee.
The FSC ‘s penalty-setting regime is based on the principles set out below, in the following order of importance:
- Discipline: The amount of the AP will encompass an appropriate penal element.
- Disgorgement: The amount of the AP will seek to ensure that a licensee does not directly benefit financially from any breach(es) or wrongdoing(s) whether in terms of profit made or loss avoided. Thus, the amount of the AP imposed will take account of any such financial benefit to the extent possible or practicable.
- Deterrence element: The AP will comprise of an element which serves to deter the licensee and others in the industry from committing such wrongdoing.
The FSC will make use of the different investigation methodologies, as provided for in the Enforcement Manual to investigate any contravention (past, present or potential). Some of the investigative powers of the FSC include:
Sending a notice of investigation – Usually, the persons under investigation will be notified at the appropriate time. The notification will usually include:
- The formal decision to investigate with the grounds for the investigation;
- The formal appointment of the investigator;
- The fact of the team who will assist the investigator; and
- The date of the commencement of the investigation.
The Notice of an Investigation would usually be addressed to the Board of Directors, if any, of the entity under investigation.
In certain circumstances, there may be compelling reasons not to give notice of an investigation. The reasons may include, but are not limited to, where there are grounds to believe that documents may be tampered with or destroyed or where investors’ funds may be at risk or when the investigation may otherwise be prejudiced or because of the urgency of the situation.
Evidence – In addition of documents in either hard or soft copy, FSC may ask questions of persons under investigation or witnesses. Investigators may require a person to answer questions in the following ways:
- Compelled interview – answering of questions under oath- it is intended that compelled
- interviews will be tape-recorded going forward
- Voluntary interview.
The investigator can administer oath, affirmation or declaration to a person who is to be interviewed. The point of an oath or affirmation is to impress on the person the importance of truthfulness.
The investigator can also summon any licensee, or its officers, employees and associates, or any witness necessary for the conduct of the investigation.
Persons under investigation have a duty to respond to requests for information and documents in a timely manner and comply with the deadlines set. Careful consideration will be given to any questions that are not answered and if there is an explanation (a reasonable excuse or reasonable cause) for such a refusal.
Following the conclusion of investigations, the FSC is also empowered to impose penalties and other such remedial actions.
A person who intentionally obstructs and/or gives false or misleading information; and/or fails to answer questions; and/or is deliberately reckless as to accuracy of the information he/she provides to an investigator, in a material particular, may be guilty of an offence. In some circumstances he/she may on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding 500,000 rupees and imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years.
In addition to injunctions, suspension and revocation of licenses, the FSC has the power to give directions to a licensee/person, including an officer of a licensee to do a specified act, or refrain from doing a specified act, as part of an enforcement action.
Directions may also take the form of a report prepared by a person approved by the Commission on the licensee’s affairs, at the expense of the licensee or remove or take steps to remove a specified officer or employee of the licensee from office or employment, or ensure that a specified officer or employee of the licensee does not take part in the management or conduct of the business of the licensee except as permitted by the Commission.
The FSC also has the power to issue cease trade orders under the Securities Act. The FSC may order a securities exchange to be closed for securities transactions. This may happen where it is thought that the orderly transactions on a securities exchange can be or is affected by an emergency or a natural disaster or an economic or financial crisis. The FSC may also order any person to cease any activity in respect of trading in securities or any specific securities, where the Commission has reasonable suspicions that there may be a breach adversely affecting the interest of investors.
The FSC is of the view that the orderly transaction of business on the securities exchange is being or is likely to be adversely affected due to the occurrence of the total lockdown.
Given that the total lockdown is one that is captured by the provisions of section 133(2) of the Securities Act 2005 and having been satisfied that the requirements of section 133(3) of the Securities Act 2005 are met, the FSC has exercised its powers under section 133(1) of the Securities Act 2005 and ordered the Stock Exchange of Mauritius Ltd (SEM) to cease all securities transactions, effective as from 27 March 2020 at 20:00 local time and shall lapse on 2 April 2020 at 20:00 local time.
The SEM has also been directed to inform all of its market participants of measures it has put in place for an orderly resumption of the market.
With a view to ensuring continuity in the provision of banking services by domestic commercial banks, the Bank of Mauritius has decided that banks will keep operating in the current context.
Key branches, which will be in strategic locations to ensure a fair geographical coverage, will, as from 26 March 2020, be open to the public from Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 13:00, until further notice. These key branches will be staffed by reduced personnel and will provide basic banking services.
The internal operations and telephone-based Contact Centres of commercial banks concerned will remain operational during normal hours. A list of branches which will be open will be communicated to the public by the respective banks.
Measures from the Bank of Mauritius:
Special Foreign Currency (USD) Line of Credit
- The Bank of Mauritius is introducing a Special Foreign Currency (USD) Line of Credit targeting operators having foreign currency earnings, including SMEs.
- This line of credit will be for an amount of USD300 million, to be made 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 24 March 2020 until 30 June 2020 and repayment will be over a period of two years from the effective date of disbursement.
