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Lalit exposes MSM-MMM government plan to introduce the Mauritius Revenue Authority

13.08.2004

Ram Seegobin participated in a well-attended debate organised by the Federation of Civil Service Unions (FCSU) on Wednesday. The theme of the debate was on the "Mauritius Revenue Authority" that the government is attempting to introduce. Yesterday morning, Ram Seegobin was interviewed on Radio One on the same theme.

He said in this programme that the government is presenting the "Mauritius Revenue Authority" as some kind of "reform". What it is, in fact, he said, is a way to fire 1,500 public sector workers and abolish 5 State departments in revenue collection. The1,500 fired workers will have to apply for a new job in the Mauritius Revenue Authority.

Out of the 25 billion rupees that come from Revenue collection for the State, half comes from Customs. The government is trying to disguise its so-called "reform" by pretending that the Mauritius Revenue Authority will be a means to get rid of corrupt Customs Officials. Those who the government brands "corrupt" will not be given a job when they apply to work in the Revenue Authority. The question, Ram Seegobin said, is who will decide whether an official is corrupt or not?

He said that what the government is trying to introduce is a kind of "fundamentalist" system where it is Customs Boss Birt Cunningham who will endowed with special powers to decide who is corrupt or not. Employees will not be able to challenge his decrees. Rather like George W. Bush who thinks he can decide what is "good" and what is "evil".

In any case, in a recent press interview, Birt Cunningham says that not only those he decrees are corrupt will go, but others as well.

He also said that in the union-organised debate the day before, the MSM-MMM government though invited to participate, was glaringly absent. This goes to show how government is incapable of defending its "Mauritius Revenue Authority" plan publicly.

In the same radio interview, Ram Seegobin spoke against the Berenger-Jugnauth government's announced repression against what it calls "abuse" by radios. He said that greater public participation on radio is making people formulate more coherent criticism against government politics. This is what the government sees as being "abuse".

He also commented on the terrible retrenchment of workers in the Free Zone. This is a something the government knew was coming for years with the dismantlement of the multifibre agreement and the bankruptcy of AGOA, he said. The government has done nothing to provide alternative secure employment for the thousands retrenched.