Saturday, December 31, 2011

Different Times, Different Secretary-General


50 years ago the Mauritius Labour Party got herself a dynamic Secretary-General: a 30-year old who had been MP for two years already and had co-founded The Mauritius Times seven years before. Given that SSR couldn't get enough of that guy, he stayed in the job for two decades.

Guess this is what you do when you want to move the country forward instead of trying to stay in power until you are removed feet first without getting anything done. Save offering some serious competition to Pyongyang!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bheenick is 2012 Africa Central Bank Governor

So says The Banker. For having boosted credit in times of lazy banking, stabilised our rupee and helped educate exporters that depreciation of our currency cannot be a source of competitiveness. He also brought the double-digit inflation he inherited from the toxic duet when he took office on Valentine's Day 2007 back to single digits.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Should Up To 1/3 of Our Ministers Not Need To Be Elected?

That's one of the proposals in the Carcassonne report. Currently only the Attorney General and the Speaker may not have stood in general elections to get into our Parliament.

What do you think? And don't forget to vote in our poll.

48% of Poll Would Pick Vishnu As Finance Minister


Compared to the 33% who would select Kee Chong Li Kwong Wing. 18% would choose somebody else.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Meet The Electoral Boundaries Commission

As the name clearly indicates it is not involved in the preparation of gato batat. Nope. It is rather a very important and independent institution entrusted with a very important task: ensure every 10 years or so that our 20 electoral constituencies have roughly the same amount of people.

But the Commission is allowed to slice Mauritius differently to account for such factors as means of communication, geographical features, density of population and boundaries of administrative areas. The last factor is essentially about trying to make boundaries of towns and villages coincide with those of our constituencies for obvious practical reasons. When the Commission members are done they send their report which could contain recommendations for additions and distractions to the 20 ridings to our National Assembly where it can be approved or rejected but not modified.

Which is why the Carcassonne report didn't contain a wasteful duplication of the work of the EBC.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Carcassonne Report on Electoral Reform Available Here

To download. While you are there don't forget to download the four-volume report of the Truth and Justice Commission.

Maybe we should start with the Carcassonne report. It's only 25 pages long.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

French Banker Wants Britain Downgraded First

This comment by Banque de France Governor Christian Noyer is causing ripples and is considered to be retaliation to Britain's use of its veto to torpedo the French-German initiatives to save the Euro. Noyer cited the better economic fundamentals of France. The British responded that the markets believe the UK has a credible plan for deficit-reduction. Which would explain why they are able to borrow at lower yields than France.

Friday, December 16, 2011

How Much Do You Know Mother Teresa?

You probably think a lot and that can be summed up as an extraordinary human being attending the poor, needy and voiceless of Calcutta. Which is what you've essentially seen her doing on TV. Me too. But today I read about the passing away of one Christopher Hitchens on the BBC's website where he had this quote about Blessed Teresa of Calcutta:
"Mother Teresa was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift of God. She spent her life opposing the only cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction."
I tried to find out more about this on YouTube and sure enough it was not difficult to confirm that she was against contraception and abortion. We learn something everyday, don't we?

And here's Hitchens description of Heaven:
"Endless praise and adoration, limitless abnegation and abjection of self; a celestial North Korea."
Looks like Chris never watched the MBC.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Get A Million-Rupee-Per-Year Job Without An Interview

If you have a Post Doctoral qualification and a committee of public servants deems you have what the Ministry of Finance needs. I think the Prime Minister should take a little pause in his ongoing political romance with the MMM and put, at least, his foot down to end this farce.

Hey, someone may have great qualifications but may not have the soft skills needed to deliver. And this scheme should be open to citizens of Mauritius only: we already have a very serious brain drain problem here and many young professionals want to leave because of a disease called bean-counting. Besides who wants to take the risk of hiring someone with impeccable qualifications like Hannibal Lecter but whose special dietary preferences would not always stay unmet?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Who Creates Wealth?

Some of our GLDs* want us to believe it's only them and would more than a little appreciate that Government and the rest of us to never forget this. And they seem to need policy interest rates all the way to negative infinity and our cute rupee heading to the centre of the Earth.

But that's easily debunked with a simple question: is the GDP of communist countries equal to zero? In fact wealth is created whenever you get out more than you put in and need not be measured solely in monetary terms. As the Cree remind us, our alimentary tract cannot handle what comes off De La Rue printing machines. Besides humans do not own other humans nowadays. Which is why we had go through the interesting CJV process.

*GLD stands for gurma laminn dipin.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

2011: The Year in Review (Q3)

July: Audit report confirms PBB is an eyewash. Jugnauth announces second miracle on its way. Minister loses son in accident. Hanoomanjee resigns followed by other MSM Ministers. Ramgoolam gets chance to measure up to the Gods of the Labour Party: do plenty with paper-thin majority. Mauritians experience their excellent constitution one more time.

August: US votes on debt deal hours before going into default. Seetaram crosses floor to give Ramgoolam breathing space. MSM leaves government without delivering new miracle. Mansoor wants Mauritius to pay for bean-counting mess, again. For Paul and Pravind it's still love at first sight. Our Parliament found already too big. Manou re-explains BOM's role to MEXA.

September: IMF confirms bean-counters indulged in Voodoo accounting. Jamaica 100m relay team too strong for world. Universe gets new Miss: Leila. Interest rate spreads hurting our competitiveness. Team-builder extraordinaire turns 111. Debt service to exceed education budget by 40% in 2013. Palestinians rejoice as Abbas requests UN membership. Sugar syndicate unhappy world not frozen.

Read the review for Q1, Q2, Q4.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sargent Has 40 Pages Ready For Nobel Speech

So I read in this nice NYT article today. Tom had this interesting observation:
"I think you've got to watch out for anybody in high-school who says he wants to become an economist." 
And this one when he got to Harvard where fellow Nobel-winner Chris Sims was already a rock star:
"He was so brilliant I was afraid to talk to him."
You also don't want to miss the prediction of Sims's math teacher. And you can read the 40-year-old Sims article that Sargent said got him going.

Dev Anand Dies in London at 88

How Much Value Does Water Master Plan Add?

The MBC said that it recommends the creation of an independent unit for the management of our water resources. I don't think we really need another layer of red tape. We already have too many of these. Just like we have all the information and people we need to quickly solve our water problems. And there are some good blogs out there which have already addressed this water issue to quite some depth.