- Drop of key Repo Rate from 3.35% to 2.85% implying a reduction in lending rate on bank loans.
- The introduction of a Special Relief Programme of MUR 5 billion through commercial bank loans from 16 March to end July 2020 enabling businesses to meet their cash flow and working capital requirement. The loans will be with a maturity of two years at an interest rate of 2.5% p.a. inclusive of a six months moratorium on capital and interests payments.
- Banks will provide a moratorium of six months on capital repayment for existing loans for those enterprises that are being affected by COVID-19.
Support to households
- Mauritian households impacted by Covid-19 may make a request to their commercial banks for a moratorium of six months on capital repayments on their existing household loans from the 1 April 2020.
- In addition, for households earning a combined monthly basic salary of up to Rs50,000 the Bank of Mauritius will bear the interest payable for the period 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020 on their outstanding household loans with commercial banks.
- For the purpose of these measures, household loans include all existing rupee loans which have been disbursed to a Household by a commercial bank. Overdrafts, credit cards and other credit facilities are not included.
- The terms and conditions will be made available through commercial banks from 30 March 2020.
The Redundancy Board has issued a Communique dated 7 April informing employers and employees that in view of the prevailing situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, all the cases referred to the Redundancy Board for determination would be considered on resumption of office after the current lockdown is lifted.
The Prevention and Mitigation of Infectious Disease (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 (‘The Principal Regulations’) has been amended by Prevention and Mitigation of Infectious Disease (Coronavirus) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations 2020.
Regulation 14 of the principal regulations is amended by revoking paragraph (4) and replacing it by the following paragraph:
(4) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to :
(a) a person who has to avail himself of medical treatment, or procure essential supplies, food stuff, medicine or any other item essential for his or his family’s subsistence or livelihood;
(b) a Judge or Magistrate for the purpose of attending Court;
(c) a barrister or an attorney whose services have been retained by a person to attend a police station, place of detention or Court;
(d) a medical practitioner for the purpose of attending a hospital, private medical institution or patient in need of urgent medical care;
(e) a pharmacist for the purpose of attending his place of work.
These regulations shall come into operation on 26 April 2020.
other regulatory updates
The Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development would promulgate:
(a) the Companies (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations 2020. The Fifth Schedule of the Companies Act was amended in 2019 such that a notice of general meeting is sent 21 days before a meeting, instead of 14 days previously to give more time to shareholders; and
(b) the Insolvency (Administration) (Equal Treatment to Classes of Creditors) Regulations 2020. Section 232 of The Insolvency Act was amended through the Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2019 to ensure that creditors are categorised into classes for the purpose of voting in a reorganisation plan and creditors in each class vote independently.
These regulations are being made, inter alia, to improve the performance of Mauritius in the context of World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report.
Regulations made by the Minister under section 360(1)(b) of the Companies Act
The Companies (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations 2020 amends Item 2 of the Fifth Schedule of the Companies Act 2001.
The Fifth Schedule, which contains provisions for the proceedings at meetings of shareholders, has been amended so that Notice of Meetings will now also include:
- Written notice of the date, time and place instead of only written notice of the time and place;
- A notice shall also be accompanied by a detailed agenda together with any other document relevant to the meeting.
The Regulations came into operation on 30 April 2020
THE INSOLVENCY ACT
The Insolvency (Administration) (Equal Treatment to Classes of Creditors) Regulations 2020 (Regulations) applies to Mauritian companies which are under voluntary administration. The Regulations stipulate that creditors should be grouped into classes specified under the Insolvency Act. Each such class shall vote separately on matters for which each class is required to vote. The Regulations also confirm that an administrator must accord equal treatment to creditors who fall within the same class.
In accordance with section 232(8) of the Insolvency Act, the notice of creditors’ meeting which an administrator is required to issue, must be in writing and should confirm the following details:
- the administrator’s postal, email and street addresses;
- the names of the related companies in respect of which the joint meeting is to be held;
- the creditor to whom the notice is sent may object to the joint meeting by a written objection to the administrator at the latter’s contact details at paragraph (a) above; and
- that unless the creditor objects in accordance with the notice, the creditor will be taken to have agreed to the joint meeting.
The Regulations came into operation on 30 April 2020.
US FOREIGN ACCOUNTS TAX COMPLIANCE ACT (FATCA)
The Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA) informs all stakeholders involved that, in view of the current exceptional situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the due date for the transmission of FATCA information to the MRA, regarding the filing obligations under FATCA, has now been extended to 30 September 2020.
ASSESSMENT REVIEW COMMITTEE
The public is hereby informed that, for health security reasons and in order to avoid unnecessary gathering of the public on the premises of the Committee, all cases already scheduled up to 29 May 2020 are postponed.
All cases will be rescheduled in line with established precautionary measures and all concerned will be informed about the rescheduled cases by post.
8. Implications for economic substance compliance and residency
The FSC will show flexibility towards licencees which may face challenges in meeting their forthcoming reporting obligations including regulatory filings, on a case by case basis.