Thursday, January 29, 2009

Vivement Maurinegra!

Noureddine Lakhmari est en passe de devenir un héros national au Maroc. Casanegra, le second long métrage du réalisateur engagé, a le profil du film culte. Le film est un portrait craché de la société avec ses contradictions, ses inhibitions, ses mensonges, ses hypocrisies etc. Casanegra se veut être une "thérapie de choc pour ouvrir les yeux des citoyens et secouer les certitudes ouatées dans lesquelles la propagande officielle tente de les enfermer".

Notre mouvement alternatif se met en place doucement certes, mais sûrement. Kozelidir on the run!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Drivel Bashing

Ouf! Une bouffée d'air frais dans L'Express d'aujourd'hui parmi une inflation de bêtises et de mensonges.

Girdar Toolsee, le directeur général de Beachwear, déclare que "le taux de change de la roupie par rapport à la livre sterling nous affecte, comme toutes les entreprises qui exportent vers la Grande-Bretagne. Mais ce n’est pas le seul facteur de ralentissement des activités dans notre secteur. Au risque de contredire les autres exportateurs, je dirai qu’il faut cesser de dramatiser la situation. Quand la livre sterling s’échangeait contre plus de Rs 65, nous les exportateurs en avions tous profité, tandis que cette situation pénalisait d’autres. Aujourd’hui que la livre sterling a baissé, cela affecte certes, nos recettes. Mais c’est normal, c’est le marché. On ne peut pas gagner tous les jours. Nous espérons que la livre sterling remontera très vite, mais nous ne devons tenir personne pour responsable de la situation actuelle. Nous ne pouvons que l’accepter et redoubler d’effort. Demain cela ira mieux. La compétitivité ne peut pas être arrimée uniquement au taux de change. En étant design oriented, entre autres, nous pouvons amoindrir les difficultés de change et imposer nos prix. Les moments difficiles ont souvent du bon : ils nous permettent de nous remettre en cause, de nettoyer pour pouvoir repartir du bon pied. Comme je l’ai dit, nous devons redoubler d’effort. Les problèmes ne doivent pas nous arrêter."

Le drame c'est que de tels entrepreneurs existent par centaines à Maurice mais ce sont toujours les néo-colonisateurs qui sont médiatisés et qui finissent par imposer leur agenda nombriliste! Cela ne dédouane en aucun cas nos gouvernements successifs par rapport à leur incapacité à fluidifier le système national.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Did You Say Cathay Pacific?

And that was supposed to put some perspective into the hedging mess at MK. Bad move. That's because unrealised losses of Air Mauritius through 2010 are estimated at Rs5.47 billion (EUR 129.5m) or some 64.4% of its shareholders' equity of Rs 8.49 billion (EUR 201m) whereas the paper losses for Cathay Pacific are Rs31.66 billion (USD 980m) on shareholders' funds of a little less than Rs213 billion. In other words the paper loss for Cathay barely represents 15% of its equity.

More importantly, these unrealised losses can be easily met by the strong balance sheet of the Hong-Kong-based airline which at Dec 31, 2007 stood at close to half a trillion rupees. No, they won't be seeking support from the authorities.

You may also wish to know that Cathay had 159 planes vs. 12 for MK and that it transported over 23 million people in 2007 compared to the 1.3 million for Air Mauritius. Finally its depressed market capitalisation was close to Rs150 billion a couple of weeks ago or about 300 times that of MK's.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

After Passing Controversial Laws that Make Firing Brutally Easy Minister Will Now Give Money for Not Laying Off People

That's the cosmetic response of our national bean-counter to a faltering economy he's been painstakingly screwing up since he returned as Finance Minister three and half years ago. And you can expect more about-faces like this as it becomes increasingly clear that an overwhelming number of Mauritians will vote ar zot lipye in ridings such as No. 18 in the next polls.

World Could Soon Love America Again

If Barack Obama, who today signed the executive orders to have Guantanamo Prison closed within the next twelve months, makes good on a few other of his electoral pledges.

And don't be surprised to soon see something imaginable before last Nov 4th: America happily playing their favourite sport against the country which actually plays it better than them in Havana with Fidel Castro and Obama exchanging some good jokes about past diplomatic relations or lack thereof between their two countries. That would certainly bring back happy memories of a Pierre Trudeau laughing with the same Castro about accusations that he smuggled arms into Cuba on his kayak.

Nicky Tan Needs to Be Brought Back

I mean if we paid him Rs70 million to investigate a fraud of less than Rs1 billion, shouldn't we bring him back to investigate the multi-billion blunders at both the STC and MK? I am sure we could get a hefty discount per billion squandered investigated especially if we get our top negotiators involved.

