Thursday, July 8, 2021

Latest IMF Staff Report is Another Big Time-waster

I’m definitely not spending more than a few minutes  on a report (it’s not the only one) that says right off the bat that our economic performance was solid before the pandemic appeared. In 2020 COVID-19 caused a damage of about 100 billion rupees to the Mauritian economy while the GDP shortfall of the 15% flat tax (a Bretton Woods best practice implemented by one of the boys) between 2006 and end of last year was over Rs2.1 trillion. That’s more than 21 times the economic loss from the pandemic.

It’s no surprise then than the IMF/WB have created famine and failed to predict huge uprisings. How much is that litre of oil again now?

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Two Ways Mauritius Can Help With the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The first one is to share how as a multi-religious multi-ethnic population we've been coexisting peacefully for decades since we became independent.

The second way is to showcase our experience with the FPTP (First Past The Post) system, the best electoral system in the world. Our friends in Israel will no doubt be interested to find out that in Mauritius there have been only five general elections since 1996 while they’ve had eleven whereas since 2014 they’ve had five compared to only two here. Plus they had so much trouble forming a government with their PR (proportional representation) system after the 2019 elections that Israel had to go vote again in another three general elections during the past two years, narrowly escaping a fifth a few weeks ago. 

Adoption of a FPTP system like ours will free them from the nightmare of perpetual political instability that leaves the Middle East country with either a caretaker government or one which is not stable enough for way too long. Once they do this they will be a lot more serene to sit down around a table with the Palestinians to hatch a long-lasting deal acceptable to both parties. 

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Mauritians Say Goodbye To Their Longest-Serving PM

Two days of mourning to remember SAJ who has been PM of Mauritius for an incredible 19 years. He leaves behind a positive legacy essentially because he led Mauritius within the best electoral system in the world and a regime of progressive and sustainable taxation for most of the time he was in the driver seat. One of his most important contributions is without any doubt leading the effort to thwart an evil political plan in December 2014. His last fight was presenting in front of the ICJ for the Chagos. The 91-year-old will be cremated at the botanical garden in Pamplemousses in 10 minutes next to a colleague. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The Sharpest Report on Mauritius in A Long Time

The Mauritian economy contracted by 15% in 2020 and the virus giving COVID-19 has been mutating. This calls for a solid policy response. To do that you need to get your facts right. My August 2020 analyst report on the 2020/21 Budget does precisely this by providing crucial insights based on independent research and analysis. If you liked Kozelidir you will love it. Here’s a brochure of the 28-page report

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Covid Doesn’t Give Standing Ovations

If it did the curve in the chart would have been at worst flat at zero. But it’s not. Reminding us that we need to beat the virus each time and not get too complacent about having successfully contained it once in 39 days last year thanks to our public health system that needs a serious upgrading. We’ve lowered our guard and we’re paying for it. Cases are rising fast and the death count has resumed after 336 days. There aren’t many solutions to flattening that curve now. Partially softening the already leaky lockdown in a few hours is not one of them. 

Friday, March 26, 2021

50 Years Ago, Tens of Millions of Muslims Free Themselves From Pakistan

On 26 March 1971, East Pakistan declared independence from Pakistan after armed forces perpetrated a massacre at Dhaka University. A few months earlier, the Awami League of Mujibur Rahman, a party in what is now Bangladesh, secured enough seats in the first free and fair general election in the country after the 1947 independence to form the government of Pakistan. But Ali Bhutto and the political/military leaders in West Pakistan, current day Pakistan, didn’t want to transfer power. Instead they eventually sent in the army with the objective to “kill three million of them and the rest will eat out of our hands”.

As a result of the chaos 10 million people fled to India creating a mammoth humanitarian crisis – the largest refugee camp in human history – in an already overpopulated country that was slowly emerging from a devastating British Raj. This led to India’s RAW training some of these refugees and sending them across the border to fight back the oppressors. Nevertheless the Pakistani army went on a massive killing spree for almost nine months. An estimated 3 million people died, 300,000 women and girls were raped. This event is known as the Bangladesh genocide. 

It ended after Pakistan bombarded India and the latter retaliated and won the war in 13 short days. Which explains why Indian PM Narendra Modi was the chief guest in the capital of the 87%-Muslim 160-million-people country today. But in 1971 it was an “avatar of Goddess Durga” who was at the helm of the subcontinent. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Greatest Party of Mauritius Turns 85

It gave us so many things. Improvement in worker conditions early on. Followed by a decisive victory against proportional representation. Then the most magic of moments: independence. Along with an excellent constitution and electoral system. Newly-born Mauritius was a left-for-dead country even before the oil crises and terrible cyclones of the 1970s but brilliant policies enabled us to make significant progress providing rapid upward social mobility to the many. 

Since 2005 however it is in its darkest period, furiously betraying its DNA. It’s time for the Labour Party to reconnect to what works.

Friday, January 29, 2021

T-Series is the Most Viewed Channel on YouTube

When I saw that Shakira’s channel on that platform – incidentally the second most visited website in the world – had reached an eye-popping 20 billion views I googled up the most viewed one. Wikipedia, which turned 20 exactly two weeks ago, lists the Indian music channel as the most popular with 141 billion views. And 170 million subscribers. If these subscribers were a country it would be the 8th or 9th most populous country in the world. Add another 100 million followers in the next couple of years and it will be breathing down on the neck of Indonesia which is on its way to become only the fourth country with a population exceeding 300 million. 

That shouldn’t be too difficult considering that seven eighths Indians are not subscribers yet and the subcontinent is on track to regain its status as the largest economy in the world which it held during 85% of the last 2,000 years. Having the largest diaspora and a 10,000-year old culture shouldn’t hurt either.