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Retirees’ Pension Struggle: NTUC Demands Raise to Rs 16,500 by 2024



Retirees' Pension Struggle: NTUC Demands Raise to Rs 16,500 by 2024

During the celebration of International Day of Older Persons on 1st October 2019, the government pledged to increase the Basic Retirement Pension (BRP) from Rs 6,210 to Rs 13,500. Currently, the pension varies between Rs 10,000 and Rs 11,000.

It is undeniable that retirees must strive to reconcile their monthly expenses with the pension they receive. “It is the duty of every caring government to assist them in leading a decent life,” stated the National Trade Union Confederation (NTUC) in a memorandum sent on Friday to the Ministry of Finance as part of the ongoing pre-budget consultations.

The NTUC proposes to increase the BRP to Rs 16,500 for alignment with the National Minimum Wage starting from July 2024.Despite the financial assistance provided by the government in the form of compensation against the erosion of purchasing power, taxpayers with dependents still face difficult times, highlighted NTUC President Narendranath Gopee.

To ease the tax burden on taxpayers, the confederation suggests revising the deduction for dependents as follows:

1 dependent Rs 150,000 (36%)
2 dependents Rs 240,000 (26%)
3 dependents Rs 330,000 (20%)
4 dependents Rs 400,000 (12%)

The tourism sector has become a major pillar of the Mauritian economy. While its contribution to the GDP is not significant (7.4% in 2022, 5% in 2023 and predicted to be 4.2% in 2024), it is essential, according to the NTUC, that there are “sufficient basic foods and vegetables on the market to meet the hotels’ demand while ensuring an adequate stock for the local population.”

NTUC suggests that the issue of mass production lies in the inefficiency of storage, which currently only concerns cold storage facilities. This type of storage destroys the freshness and taste of vegetables/fruits.

The confederation recommends that the government invest in the construction of storage buildings with sufficient capacity equipped with ultraviolet light sources. “This type of preservation carries no risk of radioactive pollution. Access to the inside of these storage units must be strictly controlled to prevent the transportation of microbes and bacteria from the outside,” proposes NTUC.

As one travels across the island, it has become “appalling to passively watch the huge expanse of fertile land being converted to accommodate smart cities, shopping malls, and expensive housing projects.”

Narendra Gopee adds that “to add a dose of shame to this eagerness to disfigure beauty, private landowners neglect their land and plantations with the intention of selling them at high prices at a later stage.”

A responsible government cannot “allow the transformation of the island into a concrete graveyard,” he adds. Tourists come to Mauritius for its captivating orchards, sea, and sand, not to appreciate massive concrete buildings, supermarkets, and shopping malls.

“The government must encourage private landowners to cultivate essential vegetables, fruits, and other common raw materials. Private landowners who, despite receiving state support, continue to neglect their plots of land should be subject to a land neglect tax.

The land conversion tax should be increased to discourage the conversion of agricultural land into residential areas. The government should convert lands that have been neglected for a long period of time – more than 30 years – into state land,” NTUC recommends.

NTUC also puts forward a series of proposals, including a monthly allowance of Rs 750 for elderly persons to replace free transportation, retirement at the age of 60, the abandonment of Registration Fees and Transfer Fees for new vehicle owners, the elimination of disciplinary committees in their current form, the establishment of the Employment Relations Appeal Tribunal, and authorization for patients to take possession of their medical records.

Source: Le Mauricien

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