Maybe, maybe not. But at least a fact-finding committee should be instituted at each one of these corporations to find out what really happened. And I think we can count on the magnificent statesmanship Navin Ramgoolam has shown throughout his prime ministership for this to happen with lightning speed. After all it's no secret that he likes speed, isn't it? And he did promise before July 3rd, 2005 that he would bring NTan to wrap up some unfinished business.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mauritian Banks Survived Financial Meltdown Because of Their Lack of Sophistication

Mortgages here unlike in the US are not securitized (banks selling them to intermediaries which repackage them into instruments of varying risks for institutional investors). And they are not securitized because our financial system is relatively primitive, a lot of players don't give two hoots about satisfying client needs and are instead busy abusing them in more ways than one. Our laws also need to be modified to allow this activity.

Hmm... Maybe not as long as political idiots keep on nominating incompetent people in positions of huge responsibility who don't even know that a government guarantee is the best loan you can get.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pro-Growth Propaganda: The Making of

Here's an enlightening excerpt from Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered, written by Ernst Friedrich Schumacher and first published in 1973:

Can such a system conceivably deal with the problems we are now having to face? The answer is self-evident: greed and envy demand continuous and limitless economic growth of a material kind, without proper regard for conservation, and this type of growth cannot possibly fit into a finite environment. We must therefore study the essential nature of the private enterprise system and the possibilities of evolving an alternative system which might fit the new situation.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


If you want to get a taste of how Dodoland operates, MK will provide you with lots of tips. To dig even deeper, you may also try to decipher the features that make the UOM and the MBC so Dodolandish.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Top 10 Reasons Why Solutions to 95% of Our Problems Are Not Domestic

No. 10. More reasonable electricity prices have been promised by Navin Ramgoolam for more than a year now. You should blame Mick Jagger if you've been waiting for Godot.

No. 9. Oil prices at the pumps remain high and are killing our economy to finance the reverse Robinhoodness of the flat-tax duet. Not really. It's Deepika Padukone's fault.

No. 8. More than a third of the students who fail the CPE do so because the exam is way too difficult. That of course is U2's Bono's fault who's been dishing out one great song after the other and disturbing our kids.

No. 7. Record FDI pouring into the country since 2006 should have made everybody richer through an appreciating currency had our national bean-counter along with the then Governor not been in a hurry to create double-digit inflation. Just kidding. If our currency crashed in the second half of 2006 it's because Scorpion Queen Khun Kanchana didn't hold the little darlings in her mouth long enough.

No. 6. The controversial reintroduction of the daylight saving time was imposed on us by Bernard Madoff.

No. 5. We have to blame Aung San Suu Kyi for staying too long at home if Sithanen did not anchor our inflation expectations by not providing the Bank of Mauritius and hence the country with a target range for inflation as required by the law between 2005 and 2010.

No. 4. Navin Ramgoolam has been PM for close to 9 years and our traffic problems haven't improved. Far from that. Nah, it's because Paris Hilton hasn't been partying hard enough!

No. 3. If Air Mauritius is technically bankrupt it's not because we have an incompetent bunch managing it. No way. It's because Hillary didn't win the Democratic Party's ticket in the last US President election.

No. 2. It is very easy to establish a link between the fact that we don't have a sufficiently comfortable public transportation system and the number of Asian lions that were born in 1859.

And the No. 1 reason why solutions to 95% of our problems are not domestic is

No. 1. People lost their lives in flash floods in the same week that water stoppages were in force in 2008. That of course is because the snow atop Mt. Kilimanjaro melted earlier than usual.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Oil Prices Should Come Down Immediately by 25%

From its current level of Rs 34.10 a litre. That would bring it to about Rs 25 a litre which would be closer to real prices. The recent modification of the APM formula from 20% quarterly variations to 7.5% monthly variations is the latest of a series of intellectually dishonest arrows that Sithanen has been retrieving from his bean-counting quiver. It is a device to prevent Mauritian voters from immediately benefiting from the collapse in oil prices so that his ability to fleece us with a 15% VAT remains unchecked. 

That's kind of stupid because energy is an important building block of our competitiveness. In fact, he should have capped the amount of money government makes when oil prices went through the roof between July 2005 to July 2008 and rapidly reduce pump prices when oil prices collapsed thereafter. Of course that's way too much to ask from a bean-counter. He preferred instead to viciously tax us to death when oil prices skyrocketed and come up with a little contraption to keep them artificially high when the latter crashed.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

MMM Should Find Platform Other Than Skin of Its Leader

Or face mayhem in the next general elections. Berenger got thrown out of office in 2005 because he delivered the worst performance by any of the Prime Ministers we've been electing since 1968 after a majority of voters thought that nobody could do worse than Ramgoolam at the end of his mandate in 2000.

Ramgoolam got back in again in 2005 because Mauritius kind of decided that his mediocre performance as PM the first time around was after all not as debilitating as Berenger's. That was before Sithanen seriously messed up our resilience and literally wiped out five years from the kind of future the people who built this country had envisioned.

It's time for Berenger to take a back seat and rebuild the MMM. A good starting point would be to appoint Lutchmenaraidoo as his successor. Now.