Thursday, June 27, 2019

How Does Norway As a Football Powerhouse Sound?

Thanks to being one of the four countries to have won the women FIFA World Cup the oil-rich country is just behind Uruguay on a World Cup per capita basis because of its small population. Germany is third and the only nation to have lifted the trophy in both the men and women versions of the tournament. Argentina and France with their two trophies are next in the ranking after Italy but ahead of Brazil because five trophies are not enough to compensate for the 209 million souls of the South American country with a land mass larger than continental USA. Japan is last among the eleven countries but this could change with its shrinking population especially if its women team in four years is as good as this year’s and doesn’t exit the tournament because of a very controversial penalty. Uruguay can sleep tight for roughly another eight years – or until the first general election on planet earth with one billion eligible voters – and that too if Norway wins the next three tournaments as Germany is not a threat for the next 90 years. 

Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Wrong Budget Tomorrow and the Sithanen Toohrooh Rises By Rs338bn

To Rs1,781bn by year-end when we could be voting. This would increase the government revenue missing with respect to the reason for flattening the tax structure to 15% – getting 8% growth – by a huge Rs68bn. This is likely to be more than 50% of the budgeted revenue announced tomorrow. Or if you prefer the equivalent of 97 eye-hospitals without playing with our sovereignty or a quarter of the central government budgetary debt at the end of last year. Or more than three Lepep trams. Voters understand that indiscriminate tax breaks is an illusion and will only bring us way too close to a massive social crisis. 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Putting the Flat Tax Mess in Perspective

Let us assume that we halve the average 8% growth rate target in 2008 and we reduce it by three quarters in 2009 to account for the Great Financial Recession. That’s a pretty conservative assumption because an average growth rate takes into consideration years that are below average. Let us also assume that the government revenue shortfall generated by the Sithanen flat tax for each year — you’ll have one for any given year if the actual growth rate is less than 8% — is reinvested at a rate equal to the rate of inflation until the end of 2015. Again this is a fairly conservative assumption. 

Then at the end of 2015 the reinvested cumulative government revenue shortfall (RCRS) would have ballooned to Rs114bn. That’s 95% the size of the National Pension Fund at the time. Basically another NPF which would have allowed higher benefits to be paid or from an earlier age or some combination of the two. That would have been concrete proof of an ‘early harvest’ or a ‘bumper crop’. But that’s not the situation we’ve been in. Instead government has been trying for many years to target pension benefits. Rs114bn is also about 70% of the cost of a mass rapid transit (MRT) aka heavy metro system. We don’t need this system for now just like the Lepep tram but we would have been able to afford one. Rs114bn is almost half of our public debt at the end of 2015. This would have given us a better credit rating or at least a more favourable credit outlook. Rs114bn is also exactly six times the cost of changing all the leaking pipes of the CWA. 

But this was in 2015 and given that the Lepep government has maintained the regressive policies and added a few of its own the shortfall has kept on increasing and compounding. Three years later it had exceeded Rs300bn. 

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Five Key Ingredients For a Vibrant Democracy

1. First-past-the-post (FPTP) system to have strong and stable governments that form fast after general elections and don’t collapse after partner(s) leave winning alliance. Temporary lopsided results we got a few times can be mitigated with prudent tweak without making bloated Parliament bigger or suppressing dissent with stupid anti-defection legislation. 

2. Progressive taxation (PT) and top tax rates at the right level (35%) instead of a ruinous flat tax (FT) of 15% for better economic growth and distribution after savings culture resuscitated, good drains, 24/7 water, halving of road fatalities fast, preservation of our world-famous views and harmony and respect of nature.

3. Recall elections (RE) to get rid of incompetent politicians within months and not five years. Cheap. Only Rs30m. The cost of a by-election. Expect better behaviour after we use it a couple of times. Think of it as excellent meksin laryaz

4. Statute referendums (SR) to reverse toxic policies or anti-patriotic ones and to get rid of Presidents. Relatively cheap. Rs300m. Would have prevented Rs300bn government revenue shortfall and GDP gap of Rs1.5tn at the end of 2018. And tense celebrations of Mauritius@50.  

5. Initiated constitutional amendment (ICA) to get rid of the BLS, allow kreol in our Parliament, prevent holders of constitutional posts from leaving with hefty benefits in all cases and impose term limits on PM and other important posts.

Second ingredient will allow us to resume a much better development path like between 1968 and 2005. Ingredients three and four will improve the situation further and will be infinitely better than what we’ve experienced after ultra liberal policies were implemented thirteen years ago. Their combined use may make ICA redundant as common sense would have made an interesting return. 

Berenger (PB), Ramgoolam (NR), Jugnauth (PJ), Sithanen (RS), Subron (AS) and Boolell want proportional representation (PR) to push us into an autocracy. That’s a situation where they implement toxic policies and it’s a lot harder to keep them out of parliament. But it’s wonderful for political dynasties. We don’t want this. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Fond du Sac Told Compulsory Acquisitions Come in More Than One Flavour

One is fast. It was used for the Lepep tram, an entirely unnecessary project that will cost billions, solve nothing and is defacing important parts of several towns — the LP's version would have been as useless. The one citizens of this village got tastes different. It takes forever which explains why their lives were turned upside down three years in a row after rain fell.