Probably a new report was ordered so as to kill some more time or maybe someone has been eating too many funny mushrooms. Not a good strategy. 

Classy Football Legend Socrates Dead At 57

Saturday, December 3, 2011

2011: The Year in Review

January: African leaders get wonderful opportunity to benefit from advice that could be lethal to their political careers. Water problems confirm Ramgoolam's economic model is junk. Planning maverick barely recognisable because Labour Party forgot who she was. State could have spent our money better. Bunwaree makes access to A-level education easier.

February: IMF analysis too bland to pick up social volcanoes that had been brewing right under surface of Arab world. Journalist remembers SSR's last public meeting. Minister magic needed at earth's driest place. Union boss wants price of basic foodstuffs controlled.

March: Nobel puts feet in mouth. Powerful earthquake sets off deadly Tsunami in Japan. BRIC and Germany say no to military action in Libya. Boolell says he's not there to serve fat cats. Proposed 10-20% hike in water charges has no basis. MPs want answers from Financial Secretary. Free guide to understanding the infamous stimulus package published.

Read the review for Q2, Q3, Q4.

Bheenick Delivers Significant Speech

On Thursday at the BOM's Annual Dinner in Honour of the Economic Operators. Didn't go. Was overworked. But just finished listening to it. You don't want to miss this.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Adoption of Equal Opportunities Bill Creates Amusing Situation

Because this bill which is essentially saying that there is only one category of citizens was passed by people who, in the last general elections, accepted to be thrown in one of four arbitrary categories of citizens.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Manu Held To Home Draw As The Reds Try To Stop City

City has a chance to widen its lead by 7 points if it beats Liverpool. But that's not going to be easy after what the Reds showed us they were able to do at Stamford Bridge last week. Suarez, Kuyt and Johnson make a very intimidating trio that could hand City its first defeat of the season. And open up an already very interesting Premiership even more.

Let's see what unfolds at Anfield in an hour or so.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Kee Chong Hinting He Will Be MMM's Finance Minister

And not Lutchmeenaraidoo. That was in an interview he gave to L'express on Sunday. Whilst it's true that he has been in the limelight more often than Vishnu because he's in Parliament -- thanks to getting a ticket in a safer riding -- and Lutchmeenaraidoo is not, he has not convinced many in his party and elsewhere that he shares a philosophy that's different from the Paglanomics practised by at least half of the two university buddies since July 2005.

What do you think? And don't forget to vote in our latest poll: Vishnu or Kee Chong as FM.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

21-year Old Meets Horrible Death

Xavier Luc Brondon Lallsingh was crushed in an ash-mixer a week ago at Medine Sugar Estate. And now UASI (Union of Artisans of the Sugar Industry) President, Serge Jauffret, wants the board of Medine to suspend its General Manager until the ongoing inquiry is completed. Jauffret is saying that the safety of temporary workers is being compromised for the sake of a better bottom line. Especially after skilled artisans are being replaced by less-skilled seasonal workers.

What are your views on this?

Friday, November 18, 2011

State in A Hurry To Spoil School Holidays

At least for those kids from Standard IV and V who will take part in the Summer School Programme which begins November 24. This is our Government's response to the high failure rate at the CPE exams. I don't think this will really work because almost everybody knows that the problem is not with our kids but with the curriculum which needs to be redesigned to make learning more playful and relevant. Besides there is a much easier way to dramatically reduce the end of primary education failure rate: bell curve the results to allow a few thousands more children in Form 1 in January 2012.

For sure we can learn from Finland where kids begin school only when they're 7, spend the least amount of time in classrooms and yet are at the top of the PISA rankings. By the way, I am hoping Mauritius will start participating in this serious survey in the next few hundred years. Once we get tired of gazing at our navels that is.

Finally, there is another reason why we don't want to go ahead with the summer school programme. And that's because we know that kids now are not as physically strong as they were before. So the last thing we want is to have them spending still more time behind their desks slowly morphing into obese parrots. Nope. We better have them enrolled in a Summer Football Programme.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mansoor Pe Dir Reform Finn Port So Frwi

Pu li reform kinn kumanse depi 2006 finn fer nu gagn bon rezilta depi kinn diminie bann tax rates: nun gagn plis reveni et pli importan nun resi kree enn bann jobs a traver relans investisman.

Ah bon? Abe kifer alors li ti pe dir dan so bann sirkiler ki reveni pu en bes ziska 2013? Ek kifer malgre nun gagn 40 milyar FDI buku dimunn finn vinn mizer? Ek kifer so larme sek kinn donn li job FS la pann poze kuma independan dernye eleksyon zeneral? (En plis AM ti kav fer so campaign manager). Ek kifer nu depans plis kas pey linteret lor nu det ki nu investi dan ledikasyon?

Eski nu bizin koz lor kinn ariv nu savings rate? Uswa ki moris pann partisip dan rebondisman ekonomik mondyal? En plis li pa paret konn fer diferans ent monte ek bese.

Pa fer riye do...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Education Spending Not Alone in Falling Behind Inflation

So we learned today from the DPM. Expenditure on major pipe replacements for the past five years have been as follows: 2005/06: Rs225 million; 2006/07: Rs200 million; 2007/08: Rs160 million and 2008/09: Rs150 million; and Rs210 million in 2010. But Rs400 million have been spent in 2011.

The only two things that seemed to have kept up with rising prices are the crappy working paper industry and the attention given to crappy bean-counting indices.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Smokin' Joe Gone At 67

Many heavyweight boxers said that Joe hit the hardest. One even said that Ali hit like a butterfly but Frazier hit like a bee. Which is roughly what Foreman told the BBC on learning the passing away of his friend:
"The first thing I remember is when he missed [hitting] me. Just missing scared me so much that I knocked him down six times."
Watch Ali talk about Joe and George. Sound quality not too good.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mauritius Ranks 77th in Human Development

Out of 187 countries according to the 2011 report published by the UNDP a few days ago. This puts us in the high human development category but we're 25 spots lower than the first African country: The Seychelles. Which is by the way only 5 spots from the very high human development group of countries.

This is definitely a much more interesting Index to track. Unless of course if you happen to be a bean-counting junkie.

P.S. Make sure to check Figure 5.1 which captures pretty much Kozelidir's idea of development. And to have some fun with the data explorer.

China Not In A Hurry To Bailout Europe

Listen to this very interesting interview of Jin Liqun, Chairman of the China Investment Corporation. Where he is essentially saying that Europe is not sustainable as it is.

