Mauritius says it spent $265m on virus wage assistance
By Kamlesh Bhuckory
The Mauritian Treasury said it has disbursed 10.6 billion rupees ($265 million) under its two employment assistance programs to companies and self-employed people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
From March 16 to the end of June, the Indian Island nation paid out 8.2 billion rupees of Wage Assistance Scheme funds to more than 268,000 workers at about 14,700 companies, the Finance Ministry said in a statement on Saturday. More than 197,000 self-employed Mauritians received 2.4 billion rupees in the same period.
The country’s economy is set to contract by 13% in 2020, the most in 40 years, according to Statistics Mauritius. Due to closed borders, the tourism industry, a key source of foreign currency, is forecast to shrink by 70% compared with a year earlier.
“The government has decided to maintain the Wage Assistance Scheme and the Self-Employed Assistance Scheme for workers in the tourism industry so long as the borders are shut,” the Treasury said. This month, support for the tourism sector could cost as much as 600 million rupees.