On Friday 29 July Finance Minister Pravind Jugnauth announced a Rs60 drop in the price of cooking gas [12kg LPG cylinder]. One of these last 3 weeks at my place, so the monthly saving is Rs80.
Today 5 days after the budget the increase in price of things bought at the local shop [milk, sugar, treats for kids, etc.] already exceed Rs125. On that trend the monthly increase will be about Rs800. This Rs60 ‘discount’ is clearly a fake voucher.
Pravind Jugnauth has used his so-called* budget speech as a test run for his acceptability as a Prime Minister. Some have fallen for it and already see him as PM. But what are his chances really?
Can P.Jugnauth become Prime Minister during the current 2014 mandate if A.Jugnauth resigns? The answer is not a straight yes or no. It’s not the same thing as the 3yr/2yr power sharing agreement of 2000 between P.Berenger and A.Jugnauth. This time when A.Jugnauth resigns he leaves for his house at La Caverne or a retirement home and no longer has any say on who runs the country. When he leaves either someone in the house comes before the President, Mrs A.Gurib-Fakim, with a list of at least 35 MPs who will accept him/her as Prime Minister, or new elections are called. Things that look certain now may turn out later to be a gamble. At the crucial moment P.Jugnauth could look behind and find only 33 MPs on his side.
Has P.Jugnauth any chance of becoming Prime Minister after the next elections- in 2019 or earlier? The answer to this one is easier. It’s simply none whatsoever.
The wannabe Prime Minister to show his innovativeness has announced several rather puzzling measures. One example is the projected merging of the Mauritius Revenue Authority and the Registrar General Department. Three more below:
Relaunching the tea industry- This requires solid economic fall back reserves as tea can be harvested regularly only 5 years after planting, that is, if planting [enough acreage to sustain a factory] is done now a factory cannot start production before 2021. The industry also requires talented blenders (‘teamakers’) to produce international grade tea. The keyword here is talented: tea blending is not so much a science as an art
Social housing in Rodrigues. Rs50 million will be provided for the construction of 1000 social housing units. That’s Rs50,000 per house. Now, a single room costs that much- or even more. Could it be they are planning to revive in Rodrigues the infamous longeres which excel at creating promiscuity, insalubrity, and the sense of exclusion.
*Tablets for grades 1 and 2 [1st and 2nd] children. The idea in itself has something strange, but there are more strange things ahead. Like a family with a 5 year old child having a tablet, a 11 year old child resentful for not having one, and a parent upset with the situation and feeling more and more stressed. But to transform us into a cybernation P.Jugnauth wants our kids to be exposed as early as possible to ICT. He might as well have given tablets to kindergarten kids.
Edit: From the press, 2 hrs after publishing, I learn that the tablets will stay at school. It will be interesting how the school charges some 200 tablets’ batteries.
*The budget it must be reminded speech is a presentation of the way government proposes to balance revenue and expenditure during the coming 12 months, what problems will be solved with public funds and their cost for 12 months, what will be resolved through fiscality, the cost of ongoing and new projects. This presentation may be decorated, but it must still be the balance and revenue and expenditure for the next 12 months, otherwise it just smoke and mirrors.