Friday, November 4, 2011

So, How Did You Find XLD's 1st Budget?

I am asking this because I didn't listen to the speech. Please educate me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Papandreou Wants Greeks To Vote on Rescue Plan

That would happen in January and increase uncertainty substantially. Or things could get out of hand if markets assume that the plan will never be approved by the Greek voters given how often the latter have been in the streets lately. But Papandreou's government may not survive a vote of confidence on Friday.

The effects of Greece defaulting or not implementing the strict austerity measures in the rescue plan are widely expected to be much more severe than when Lehman Brothers defaulted in September 2008. Which was considered as the triggering event of the last global financial recession. Greece is, at about USD300 billion, the 32nd largest economy.

Mauritius should be able to ride through whatever crises happen given how much slack we've got here.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wealthy French See Wish Come True: Pay More Taxes

Indeed those earning in excess of EUR250,000 will pay an extra 3-4% as per the French 2012 Finance Bill. They have probably asked for this after realising that their continued prosperity inextricably depends on average citizens having enough discretionary income to spend. And also because they are the ones who can shoulder the brunt of putting back national finances on a sustainable track.

The French are not alone: billionaire Warren Buffet too asked the US government, earlier this year, to make him pay more taxes. All of this comes after wealthy Germans requested Chancellor Merkel to raise their taxes two years ago when some of them found that they had a lot of money they didn't need.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

iBio To Hit Stands on Monday

The much-awaited authorized biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson has been no. 1 in books at Amazon for a number of days now. BBC broadcasted yesterday that Jobs had vowed to destroy Android as he viewed it as a copy of its own iOS. And the NYT mentioned how when SJ met with Bill Gates for a last time they concluded that their wives had kept them "semi-sane". It should make a very interesting read.

Friday, October 21, 2011

How Much Sleep Should You Lose Over The Doing Business Rankings?

None. See, it's not correlated with any of our national priorities. But we just lost 3 spots I hear a few of you say. Indeed, but that's 3 times less than the 9 spots we lost back in 2007, the year of the... ahem... early harvest. Still, given that we don't want our friends at the Joint Economic Council to do anything foolish during the week-end here's something to cheer them up: Mauritius has moved up 50 places in the Logistics Performance Index in the last few years from a miserable 132nd spot. By the way, if you average out our rank in these two indices you end up with 52.5 which is very close to our 54th place in the recently published 2011-2012 Global Competitiveness Report. Which is a more comprehensive yardstick.

Sleep tight.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

What Singapore Wannabes Cannot Miss

The following Lee Kuan Yew's quote:

The World Bank report's conclusions are part of the culture of America and, by extension, of international institutions. It had to present its findings in a bland and universalizable way, which I find unsatisfying because it doesn't grapple with the real problems. It makes the hopeful assumption that all men are equal, that people all over the world are the same. They are not. Singapore shall be forever a sovereign democratic and independent nation, founded upon the principles of liberty and justice and ever seeking the welfare and happiness of the people in a most and just equal society. Even from my sick bed, even if you are going to lower me in my grave and I feel something is going wrong, I will get up.

Amen.

Hollande To Face-off Sarkozy in 2012

He just defeated Martine Aubry in the second round of the Primaries organised by Le Parti Socialiste. But it's true that the incumbent President has not yet declared that he will be running again although this is widely expected. Recent polls have predicted that either Aubry or Hollande would defeat Sarkozy next year.

Five years ago, Sarkozy defeated Hollande's spouse, Dakar-born Segolene Royal in the race to L'Elysee. Still, they managed to do something the Clintons did not: both spouses getting their party's nomination in the Presidential Election.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sims and Sargent Win Economics Nobel

Was quite happy to read that Chris Sims had won it yesterday given that he has always been kind of a rockstar in econometrics. That's especially true when you consider how he provided policy makers in the beginning of the 80s with a simplified tool, the vector autoregression, to carry about their business. That was a huge improvement over the large and messy macro-econometric models like those built by Fair.

Incidentally, I was dragged into an econometrics symposium at the end of the 80s in Montreal by one of my university buddies where many of the discipline's Gods were meeting: Zellner, Pagan, Wallace, Geweke along with Sims, Sargent and more. There seemed to be some rivalry between Sims and Sargent and we got a little proof of that when Chris was running down his presentation. Indeed Sargent asked a question that appeared to me to be in quite an aggressive tone: What's the trace of this matrix? My friend too agreed that was rude but told me that she read in one of Sargent's book that he thanked Sims for teaching him all that he knows. Which is a bit what he said yesterday. He also doesn't seem to have any solution to the current global economic problems. I think we should have him as our next Financial Secretary.

And don't miss listening to Chris Sims talking to someone from the Nobel Foundation. Sounds a bit more down-to-earth.

MEF Wants To Resume Talks About Decent Work

This comes right after Minister Shakeel Mohamed pointed an accusing finger at the Mauritius Employers Federation for the failure of Mauritius to ratify the Decent Work Country Program.

Well you can't really blame the MEF: they've been way too busy promoting the indecent rupee depreciation program for so long.

But it's great that the talks are set to start anew.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

XLD Doesn't Want To Create Poverty-Level Jobs

That's what he said in a wide-ranging interview to Karishma Beeharee on Radio+ 10 days ago. He also thought that interest rates spreads are prohibitively high and reminded the audience that the Bank of Mauritius is an independent institution.

With respect to the alphabet soup of funds created by Rama Sithanen XLD highlighted an interesting point: these were not created by a faster-growing economy but with borrowed funds.

Finally, he didn't think too much of the unique skills that the MMM said it can bring to the Ministry of Finance.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sugar Syndicate Unhappy World Not Frozen

See, its Chief Executive is not happy that the rupee did not stay at the levels of a few years ago. Maybe it's because that's near to the weakest our currency has been. Who wants to accommodate a sector which has been dead for long and which accounts for about 1% of our economy? And which is now importing sugar from world-beater Brazil?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Palestinians Rejoice As Abbas Requests UN Membership

For Palestine which currently has observer status at the United Nations. The President of the Palestinian Authority then delivered his speech to the General Assembly which was interrupted by a couple of standing ovations. But at least two nations weren't clapping: the US which has promised to veto the application once it reaches the Security Council and Israel which doesn't want to return to pre-1967 borders.

