Remembering Mohamad Vayid

Other than being off the beaten track, Mohamad Vayid
analysed issues in depth, revealing newer dimensions to matters
of national interest

Mohamad Vayid is well known to readers of the Mauritius Times. He contributed generously to public opinion, expressing his views openly on many issues of national importance, including in the columns of this newspaper.

His views were heard in the highest decision places of the country, because he had his own original way of looking at issues. Unlike others, who conveniently chose to remain quiet when issues being debated and discussed were sensitive or closer to them, Mohamad Vayid was outspoken even when it came to such sensitive issues. He was therefore a moderator, allowing matters to be sorted out in public rather than being left to rest in silence and get unnecessarily amplified, whereas they needed to be thrashed out quickly enough in the interest of keeping up social harmony and progress in the country.

Other than being off the beaten track, he analysed issues in depth, revealing newer dimensions to matters of national interest. For all of this, he was much appreciated. One can only hope that other outspoken public voices will arise in the country and help stop abuse or excesses whenever they threaten to shake up the national edifice.

Mohamad Vayid’s family launched a website in his name at a function held yesterday at Glamis Business School, Quatre Bornes, to help perpetuate his memory and to remind the upcoming generation of his work and achievements. We can only welcome this initiative which we hope will bring others of Mohamad’s calibre to come up on stage and help build a peaceful and progressive society in Mauritius by the sheer example set by him throughout his public interactions.

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 MRA: Keeping vigilance

 As in previous years, the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA) has kept vigilance on several fronts in the fulfilment of its duties to raise revenues for the government. This is what has resulted in an increase by 8.6% in its total collections from tax and non-tax sources for fiscal year 2016-17. Thus, tax collections increased to Rs 76 billion for the year compared with a pickup of Rs 70 billion the preceding year. While GDP grew by about 3%, this higher order of increase in government’s tax revenue shows efficiency of tax collection.

This positive outturn is the result of several efforts. As in the past few years, the MRA continued to facilitate tax payments by encouraging taxpayers to make electronic filing of returns. In particular, those using the current payment system, monthly VAT payers, passenger tax and employers making returns for employees were fully digitally filed. But other methods of taxpaying have progressed to electronic filing of returns not much below the 100% level. This includes personal taxpayers who digitally filed returns up to 99% of the total. Speed and efficiency of collection have thus been gained.

The MRA has also been spending much effort to chase those who fail to declare their tax liabilities. This involves mainly VAT payments due but also individual taxpayers who have failed to submit their tax returns. Thus, Rs 137 million was collected from this untapped source and it is estimated that an amount of Rs 265 million may be due and collectible from this category of absconders.

The Director of the MRA stated at a press meet on Wednesday last that restaurants and supermarkets are suspected to be manipulating their actual receipts to avoid paying tax thereon. The MRA is following up on those who are under-declaring their receipts by setting aside part of their receipts from their main cash registration centre of the business. Accordingly, the MRA is proceeding with a counter-verification of returns submitted in such suspected cases of under-declaration of receipts by businesses.

Given government’s increasing appetite for spending, it is important that the MRA be able to track down all due but unpaid taxes. Unless the gap is bridged reasonably, the effect will be to increase government indebtedness. Moreover, a tax system which manages to collect from as wide a network of taxpayers as possible is fair towards those who dutifully pay up their tax dues to the last rupee. This should be encouraged and implemented in a fair manner towards all stakeholders.

 

Murli Dhar

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