Over the past couple of years, the Mauritian economy has, not unlike most developing countries globally, faced unprecedented uncertainties on both local and international front due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the Russo-Ukrainian crisis. However, despite the severe economic and social impact on local industry – mainly affecting the tourism sector – the Mauritian international financial center and financial services sector stood strong amid continued growth. Indeed, as The Honourable Finance Minister declared in his National Budget speech 2022-2023: “The financial services industry has demonstrated strong resilience in the face of the crisis with a growth rate of 4.2 percent last year”.
Galvanized by the exit of Mauritius from the FATF, EU and UK lists, this year’s National Budget is aimed at consolidating Mauritius as a destination of choice for global investors through amendments to the national legislative framework and empowerment of local regulators. The Honourable Finance Minister has set out the following measures so as to achieve this goal.
The Financial Services Commission of Mauritius (FSC) is the regulator in charge of overseeing the country’s IFC, including global business licensees, trusts and global funds. The FSC will innovate its framework to enable Re-Insurance companies to set up operations in Mauritius.
Also, to attract High Net Worth Individuals and their families, the current requirement will be reviewed to a minimum portfolio of USD 5 million per management family office and holders of Global Headquarters Administration license will be provided work and residence permits for 5 executives and the latter’s dependents.
The Bank of Mauritius (BOM) together with the Bank of China will launch a regional Renminbi Clearing Centre this year to enhance the ease of doing business between China and Africa in particular to facilitate cross-border payments. Further, with the intention to further digitalize the Mauritian economy, the BOM will collaborate with the National Payments Corporation of India for the issuance of ‘RuPay’ cards and Indian QR Code in Mauritius.
Ease of Doing Business
Mauritius has ranked 1st in Africa by the World Bank in its Ease of Doing Business rankings of 2020, as well as 13th in the World, as a result of its conducive tax landscape and pro-business legal and regulatory framework. To further cement the country’s position, The Honourable Finance Minister announced that there will be no fee to start a business and incorporate a company in Mauritius and that The Bank of Mauritius will ensure that a bank account can be opened within one week, for an individual or a business (once all relevant information is received). To note that a Business Regulatory Reform Bill shall be introduce shortly to promote ease of doing business.
Additionally, Holders of Residence Permits will be given the opportunity to acquire a residential property of a minimum of USD 350 000 outside the existing property acquisition schemes, subject to a 10% contribution made to the Solidarity Fund.
As from the 1st of July 2022, newly incorporated freeport operators or developers making an investment of at least MUR 50 million (approx. USD 1.1M) will benefit from an 8-year tax holiday if they conform with the substance requirements set by the Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Further, The Income Tax will be amended to introduce a domestic minimum top up tax to ensure that resident companies forming part of large multinationals, having a revenue of EUR 750 million, are taxed at a minimum rate of 15%. The Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA), which oversees taxation in the country, will be allowed to request information from foundations and trusts to enable it to make assessments, collect tax or comply with any request for the exchange of information under a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement.
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