Israeli PM Netanyahu then addressed the Assembly asking Abbas to meet with him right away in NYC for peace talks.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Debt Service to Exceed Education Budget By 40% in 2013


That translates into 4 billion rupees more on interest payments than money set aside for human capital or if you prefer two Midlands-dam-sized reservoirs. The other alarming thing to note here is that expenditure on education is not even expected to keep up with increases in the general level of prices. On dit merci qui?

Hope Xavier is paying attention.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Xavier Starting on Right Foot

Paying a full compensation for salaries up to Rs7,000 per month and a partial one up to Rs30,000 has been well received. And given that the minimum compensation paid will not be lower than Rs330 someone making Rs3,000/month will be getting an increment of 11% which is almost twice the inflation rate.

And as noticed by several people including Reaz Chuttoo of the Confederation des Travailleurs Du Secteur Prive (CTSP) the Government seems to be acknowledging that a minimum salary shouldn't be lower than Rs7,000. Besides SC/HSC fees are now paid by the State for family income not exceeding Rs14,500. That's another hint.

XLD's move also smashes a myth that a finance minister will have more consideration for the lower-income groups if he sported the ancestor of havaianas when he was a teenager. Especially after claiming to have read all the books on poverty.

Yep. Mr Chuttoo, reminded us in an interview that the salary threshold for receiving a full compensation was reduced by 40% from Rs4,500 to Rs2,700 in 2008. Which was apparently the year of the Bumper Crop... 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Team-Builder Turns 111

There are many nice things that can be said about SSR but none of those should come at the expense of making Mauritius work better for us. As I look closer to what we achieved as a nation his ability to spot talent and create strong teams stands out.

Steve Jobs summed it pretty well when he said: It does not make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hired smart people so that they could tell us what to do.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mauritian Interest Rate Spreads Hurting Our Competitiveness

According to the recently published World Competitiveness Index 117 out of 142 countries have better interest rate spreads than Mauritius. Mugabe's are 19 spots lower while Canada's are 101 spots higher. Mauritius was ranked 113/134 in 2007.

We are not world-beaters either when it comes to the savings rate. 97 countries had better savings rates than us last year. Compare that with a couple of years ago when only 24 countries had higher savings rates. 

On dit merci qui?

PM Now Understands Importance of Monetary Policy

That was not the case back in 2005 when he did not immediately appoint Bheenick as Governor of the Central Bank. And I don't think he understood how important monetary policy is for the country and for the career of politicians when he nominated Manou back in 2007 on Valentine's Day. Granted he considered a few options but in the final analysis Bheenick was minted Governor mostly because he didn't want to give in to Sithanen. That's quite understandable given that both Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo and Manou Bheenick were denied a ticket which considerably reduced a mesmerised Ramgoolam's options as far as the crafting of economic policies go.

He appears to have learned his lesson because during the last electoral campaign he announced that Bheenick would be returning at the Bank of Mauritius. That's, by the way, the closest you can get to having an elected Governor.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What SSR's Colleagues Gave Him For His 80th Birthday

It's sometime before September 18, 1980 and I go up to my dad who had been nominated President of the committee organising chacha's big 8-0 bash with the most important question of the year: So, what are you guys giving him for his birthday? We haven't decided yet was the answer. So that I had to gently pester the Minister of Education with the same PQ when I got the opportunity to do so. In the meantime I was rushed to several functions including the cake-cutting ceremony and watched the horse race dedicated to Seewoosagur chit-chatting with the birthday boy. He was a very approachable fellow and it was always a lot of fun talking to a Ramgoolam who knew that Titmuss did not win a Nobel.

So, what did they give him? A watch bhai Kher told me later. What kind of watch? His fellow Ministers contributed to buy him a Rs15,000 watch. 

Aren't you grateful to that teenager for carrying out this special investigation?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Why Alex Ferguson is Still on the Pitch

Because his wife Cathy didn't want a retired Scot in the kitchen bothering her. T Mag has an interesting portrait of Sir Alex this week. You don't want to miss it.

N.B: I am a Liverpool Fan.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

56% of Poll Don't Think Electoral Reform is a Priority


This topic was brought back on the front burner after gran frer gran malelve welcomed ti frer ti malelve to renew their vows after the latter's break-up with mo papa-mo papa's son.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How Employers Can Pay The Smallest Compensation

By asking the Bank of Mauritius to target a level of inflation consistent with price stability -- that would be between 1-3%. They wouldn't be asking anything extraordinary because that's what already written in the law governing the business of the Central Bank. In fact, law-makers around the world have drafted similar provisions not because they like their fellow countrywomen too much but because they've noticed how higher inflation has a persistently naughty habit of throwing politicians out of office. Which would partly explain why we had 3 different Finance Ministers in the last 16 months.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Meet The Policy Matrix


Which helps you to quickly make sense of the policies that are proposed and implemented in Mauritius. Our leaders should obviously try to have most of their policies in cell 1: those that are good for Mauritius and help make their re-election easier. The selfless leader will not hesitate to execute policies in cell 2: he might face electoral setbacks and even political death but his policies will be recognised when the dust settles. The selfish policy-maker won't mind having policies in cell 3: he could be deriving substantial personal benefits from his position and he couldn't care less about Mauritius. Could get re-elected but will rapidly be on borrowed political time. Finally the dumb toxic leader will focus on cell 4: his policies could cause untold misery and his political career will hopefully end up just like toxic waste: buried.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Two-thirds of Poll Think MSM MPs Should Resign


From Parliament that is. For sure it's a small party but big enough for Ramgoolam to have needed them to stay in power given how bad economic policies were during his second mandate.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Jamaica 100m Relay Team Too Strong For World



The 100m World Champion Yohan Blake runs the bend and gives it to the 200m World Champion and twin dash record-holder Usain Bolt to improve their 2008 record by 0.06s. And mind you, Asafa Powell was not on the team. The new record is more than three-quarters second faster than the one at the first World Championships. So humans, sorry I mean Jamaicans, will soon be running under it under 37 seconds.

Amazing, especially when you consider that Jamaica has only 2.8 million people.
Dodoland? Tuzur enn plezir mem?

Only 23% of Poll Happy With Paul Meeting Pravind


In the Presidential Suite at the Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel almost immediately after they left government. A little over 40% were not happy while 34% were indifferent to the two political leaders meeting. And the MMM die-hards were not exactly thrilled.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

IMF Confirms Bean-Counters Indulged in Voodoo Accounting

After carrying out a PEFA (Public Expenditure And Financial Accountability) Assessment at the request of our Government for 3 financial years ending 2009. In the report they are saying that about a quarter of the capital budgets for two fiscal years was not spent. Which is something we had already pinpointed a couple of years ago.

