CERTAIN AMENDMENTS BROUGHT BY THE FINANCE (Miscellaneous Provisions) ACT 2020 (the “Act”)

CORPORATE

• “Independent director” defined as a director who is a non-executive director and who:
a) is not an employee;
b) does not have material business relationship with the company either directly or as a partner, shareholder, director or senior employee of an organisation that has such relationship with the company;
c) does not receive remuneration from the company except remuneration or any other benefit given to him as a director in accordance with section 159 of the Companies Act;
d) is not a nominated director representing a substantial shareholder;
e) does not have close family ties with any of the advisers, directors or senior employees of the company;
f) does not have cross directorships or significant link with other directors through involvement in other companies or other organisations; and
g) has not served on the Board for more than 9 continuous years from the date of his first election.

• Public companies to have at least 2 independent directors.

• Duty on directors to act in a manner which is not oppressive, unfairly discriminatory, or unfairly prejudicial to shareholders.

BANKING

• Digital banking introduced, i.e., banking business carried on exclusively through digital means or electronically, and “banking licence” to include digital banking licence.

• The Central Bank of Mauritius has the sole right to issue digital currency.

FINANCIAL SERVICES

• “Moneylender” and “peer-to-peer lending” defined under the Financial Services Act (the “FSA”), and money-lending activities will now require a licence from the Financial Services Commission (“FSC”).

• Auditor of an FSA licensee to act as whistle blower vis a vis the FSC where any matter gives him reasonable grounds to believe that inter alia there has been a material adverse change in the risks inherent in the business of the licensee, with the potential to jeopardise the ability of the licensee to continue as a going concern, or the licensee may be in contravention of the FSA, any regulations made thereunder, any FSC Rules or directions.

INSOLVENCY

• The Bankruptcy Court now has power to impose a cram down.

IMMIGRATION

More attractive Mauritius residency propositions
• Validity of a Permanent Residence Permit extended from 10 to 20 years.

• Validity of an Occupation Permit for an investor or self-employed non-citizen extended from 3 to 10 years as from the date of issue of the Occupation Permit.

• Non-citizens who have held an Occupation Permit or a Residence Permit for at least 3 years before 01 September 2020 may now apply for a Permanent Residence Permit.

• Minimum investment required to obtain a Permanent Residence Permit for non-citizen investors, self-employed non-citizens, or retired non-citizens reduced from USD 500,000 to USD 375,000, subject to certain conditions.

• Eligibility criteria for the grant of a Residence Permit to non-citizens holding or acquiring immoveable property in Mauritius under various schemes has been expanded to include the Integrated Resort Scheme and the Real Estate Scheme (the “Schemes”), subject to a minimum investment of USD 375,00 instead of USD 500,000.

• Holders of Occupation Permits as professionals or holders of Residence Permits as a retired non-citizens may now invest in any business in Mauritius provided that they do not manage or work in the business and do not derive any salary or employment benefits from the business.

• Holders of Occupation Permits as professionals may hold shares in a business where they are employed provided that they are not majority shareholders in the company where they are employed.

• A non-citizen who holds any one of the following permits or membership:
a. an Occupation Permit;
b. a Residence Permit from the acquisition or holding of immoveable property not less than USD 375,000 in Mauritius;
c. a Permanent Residence Permit as, amongst others, an investor, a self-employed non-citizen or retired non-citizen; or
d. a membership to the Mauritian Diaspora under the Mauritian Diaspora Scheme,

may engage in any occupation for reward or profit, or be employed, without the need to apply separately for a work permit under the Non-Citizens (Employment Restriction) Act.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

• All applications for a Building and Land Use Permit to be made through a National Electronic Licensing System.

REVENUE

Activities exempt from income tax for an 8-year period
(i) manufacture of pharmaceutical products;
(ii) inland aquaculture;
(iii) a branch campus of an institution which ranks among the first 500 tertiary institutions worldwide.

Solidarity Levy
• Solidarity levy on an individual whose leviable income exceeds 3 million rupees in an income year, calculated at 25% of the leviable income in excess of the 3 million rupees.

• The solidarity levy payable in an income year shall not exceed 10% of the sum of the individual’s net income (excluding a lump sum under the ITA ) and 10% of dividends of the leviable income under the ITA .

Expenditure incurred on medical research and development
• Where in an income year, a person engaged in medical research and development incurs expenditure on medical research and development, he will be allowed to deduct from his gross income twice the amount of that expenditure in that income year, provided the research and development is carried out in Mauritius.
Expenditure incurred on patents and franchises.

• Where in an income year, a company incurs expenditure for the acquisition of patents and franchises and costs to comply with international quality standards and norms, it may deduct, from its gross income, twice the amount of such expenditure incurred in that income year.

CUSTOMS

• Personal liability of the principal officer of a private company in case of failure to retain sufficient money or property of the company in order to pay duty, excise duty and taxes which is, are or will become payable by that company.

• “Principal officer”, in relation to a private company, means the executive director or any other person who exercises or who is entitled to exercise or who controls or who is entitled to control, the exercise of powers which would fall to be exercised by the Board of directors.

VALUE ADDED TAX

Reverse charge on supply of services received from abroad
• If a person does not belong in Mauritius (i.e., has no permanent establishment in Mauritius or has his place of abode outside Mauritius) and is not VAT registered makes a taxable supply of services which are performed or utilised in Mauritius, to a registered person, then all the same consequences shall follow as if the registered person had himself supplied the services in Mauritius and that supply were a taxable supply.

VAT now applicable on digital/electronic services supplied by foreign suppliers over the internet or an internet based electronic network

• “Foreign supplier” means a person who: –
(a) has no permanent establishment in Mauritius;
(b) has his place of abode outside Mauritius; and
(c) supplies, in the course of his business, digital or electronic services to a person in Mauritius.

PENSIONS

Payment of contribution under the National Pensions Act (the “NPA”) has been replaced by the concept of Contribution Sociale Généralisée (the “CSG”).
• After 31st August 2020, no person shall be an insured person for the purposes of the NPA.

• A person who has become an insured person prior to 1st September 2020 will remain an insured person until he elects to receive his retirement pension. However, no contribution will be payable by him or by his employer for any period following the end of the month of August 2020.

• Any benefit under the NPA, other than the benefit under the CSG, will be calculated in accordance with the provisions of the NPA on the amount of the contribution paid by him.

• Under the CSG, an individual liable to pay will be known as a participant.

• “Participant” may be: –
(a) an employee of such category as may be prescribed;
(b) a self-employed of such category as may be prescribed; or
(c) a person of such category as may be prescribed.

• Every participant and every employer of a participant will have to pay the CSG to the Director-General at such rate in respect of such remuneration as may be prescribed.

• The employer of the participant shall, at the time of paying the participant his remuneration for any period, deduct the CSG from the remuneration and remit that CSG to the Director-General.

• The CSG will be payable in respect of the month of September 2020 and every subsequent month.