Sanjay Jagatsingh

By announcing that the price of water will not go up. See the Utility Regulatory Authority was set up on the basis of a rather sloppy justification to fix the price of stuff like water and electricity. Now if the PM decides that there won’t be any increases it immediately makes that institution redundant. Why spend so much money on a new institution when the work can be done elsewhere like at the Ministry of Finance? It also cuts the energy minister who heads the tiniest of political parties to size and is another splendid reason for him to tender his resignation.

But the head of government did more. He also reduced the price of petroleum products which overrode the recent work of the Petroleum Pricing Committee. This makes the case for the prices of these basic building blocks of GDP to be determined at all times by Cabinet. Electricity prices too should have come down to give a fillip to the economy but they did not because of two reasons. One is that government has been kidding itself for too long that tax mix doesn’t matter. Taxing inputs to death to build a very risky facade of a low-tax jurisdiction instead of bringing back top income and corporate taxes to more sustainable levels of 30% has generated a catastrophic growth path. Indeed there was an equivalent of five years of national output missing – those between 2005 and 2009 – at the end of last year because of the trickle-down economics which started in 2006 on the watch of Navin Ramgoolam, an avowed socialist.

The other is the energy minister who declared that electricity prices will not be reduced while he is in charge of the ministry. Having competitive electricity prices is way more important for our national well-being than keeping a minister – who also wants effectively to sell the clouds of Mauritius to the private sector – in Cabinet for so long. Something recall elections would make a lot more obvious.

Are the Recent Recruitments 

At Two Utilities Biased?

Collendavelloo has not supplied the information requested in Parliament essentially hiding behind data protection. But there is a huge space between data privacy and equal opportunity that we can milk. For example there is no issue of privacy to know from which ridings the recent waves of recruits at the CEB and the CWA come from and in which proportions. Does too large a number come from riding no. 19? Besides technology has made it a lot easier to determine on a map the size of the circles from which the new employees of these two utilities were selected.

Naturally nothing prevents the Equal Opportunities Commission to have a look at all the data, albeit in-camera, including the full addresses of these recruits to determine the types and severity of any biases. Computing the likelihood of such a recruitment could be quite interesting. Ironically the minister should be all for such an exercise given what he said when the electoral manifesto of Alliance Lepep – the pledge is on page 43 – was presented back in November 2014: « Le Freedom of Information Act pu bizin permet su kondisyons bien sur la posibilite a bann sitwayin de resevwar de informasyons lor tu size ki interes li. »

A lot of voters are interested.