I also want to know who placed in this dumb request because we surely can put our public officers to better use than to duplicate work that the Audit Office does every year. Especially given that they seem to be already spending too much time -- and hence our tax rupees -- with that white elephant called -- PBB. And the bloody audit reports have been coming in with terrifying persistence.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Should We Prefer One Type of Tourists Over Another?

This is a long-standing debate: some say we should only get the cream of the crop while others are perfectly comfortable with all kinds of tourists visiting Mauritius.

What are your views?

Youth To Stage Rally on September 11

To say no to the current social and economic climate. Listen to Jameel Peerally one of the organisers who clearly emphasised that we do not need changes of the type we saw during the Arab spring. I agree, our system needs some tweaking, albeit urgently.

Visit the movement's FB page which has already 10,000 members.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mansoor Saying Maintenance of Welfare State Dependent on Growth Rates

According to Le Mauricien. That was on Thursday during the same event where Manou talked to our local cry babies. What bean-counting Ali should instead have said is that his tax experiments have cost tax payers a lot and have made previously sustainable social nets overdependent on robust growth rates. This economic poop of his can be fixed by sufficiently raising taxes of the well-to-do.

What do you think? 

Manou Re-explains BOM's Role To Mexa

Which is the pursuit of price stability. The Governor also enumerated how the Central Bank has been assisting economic operators as of late. He also explained the consequences on our public finances of doing what the Swiss National Bank did to try to counter appreciation of the Franc. That was on Thursday.

In a similar vein Fed Chairman remarked on Friday that US public finances could spin out of control if current fiscal policies are not reviewed. Put differently it will make them overdependent on unrealistic growth rates.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jobs Steps Down As Apple's CEO

So he wrote in a short letter to Apple's ecosystem. He will continue as Chairman of the company while Tim Cook is the new CEO. The New York Times has a nice retrospective of Steve's days at Apple.

Indian Supreme Court Quashes Ban On Aarakshan



A few days ago. So people in Punjab and UP will now be able to watch the Prakash Jha movie that deals with the touchy issue of reservation (quotas). I went to see it in the week-end and enjoyed the great cast, the contagious songs and the script. And would definitely recommend it.

Malaysia is grappling with similar issues.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kozelidir Turns 3

Yep, 3 years ago we guessed that SAJ would not be getting a second mandate as President because Navin Ramgoolam would prevent Sithanen from closing the few windows of opportunity that were still available in August 2008. Well, how could we know that the PM likes to operate with all the windows shut? I even wonder whether he has noticed they are not opened.

That of course didn't prevent us from looking at a number of issues that affect the lives of the people of Mauritius. We have now reached 763 posts and the 2,700th comment should arrive in the next little while. I never thought we'd grow that big that quick. Now I get the feeling we're just warming up.

Thank you for the wonderful conversations!

Go Kozelidir! Go!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Why Our Parliament May Already Be Too Big

Because you would be hard pressed to write down the names of 10 MPs (members of cabinet included) in each of our last four governments alongside anything significant they've done that improved your life.

Our parliament looks also way too big when we compare it to that of a country which works well: Canada. They elect only 305 MPs although they have 34.5 million people. That's one MP for every 113,000 people if my math is as good as yours. By this yardstick our National Assembly shouldn't have more than 12 MPs. And Canada is one of the most geographically diverse country on the planet with almost 10 million square kilometres.

Which makes the suggestion that we should increase the size of our Parliament rather absurd.

Arab Spring Spills To Unlikely Place: Israel

And the 3-week old protest shows no sign of slowing down. The people are not happy because they feel their government has stopped listening to them. So it's not about whether Karl Marx is a prettier boy than Adam Smith. It's not about whether one God is better than another. Nope, it's about living conditions that have become increasingly unbearable.

I wonder if they have a toxic duet there too.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sithanen Available To Offer Opinion on 5 Issues, To Anyone

Which he qualified as extremely complicated. These are:
  1. Electoral reform
  2. Institutional reform
  3. Double Taxation Avoidance Treaty (DTAT) with India
  4. Global Economic Situation
  5. Local Economic Situation
He met the PM yesterday and has volunteered to tell Berenger exactly the same thing he told Ramgoolam if moustas wishes. He is also prepared to meet anybody else who is keen to hear what he has to say. But he didn't want to tell Radio+ this morning.

Two things seem to be happening here. First, it looks like he's desperately trying to creep into the limelight again because if he is prepared to tell everybody exactly what he told the PM he should write an article about it or make a little statement to any of our radios. I mean for the sake of efficiency -- and in the spirit of the, ehh... PBB -- that's what he should do. The second one is that he seems to have a lot of time on his hands to be able to go around like a ghar ghar ki lota. But it's true that the unemployment rate has remained in the double-digits for the last many years.

As far as the 5 topics go we know that electoral reform is not priority; we have tasted his idea of institutional reform with the appointment of his toxic little buddy as FS and the display of what a pathetic Bretton-Woods puppet looks like and that treaty has probably contributed in preventing the full genius of the Mauritian people to emerge. And the internet provides us with enough information about point 4 so we don't really need him for this while I am hoping he will issue a mea culpa to the beautiful people of Mauritius for the unmitigated mess he has done to our local economy with his ultra-liberal policies.

Finally, these issues are not exactly complicated and the sun will keep on rising in spite of him.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Electoral Reform is Not A Priority

Because although the current system is not perfect it has proved to be good enough. What can and should instead be immediately improved is the level of debate across the political spectrum as to how to fix our ailing society. See, we didn't really get any debate on electoral manifestos during the last three general elections. I don't think that makes our democracy more vibrant. And we have seen what economic groupthink has done to Ramgoolam's political fortunes in 5 short years.

Still, if we insist on getting distracted with electoral reform I think we should involve as many people as possible. And there's no easier way of doing this than for the Prime Minister to put all the working documents online. Today. And anybody who feels he has written anything good about this topic should do the same.