But there is more at play here than a two-flavour system. Indeed government doesn't have enough money to undertake the most basic works that ensures that lives are not put at risk. Repeatedly. Even though public debt is ballooning. Blame it on the 15% flat tax which has reversed the clock of progress for an overwhelming majority of us. It will cause the Sithanen toohrooh to increase by over Rs358 billion (to at least Rs1.86 trillion or 3.5 times its 2014 level that was enough to cause a big political earthquake) by the end of 2019, likely an election year.

This GDP gap will be responsible for a government revenue shortfall of Rs71.2 billion this year alone. That's enough to change all leaking pipes, build enough drains to accommodate normal and not-so-normal downpours and help create the environment to allow the most educated generation of Mauritans to push their country forward. And in the interest of PJ's political survival to add a few tax brackets in the forthcoming budget.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

A Hundred Years Later, Amritsar Still Awaits Apology

Elizabeth II has been there. David Cameron too. But so far no apology. A kniefall à la Willy Brandt for the massacre that helped liberate India would be a good start. And give the British an opportunity to come to terms with the atrocious role they've played in the loss of millions of lives in one or more Indian famines

Thursday, April 11, 2019

A Polling Station Atop Mont Blanc, Almost

At 15,256 feet the one in Tashigang, Himachal Pradesh is now the world's highest and only 521 feet shy of the Franco-Italian roof but 856 feet higher than nearby Hikkim, the previous record-holder. One of over a million polling stations it has been set up for any of the 48 people that are allowed to vote there on May 19, the last of seven days of voting in the 2019 Indian general election. But it will not be as exclusive as the one erected in a remote Gujarati forest solely for Mahant Darshandas.

There will be an extra 85 million eligible voters -- roughly the population of Germany -- bringing the total to 900 million who will be tasked to elect 543 MPs in as many single-member constituencies (SMCs). 543 is unchanged from 5 years earlier -- our local political bonobos should take good note. India will have to wait for the 2029 election to cross the billion-voter mark. By that time she would have just overtaken China as the most populous country on spaceship Earth.

Voting starts today. Results will be proclaimed on May 23.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Sithanen Flat Tax Fuels More Street Protests

This time it was in Curepipe. Citizens were outraged that they've been without running water for up to two weeks. But what else could we expect when regressive tax policies have crippled government so much that it can't even pay for its own eye-hospital? And things will get worse as long as we remain on the wrong side of compounding. Boolell was there trying to score some cheap points -- the government revenue shortfall between 2005 and 2014 was big enough to change the 1,600km of leaking pipes at least five times over.

24/7 water is unlikely to happen when Collendavelloo completes his first term as Minister in the next few months. This is kind of obvious. See, when he took over about 45% of households enjoyed an all-day supply and this week he said it had reached 70%. So if it took 4 years to increase the percentage of subscribers getting round-the-clock water by 25 percentage points (by probably changing around 730km of leaking pipes) it will surely take more than a year to add the last 30% subscribers. Even if the Bagatelle dam comes into operation soon. In fact on the current trajectory 24/7 is not happening before the 2024 election year. Which is a good reason to put as much pressure as possible on government so it brings back some sanity to our tax structure. Because we surely don’t want 400,000 people to have water problems for another 4-5 years.

Public debate on this matter can also be enhanced if the Minister puts at least three very basic series of data on the CWA's website (the last annual report available there is for 2015). These are the length of the water network at the end of each year and the length and cost of pipes laid each year since the end of 1967. 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Piti Depas Papa

A la fin 2018 par Pravind Jugnauth (PJ) dan toohrooh Sithanen* ti 551 milyar rupi. Sa ve dir plis ki 125 milyar rupi par SAJ. Anfet par PJ ti osi depas rekordman ziska ler, Navin Ramgoolam (NR). PJ fin pran kat fwa edmi mwins letan ki NR parski zintere manz kapital apre en sertin letan si u pa fer seki bizin. PJ fin kontinye ek ban politik tre regresif ek insanse kin kontinye min enn lekonomi ki Sithanen fin tuye. Plis lor la biento.

*Toohrooh Sithanen se mank a gayne dan prodiksyon nasyonal konpare a en krwasans 8% ki Sithanen ti dir nu pu gayne ler li ti met flat tax 15%. Pu kon mank a gayne dan lakes guvernman u nek ena miltipliye toohrooh par pwa guvernman dan lekonomi. Dan mo ban kalkil mo abitye pran 20% bien ki pwa la zordi li 25%.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

60 Years Ago, Voters Seize Wonderful Chance of Sending Maverick To Parliament

At that time it was called the Legislative Assembly and he's about twenty-seven-and-a-half years old on that 10th Monday of 1959 in colonial Mauritius. He already has a lot under his belt. He had co-founded the Mauritius Times roughly five years before and had spent 17 months outside of Mauritius literally globetrotting during which time he secured a 30-minute meeting with Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the philosopher and Vice-President of India. That's barely a decade after the British had been sent packing. Just imagine the energy in the atmosphere. But more happens in that long trip. A lot more. He travels to London and on his way back stops at Paris where he's lucky to have lunch with l'Abée Pierre thanks to contacts established in India. These meetings and travels reinforce what his self-customized education - reading many right sutras very early in his life didn't hurt - has already taught him.

So voters elect him on his first attempt as a candidate in a general election. More was to come his way. Elected as Secretary General of the Labour Party a couple of years later, a post which he kept for about 21 years, he used this position to bring method to the madness in the party. This period would coincide with his work in three Ministries as one of the most important architects of our welfare state. 

Two other factors made the completion of such a massive amount of work possible. The first is that his biggest fan happened to be one SSR. The other is that he married a mathematician.