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Mauritius To Revamp Financial Services Laws

by Lorys Charalambous, Tax-News.com, Cyprus

25 June 2007


In his 2007/8 Budget speech to Parliament last week, Mauritius Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Ramakrishna Sithanen proposed comprehensive reform of the jurisdiction's financial services laws, to ensure that Mauritius keeps pace with global trends.

Sithanen announced that he will shortly invite the House to adopt a new Financial Services Bill, an Insurance (Amendment) Bill and a Securities (Amendment) Bill, which he said will usher in a wide new legislative framework for the financial services sector. "The Financial Services Bill will provide an enhanced integrated framework for both domestic and global business and pave the way for a revamped fee structure for all licensees," he stated.

The legislation proposes a comprehensive framework for Collective Investment Schemes which should encourage the setting up of more funds, both domestic and global, including Real Estate Investment Trusts and Foundations.

According to Sithanen, the appropriate legislation will be amended to allow for the development of alternative financial services such as Islamic financial services, a fast growing new sector with big export potential.

The Mauritius government will also urge and support any move on the part of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius to set up and develop a derivatives market on underlying instruments traded in other markets, and to start cross listings, the Finance Minister stated.

As part of its policy to develop the equity market and to widen and democratize share ownership, the government will encourage Mauritius Telecom and SICOM Ltd to list on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius. The government also plans to sell some of its shares in other state-owned companies.

Sithanen said that the proceeds accruing to government from these sell-offs will be utilised to either reduce the stock of debt or to finance high priority infrastructure, but will not be used to finance recurrent expenditure.

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series examining offshore investment, offshore stock exchanges, trusts and hedge funds is available in the Lowtax Library at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/subs_reports.asp and a description of the report can be seen at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/description_report9.asp

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