For sure we don't want a parliament of a 100 lawmakers: we already have too many who don't contribute anything interesting. And we don't want the names of political leaders to also appear on party lists if ever a dose of PR were to be considered. Nah, these TINA-like suggestions should be brushed aside.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Martin Leaves MSM, Ramgoolam's Majority Improves

It's now 37-32 so that even if MR leaves government, Ramgoolam can still pass budgets and begin work to shrug off his neocon label. This will also allow Ministers to travel a bit more freely during Parliamentary season. And apparently there are a few more MSM MPs seriously thinking about joining government.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Why Our Economy Was Not Resilient in 2008

Or in the recent past as the Financial Secretary would have us believe. Here are a few pointers:
  1. Growth in USD was about -5% in that year.
  2. The Misery Index was close to a 10-year high -- average inflation was 70% higher than under Federation 2.
  3. We missed the rebound in the World Economy in 2010 -- resilience means rebounding by the way.
If you're still not convinced have a look at our little but growing collection on the topic.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Understanding Resilience: Part 4

To maintain or improve the lot of as many people as possible you need a progressive taxation system and some growth. If you lower taxes by too much the finances of the government will become overdependent on the realisation of higher growth rates. As we've seen happen with the policies put in place by the toxic bean-counting duet.

This cannot make Mauritius more resilient for sure.

Shammi Kapoor Passes Away at 79



In Mumbai a few hours ago. He was a very popular face in the 1970s -- I often got tired seeing him so much on TV instead of Amitabh -- along with his two other brothers, Shashi and Raj. And a remarkably versatile actor too. R.I.P Shammi.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ramgoolam Has A Challenge for MSM MPs: Resign From Parliament

So he said at a lengthy press conference which ended a little while ago. He did not think too much of their political weight either suggesting that they might have downgraded from a little party to bagasse.

The Prime Minister also said, in reply to a question about Ali Mansoor's controversial circular, that the Financial Secretary is a technical guy but that it's the politicians who craft policy because they consider more dimensions than the bean-counter. Really? Can he substantiate this?

Friday, August 12, 2011

71% of Poll Expected PM To Eject MSM


Interestingly as days passed after 6 ministers resigned more people concluded that the MSM would not be accommodated (which has 2 'm's). Which is what happened.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

For Paul and Pravind, It's Still Love At First Sight

When they met today in room 616 at the Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel. They apparently discussed about electoral reform which is a thorn in their side. This doesn't look too serious because when they had an opportunity and the supermajority to do something about it -- between 2000 and 2005 -- they didn't go beyond babbling.

We also haven't heard the MMM on the crazy circular issued by the Financial Secretary last week. When are our politicians going to get serious?

Maybe they don't love us anymore?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Eski Kiltir Nu Bann Parti Politik Diferan?

Saem pe tande la. Sanla ena kiltir, sanla pena. Ki zot pense lor la?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Who Says The Next Rainy Season Gonna Be Better?

Nobody. In fact, if global warming has modified rain patterns it would be silly to stay put and expect Mare-aux-Vacoas to fill up with the same regularity as it used to. So that we may be better off building smaller reservoirs in the places where rainfall has been more generous in the recent past. And give phase two of the Midlands dam the go-ahead. In other words we need a good plan. The snag is that no ministry has been taking care of planning for a while now. This hasn't changed either with the latest permutation in the cabinet.

Despair not. We still have a direct line to God.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mansoor Wants Mauritius To Pay For Bean-Counting Mess, Again

That's what I conclude from skimming through his latest PBB circular No 7. In it, he is saying that the economy is not growing as fast as expected so that he now wants to introduce and/or raise user fees. Because, he adds, there is limited scope for raising taxes if we don't want to scare off private domestic investment and FDI. Well, we know for a fact that the Rs 40 billion of FDI we received after taxes were slashed by 50% didn't make a difference in the lives of a supermajority of Mauritians. For five straight years. So that's a spurious argument at best.

Also, the average growth rates of 4% he's expecting for the next three years is not that bad by itself but too low to get us out of the toxic debt dynamics his flat tax has thrown us into. And recall we were told back in 2005 that two years of belt-tightening combined with the potent new medicine of Dr Kontu would send us orbiting into economic nirvana. That did not happen either. In fact Mauritius missed one of the strongest world recovery last year and could miss more. A lot more.

The dismantling of our welfare state which incidentally established the reputation of our country worldwide by providing exceptional social mobility to countless thousands will also have severe repercussions on the political chessboard. Ramgoolam has already seen his majority dwindle from 38 at the the time of result proclamation in 2005 to a current 36 after best losers and turncoat. The stage could now be set to seriously frustrate his attempts to stay in power after 2015.

MSM Leaves Government Without Delivering Second Miracle

After Pravind Jugnauth has been Finance Minister for 15 months. I am really surprised because I thought that the the Universe had conspired to make the first one happen as soon as the MSM was created back in 1983. And that after the then Labour Party had left the economy in shambles.

So what's different now? Economic conditions are worse than in 1983? The magic formula is not working anymore? Or maybe there was never any magic formula and the MSM of SAJ mostly got quite lucky?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Seetaram Crosses Floor To Give Ramgoolam Breathing Space

He is one of four Ministers minted today which provides Ramgoolam with at least a majority of 3 (36-33) in Parliament. This could change as Ramgoolam could mint a few more to consolidate his numbers in our Assembly.  And those could still include Pravind Jugnauth. Other things of note is that Xavier Duval becomes Finance Minister while Anil Baichoo is promoted as Vice-Prime Minister.

So that's where the political chessboard stands as we speak.

Ramgoolam To Mint New Ministers

That's what he announced a few hours ago. The names will be made public at a televised press conference this evening. That's the right thing to do. Ministries should not be managed by part-time law-makers for an extended period of time.

In the meantime the MSM is pointing to other reasons for resigning from cabinet. While the latest events have sent a daily grinning.

US Loses Triple-A Rating

Indeed S&P lowered Uncle Sam's credits to AA+ citing reduced predictability of US policy-making and debt-levels dynamics that don't look too good. A lower-rating means higher interest rates must be paid for investors to purchase American debt. It also means a higher likelihood of default.

I wonder what are the recommendations of the toxic bean-counting duet for the United States: a flat-tax plus focus on the doing business rankings?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Advertising Watchdog Ditches Julia Roberts Ad

Because the UK authority thinks her picture has been digitally enhanced way too much. So they've got codes that govern the amount of exaggeration that can go in ads? Not. Bad.

Little escapes the alert British society.

Obama Turns 50

He's been one busy President. Jumped in the worst crisis since the Great Depression and barely managed to avoid the US defaulting. And the world is becoming increasingly multi-polar with Chindia to play a larger role in many spheres.

And Obama will seek re-election next year.

