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Mauritian Premier Asks Trade Unions To Support Government Reforms

Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

27 September 2000

At a public meeting on Sunday the Mauritian Premier, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, pleaded with trade unions to put the country ahead of their own interests, and not to take action against the new Government's decision to reverse the 300-rupee rise awarded to civil servants by the outgoing administration.

The cancellation of the pay increase was one of the first steps taken by the Government in its promised drive to repair the public finances. Once again setting out his priorities, Jugnauth said the government would focus on improving the economic situation and intensify the fight against fraud and corruption as well as promote sports.

"The government itself will denounce corrupt practices," the Prime Minister added, warning public officials to resist temptation.

Speaking at the same meeting, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Paul Berenger, said the new government's reforms would include new legislation to enhance free and fair elections, transformation of the country into a Republic and reforms of the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation.

The Bank of Mauritius announced in its monthly bulletin last Friday that foreign exchange reserves fell by 1.1bn rupees in July to 24bn rupees; this represents 23 weeks' worth of imports. It further stated that the rupee continued to depreciate in August against the US dollar by 0.3 percent to reach 26.402 rupees; however it appreciated against the Euro by 3.5 percent to reach 23.933 rupees.

The new Government has publicly committed itself to maintaining the value of the rupee, and has ruled out a devaluation. It has also said that it will study measures needed to encourage inward investment.

However, all is not doom and gloom in Mauritius: on Monday the British American Insurance Company in Mauritius announced first half profits of 100 million rupees, up from 92.4 million rupees in 1999.

The company's directors said profits after taxation reached 45.7 million rupees, 14% up on 1999. Revenues rose to 925.2 million rupees from 799.3 million rupees in the previous year.


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