ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Mauritius- Narrow Options

Mauritius Narrow Options PRIME MINISTER Anerood Jaugnauth of Mauritius announced on October 21 that 'the three-party coalition government, which came to power in June, had broken up and that all the five cabinet ministers of the Mauritian Socialist Party (MSP) had been relieved of their protfolios and that the Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM) would alone foun the government. The breakup became inevitable when Paul Beren- ger, .senior leader of MMM and finance minister, resigned from the cabinet citing "lack of cohesion and solidarity among colleagues at a time when ... it was badly needed ... to go ahead with the economic measures aimed at bailing the country out of its grave economic crisis". The 'grave economic crisis' he was referring to was the fast deteriorating balance of payments position, with foreign currency reserves just about sufficient for three months of food imports. To tide over this Mauritius had sought a revival or renegotiation of the $20 inn I M F credit programme, suspended by IMF after the previous government had failed to introduce a budget conforming to IMF guidelines. The problem arose over two conditions set by IMF: cutting down of food subsidies and reducing the budgetary deficit. As Berenger explain- ed, "We have been forced to make meeting the conditions of IMF our top priority, follwed by revival of the economy, with the promotion of social justice only a third priority". As a result, his 1982-83 budget' pmposed what amounted In a wage beeze, re- duction it. .subsidy for rice and Hom, and new sales taxes and import duties.

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