Monday, August 1, 2011

US To Vote on Debt Deal Hours Before Going into Default

The vote is due anytime now. But the intriguing possibility of Uncle Sam defaulting has eroded, albeit slightly, the safe haven status of American T-bills.

Make sure to check the interesting interactive graphic of the New York Times to find out how US debt progressed under different administrations. The Economist summed it as essentially the product of two tax-cuts, two wars and one stimulus package.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mauritian Citizens Experience Their Excellent Constitution, Again

So six ministers resign while the Head of Government is abroad. No problemo. Latter makes up his mind and instructs the President, as per our Constitution, to flip the relevant ministries to other Ministers. And all of this happens seamlessly.

It's the same Constitution that presided at the four orderly changes of governments we've witnessed since Independence and established our reputation as a stable democracy.

God bless our Constitution!

Ramgoolam Should Mint New Ministers

And here's a suggestion from a comment on Kozelidir.

Nita D: Finance
Patrick A: Civil Service
Suren D: Tourism
Rihun H: Health

Looks good to me. And to you?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

How To Calculate Economic Growth


We are not talking about average growth rates here. Nope we are instead looking at how to compute growth rate in any one period given the structure of the economy in the preceding period. And to make our point fun we're considering three cases. 

First, an economy with only one sector. Piece of cake: the growth rate of the economy is equal to the growth rate of the sector. 

Next an economy with 2 equal sectors. Here we just need to calculate the average of the growth rates of the two sectors to get the growth rate of the economy. 

But if we have 2 unequal sectors  -- as illustrated in the rightmost part of our chart -- we need to do the weighted average growth of the two sectors. For instance if the biggest sector is 4 times the smaller one and they grew by 5% and 10% respectively then the growth rate of the economy would turn out to be 4/5x5%+1/5x10%=6%. Naturally if the two unequal sectors grow at the same rate so will the economy. 

This explanation will become quite handy to discuss a number of interesting things. So stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ramgoolam Can Do Plenty With Paper-Thin Majority

He just have to take a look at what was achieved by the Labour Party between December 1976 and June 1982. Of course at that time the leadership of the MLP knew how to assemble strong and dissenting teams that could be trusted with a schedule.

Something which has eluded Navin Ramgoolam until now.

Hanoomanjee Resigns, Followed By Other MSM Ministers

With Pravind Jugnauth speaking to the press later in the day. Recall that the constitution provides the President with powers to nominate as PM the person who commands a majority in Parliament.

Ramgoolam is out of the country. I guess we should now expect him back soon.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Meet Uruguay, A Football Powerhouse


It has won two World Cups although it has only 3.4 million people. That's a lot of World Cups per capita if you ask me. 0.59 per million people as shown in the above chart if you want to know. Which is almost 9 times the number for the next country in the list: Italy. And 22 times that of Brazil which has yet to win one at home. From what we have seen in the Copa America, the Selecao has still a lot of work to do to avoid a repeat of the 1950 Maracana final in 3 years.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

FIFA Ranking: Does Population Size Matter?


To some extent yes if you consider that three-fifths of the Top 20 spots are occupied by countries with less than 50 million people. This proportion drops to half for the 10 best teams. Mauritius is at spot 189 in case you're wondering. In Africa, only Seychelles and Djibouti do worse than us.

Long live the Doing Business ranking!!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

So, How Big is The Toohrooh?


We know from our previous conversation that it's in the billions. But how good an estimate can you come up with? And how quickly?

I am starting my stopwatch now.

Minister Loses Son in Car Accident

20-year old Shiva Chedumbrum was on his way to school when his car was involved in accident.

I have stopped counting the number of fatal road accidents. It seems that Mauritius is putting an increasingly smaller value on the life of her citizens.

Host and Defending Champ Exit Copa America

Messi's side beaten by a splendid Uruguayan team at penalty shoot-out yesterday and tiny Paraguay embarrasses uninspired selecao at penalty kicks a little while ago to advance to the semis. In fact Brazil did not even get one penalty past an in-form Villar.

And Japan has defeated the US to clinch her first women World Cup by scoring two extra penalties.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jugnauth: Second Miracle On Its Way

That's what he said in parliament this week. The trouble is that a year has already gone by since he's been in the driver seat and nobody has seen anything yet. Save water cuts for almost 12 months and an inflationary budget in November.

Don't hold your breath.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Kozelidir Breaks Through 2,500-Comment Barrier

So I have to say a big thank you to the fans of this blog for the conversation.

Do I have to issue a little note as to what kind of comments don't get through? Nah, you have a pretty large sample here to figure out the DNA of this blog.

And as far as posts go this one is number 729. Which makes reading the guide an interesting stop for many. I have also cleaned up some of the labels so that the experience becomes still better. Here is one sexy baby: all the charts on Kozelidir.

Yahoooooooooooooooooooo!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Duval Wants Poverty Line Redefined

Rs5,000 per month per family may be ok for small families but not for larger ones says the Minister. With that in mind he wants to talk with his colleague at the Finance Ministry about some adjustment for family size.

What do you think about this?

Understanding Resilience: Part 3


We know that too much foreign debt can make a country bankrupt: ask Thailand. Here too we've been taking up too much of it for the past 5 years. Indeed, the share of foreign debt in the total debt of the central government has literally doubled between 2006 and 2010. That's all the more worrisome given that these monies have not been used to improve our competitiveness or reduce frustration levels of the common citizen. Far from it.

Berenger is Disciple of Goebbels Says PM

At an impromptu press point at the Treasury Building yesterday. He was responding to allegations made by the Leader of the Opposition an hour earlier that he had met Dr Malhotra, the owner of the Medpoint clinic, and had then called the chief government valuer.

The Prime Minister forcefully denied these accusations and said that he would come back to them once the visit of the President of Congo-Brazzaville comes to a close.

Joseph Goebbels was Propaganda Minster for the little guy with the moustache.

Friday, July 8, 2011

CFA Institute Offering Free Primer For Trustees

This handy 120-page document offers a nice coverage of topics including governance structure, investment policy, investment objectives and risk tolerance and ethics in investing. And if you want to delve deeper into the ethics part of it then you should go for the Institute's Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice Handbook. These will help you navigate safely through ethical dilemmas. Both are them are also available for a free download.

Happy reading!

