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Coronavirus - Measures by the Bank of Mauritius – Mauritius

  • Mauritius
  • Coronavirus
  • Coronavirus - Country overview

22-04-2020

On 18 March 2020, the Government of Mauritius confirmed the outbreak of the Coronavirus in Mauritius and imposed a lockdown the next day.

As a result of the cessation of all economic activities (save for a prescribed list of essential services [1], the financial situation of households and businesses has been substantially affected.

This note describes certain measures announced by the Bank of Mauritius (the BOM).

Key measures applicable to households and individuals

Eligibility

Categories of eligible persons are:

  • Households: either husband and wife jointly, or a single parent, with a monthly basic salary not exceeding Rs 50,000 and having a household loan.
  • Individuals: individuals drawing a monthly salary not exceeding Rs 50,000.

Measures available

The BOM announced a moratorium of 6 months on capital repayments for households on existing loans disbursement by commercial banks to households. The moratorium applies on household loans as from 1 April 2020. Interest on those household loans will be paid by the BOM from 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020. Accordingly, any arrears on capital and interest accruing prior to 1 April 2020 will be excluded from this measure.

Individuals will benefit from a moratorium of 6 months on capital and interest repayments as from 1 April 2020.

In both cases, overdrafts, credit cards and other credit facilities are excluded from the moratorium.

Application process

Eligible households and individuals must contact their commercial bank.

Key measures applicable to businesses

Eligibility

The BOM has categorised businesses in the following manner:

  • Small enterprise: an enterprise having an annual turnover of not more than Rs 10 million.
  • Medium enterprise: an enterprise having an annual turnover of between Rs 10 million and Rs 50 million.
  • Economic operator: an enterprise other than a small enterprise or a medium enterprise.

 Measures available [2]

The BOM introduced a number of measures applicable to different categories of businesses as follows:

Available measure

Eligibility

Applicable period

Special relief programme of Rs 5 billion consisting of loans with a 2-year maturity period (inclusive of a moratorium of 6 months on capital and interest repayments). The interest rate is 1.5% p.a[3]

 

All sectors of activities including local manufacturing and small and medium enterprises

 

Available from 23 March to 31 July 2020

Moratorium on capital repayments on existing loans

Economic operators

 

Applicable for 6 months starting on 23 March 2020

 

Moratorium on capital and interest repayments on existing loans

 

Small enterprises

Medium enterprises

Applicable for 6 months starting on 23 March 2020

 

Special foreign currency line of credit of USD 300 million, with a repayment period of 2 years from disbursement and at a rate of 6-month USD LIBOR

 

Operators having foreign currency earnings, including small and medium enterprises

Available from 24 March 2020 to 30 June 2020

USD/MUR swap arrangement for USD 100 million

Import oriented businesses (except for the State Trading Corporation)

 

Available from 24 March 2020 to 30 June 2020

Application process

Eligible businesses must contact their commercial bank.

Other measures

Other key measures introduced by the BOM are:

  • The reduction of the key repo rate from 3.35% to 1.85% [4];
  • The suspension of the Guideline on Credit Impairment Measure and Income Recognition and the reduction of the cash reserve ratio applicable to commercial banks from 9% to 8%, to allow banks to lend to enterprises facing cash flow and working capital difficulties due to the Coronavirus; and 
  • The issue of a 2020 Savings Bond for an aggregate amount of Rs 5 billion with a maturity period of 2 years and an interest rate of 2.5% per annum, payable every 6 months. The Bond will be issued at par in multiples of Rs 25,000 to Mauritian residents and to locally registered non-profit making NGOs, and up to a maximum cumulative investment amount of Rs 1 million per investor (whether singly or jointly).

The above does not constitute legal advice, but rather recommendations of general application which may change depending on the facts and circumstances of a particular case. Independent legal advice should be obtained before implementing any measure which may impact upon rights and obligations. If you require any specific advice, please contact one of our experts.

[1]  See our memo ‘Implications of the lockdown and curfew in Mauritius’ dated 23 March 2020.

[2] All communiques are accessible at https://www.bom.mu/media/media-releases. See in particular the communiques of 13 March, 20 March, 23 March, 15 April and 17 April 2020.

[3] Whilst the BOM initially announced an applicable interest rate of 2.5% p.a., this proposal was reduced on 17 April 2020.

[4] The key repo rate was initially reduced to 2.85%. A further reduction to 1.85% was decided on 16 April 2020.

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