Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Fighter Jets Have Their Own Body Language



NATO F-16 buzzes the plane that was carrying the Russian Defense Minister over the Baltic Sea. Soon after an Su-27 comes in the middle and shows what it has under its wings. The NATO plane then flies away.

This comes after renewed tensions in Syria.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

LKY's Son Plans to Leave Singapore

Lee Hsien Yang is the youngest child of the former PM. He issued a joint statement with his sister Lee Wei Ling yesterday expressing concern about the omnipresence of big brother. In this case they are referring to their elder sibling, Lee Hsien Loong, the current Prime Minister of Singapore.

At the centre of the dispute is their parents' house at 38 Oxley Road which LKY wanted demolished. Lee Hsien Loong wants to preserve it.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Issues in Recent British Elections Are Relevant to Us



Listened to the first half hour and found it quite interesting. And relevant with respect to the rubbish we've been experiencing for the past decade. Just in case you missed it.

First 60-0 Turns 35

Three and half decades ago Mauritians were busy voting out every single MP in their government. This included Kher Jagatsingh, a 50-year old maverick, who had completed what he considered his biggest challenge: the reform and development of education and cultural affairs. After coming up with the idea of free education five and a half years earlier.

The tectonic shift of the results the following day didn't impress me that much. Because I was asking everyone calling in on voting day how they thought it would go. One deadpan answer from a trusted source gave me pause: 60-0. It sounded so real and definitive that other predictions received before and after that call kind of sounded fake.

Voters obviously did the right thing on 11 June 1982. Given their ability to understand the progress made at that time. They even showed wisdom in that complete sweep. And have gotten a lot more sophisticated since then.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Heads Roll As May Tries to Form Minority Government

With the help of the DUP. That might not be enough as there have been calls for her resignation within her own party. Jeremy Corbyn is also making plans to form an even smaller minority government. Brits may have to vote again if 2/3 of the MPs so decide or if two different minority governments don't survive a no-confidence motion.

Corbyn ran an effective campaign and promised to "...build a Britain that works for the many, not the few." This included following a worldwide trend of bringing back utilities under public ownership because "...water bills have increased 40 per cent since privatisation, and our private energy providers overcharged customers by £2 billion in 2015."

Friday, June 9, 2017

PJ Increases Top Tax Rates By 5%

In his budget yesterday. Along with a negative income tax (para. 280) of up to a thousand rupees. These should mitigate the growth of the Sithanen Toohrooh and could help reduce inequality. Not a bad start but it won't be enough. The establishment of a National Investment Authority (para. 321) is a good idea to optimise returns of the NPF/NSF and other parastatals and to provide much-needed opportunities for local finance professionals to put their skill set to contribution. It might even improve pension fund governance.

The big negatives include the extension of 8-year contracts to foreign labour in more sectors of the economy (p38). You don't want to do this when the economy -- broken by Dr. Calamity -- is not creating any jobs. At least not before you have a good look at pay ratios and remember that there's so much of unemployment and underemployment here. I didn't see -- haven't really read the budget yet -- anything to freeze the growth of the pool of vehicles. Not too sure you want to give all these fiscal exemptions. For example, is the minuscule tax rate for exporting companies going to apply irrespective of their size? After the rubbish of 'competitive depreciation'? Does the CMT need that?

Hopefully there will be some big improvements in these plans before the Finance Act is passed. Like scrapping the Metro Express project. And a massive reduction of nonsense.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Mauritian Taxpayers Handed Rs5 Billion Bill

Because Government lost the arbitration against Betamax Ltd. That's going to be hard to pay given that the Sithanen flat tax has broken our economy and there's tens of billions of rupees missing in the Government till. It's going to be even harder for voters to digest. How did we end up in yet another mess? Has there been any negligence and recklessness along the way?

At the very least salaries of Ministers -- and that of the Leader of the opposition given that he was the DPM until recently -- should immediately be cut by 80% to save around Rs150 million over the next twenty-four months. Government MPs should also take a big pay cut. Per diem rates should be revised downwards and overseas travel reduced to a strict minimum. Official cars should be traded for more reasonable alternatives. Like bus passes and bikes. And running shoes.

We also need to have more tools to deal with these kinds of situations. Like legislation that could better align the interests of politicians with ours. Including mechanisms for seizing a significant portion of the assets of members of cabinet after they play bull with our china shop. This is all the more necessary given that there are other cases pending including the USD1bn of damages lodged by Rawat.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Who Can Stop Rafa?

Looks like he's in demolition mode at the French open. He won it 4 times in a row. Didn't win two years and then clipped a streak of 5 championships. Before not winning it for another two years. There seems to be a pattern here.

If he gets past his fellow citizen this afternoon, he could be meeting Novak on Friday. Or Thiem, the only player who beat him on clay this year. But Wawrinka and Murray are still around.

Some really good tennis ahead for sure.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

NMH Saga Enters New Phase

The Special Investigator submitted his conclusions to the FSC a few days ago without some parties telling their side of the story on the ground that the appointment of Mr. Taukoordass was inappropriate. Mainstream media has leaked that there could be multiple violations of securities laws involved. And that the report has been sent to the legal adviser of the regulator for advice.

Let's see what happens next.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Currency Policy Incompatible With Feline DNA


GDP per capita for Mauritius was only $9,142 at the end of 2015. That placed us at spot 68. We would have done a lot better had we not adopted a policy of 'competitive depreciation' for the better of thirty years. If we had kept our currency fixed at its 1985 level -- which was not too much to ask from a Tiger -- then we'd be 32 spots higher. Or just above the Arabia of the Sauds. And in the company of other high-income countries.

We were also stuck below the $10,000 threshold because the Sithanen flat tax has broken our economy. Had we kept on growing at 5.5% since 2006 we'd be seven notches higher. Fourteen if the 8% growth rates promised by the bean-counter had materialised.

In the meantime another Tiger has confirmed her stripes. A combination of high growth rates and systematic currency appreciation -- 60% over the thirty-year period -- has pushed Singapore ahead of Germany, Sweden and even Denmark.

Only dimwits will believe that 'competitive depreciation' is painless.