168-Year Old Newspaper Closed

By the Murdoch family. News of the World apparently hacked phones of thousands of people and paid police to get private information. Andy Coulson, its former editor and until recently the chief spokesman for the British Prime Minister is expected to be arrested today.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Petals of Dust Turns 30

So reminded us Le Mauricien on Monday. I for one recall being told by the management of Gangatarang to show up at The Triveni appropriately dressed on that Tuesday. Had a front-row seat, saw the familiar faces, listened to speeches, checked the book-signing part, had a few snacks along with a Fanta in between. Got back home. Camera crews followed a few days later to interview SKJ.

It's only way after that I got to appreciate the contents of the book. And the fascinating road travelled by its author. I still do. Haven't fully digested it yet. But that doesn't mean you cannot start enjoying it. Nope. We have already placed 8 chapters on its own blog so that your blood get stirred in the right way.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Audit Report Confirms PBB is An Eyewash

It's that period of the year again when the audit report affords us an opportunity to become totally outraged at how our tax rupees are wasted. And why bean-counters cannot hide under the cover of PBB to mask their miserable failure.

It's not getting better is it?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Understanding Resilience: Part 2

Halving top tax rates and easing the purchase of big cars may have provided Ramgoolam with bragging rights: Ferraris, Lamborghinis and loads of other expensive cars routinely slide on our velvet roads.

But as we don't make these gas-guzzling vehicles we had to import them. And we've paid for these babies essentially by selling our land to rich foreigners probably after telling them that we're building a society for the few not for the many. That's not sustainable. And what's not sustainable cannot make us resilient.

And this folly has come at a heavy cost: a carefully crafted masterpiece, our welfare state, has been upset. So that Mauritius has become a less exciting place and FDI has collapsed in the first quarter of the year.

Looks like the toxic party that was sold to Ramgoolam is pretty much over. He should now revert to basic governance. Right away.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Rafa To Meet World No. 1 Player on Sunday

That's Novak Djokovic who's been having a terrific year so far including beating Nadal no less than 4 times. But before make sure to watch the Maria Sharapova-Petra Kvitova match-up tomorrow.

I am betting on Rafa and Maria.

Minister Baichoo Good With Synonyms

This was clearly visible in his speech during the inauguration of the access road to the Reduit Triangle yesterday: Mo bizin remersye promye minis, Dr. Navin Ramgoolam, san so vizyon, san so sutyen, san so kolaborasyon, san so sipor, san so ed nu pa ti pu kav fer li.

Not bad, eh? Having trouble with synonyms? Don't despair, you can get some help here.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mauritians Visit Blogger More Often Than Orange

According to Alexa: they are at positions no. 8 and 9. The first newspaper in the list is L'express at 11th spot. Defimedia.info is at 16 while Wordpress, blogger's competitor, at 22. Gov.mu is at 15, MCB at 13, SBM only 99 (but it has another entry at 102). Le Matinal is at 28 while lemauricien.com (this includes weekend and turf magazine) at 36. Liverpool is at 48, Manu at 54. Google Mauritius is no 2. And the winner is... Facebook!

You can have fun with the full list here. But read this before getting too excited.

Deerpalsing Wants A Planning Unit Under PMO

Essentially for the same reason it's the PM who appoints the Governor of the Central Bank. If the latter produces too much inflation by giving in to the GLDs who love the worst enemy of the poor the former's political position may weaken. In fact that's the case with all positions of huge responsibility: we have seen how two bean-counters have squandered Ramgoolam's historic 2005 majority.

It's all about picking the right people and avoiding groupthink at all cost. Stuff that leaders should excel at.

Looks like we've regressed by half a century.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lagarde Appointed First Female Boss of IMF

And has agreed to continue the reform of the governance structure of the Bretton Woods institution to reflect the shift in economic power underway. She will be at her new desk the day after the US independence holiday.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Changes in Domestic Debt: The Last Decade


Our domestic debt increased by more than 19 billion rupees in 2003 but government borrowings on the local market has been on a declining since then save 2009. So, have we become more resilient? Not exactly when you take a look at external debt and when you remember that these numbers exclude debt contracted by parastatals and private companies.

Regulators Want Big Banks To Hold More Capital

And of better quality too. In fact the BIS -- a club of Central Banks -- is recommending that banks hold extra capital in proportion to the their systemic importance.

The BIS also wants leverage and liquidity to be given better consideration in view of the role that they played in the recent financial meltdown.

You may want to skim through its annual report just published.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

How Bad Economics Made Mauritius A Sad Place


Cutting top tax rates by 50% required that the economy grow, on average, at a robust rate: 8% instead of the usual 5%. Maybe a bit less if you got slightly better collections from the MRA and reduced wastage levels. But as the above graphic shows the economy never grew close to where it should have to justify the flat tax. Which would explain why fiscal policy literally became a game of Nintendo and decisions that would have improved our competitiveness and your living conditions took a backseat for several years.

The multi-billion rupee revenue shortfall was financed with a pile of debt too much of which was denominated in foreign currency. Making us more vulnerable. Bean-counters are now likely to ask that the State sell several of its assets which would drastically narrow the opportunities of the many while expanding those of the few. This of course is not the Labour Party's idea of the State.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Detective Columbo Dead At 83

Saw that a couple of minutes in the NYT. R.I.P Peter.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Clinton Has 14 Ideas To Cut US Unemployment

Which currently stands at 14 millions. These include retrofitting buildings with energy-saving designs, painting every building roof white, carefully reducing corporate taxes, increasing individual top tax rates to where they were when he was President and vigorously reducing the skills mismatch.

In other words going green makes a lot of economic sense too.

Copy Dodoland! Copy!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

World's Longest Passenger Plane Arrives in Paris



At 76.3m it's about a yard longer than the previous record-holder, the A340-600. Can travel an extra 200km and will lift 87 more passengers off the ground. And claims better operating economics than dolphin-head. And if you want to fly half-way across the world then you need to take one of these two babies.

PBB Not Immune To GIGO

PBB means Programme-Based Budgeting while GIGO is the acronym you met when you started learning about programming or computers: Garbage In Garbage Out. PBB was supposed to help us manage public funds better and get our priorities right. I say was because we know from the audit reports that we didn't exactly make a big dent in the multi-billion rupee wastage. And because we still didn't realise that building another reservoir or sufficiently reducing leakages in our water system was a topmost priority. For five straight years.

In other words PBB will not make you any dumber than you already are and there is absolutely no need for bean-counters to raise it to the level of a God.

You can read the PBB manual used at our MOF if you haven't read some good fiction for a long time.