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18 May 2020
BY Anushka Baurhoo , Caroline Leclézio AND Sanjhana Woochit

Mauritius: the regulatory impact of Covid-19 on the financial services industry

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic unfolds, financial institutions and regulatory authorities around the world have responded positively by introducing unprecedented measures to alleviate financial and economic impact. The Mauritian Government with the support of other supervisory bodies, has rallied strongly and has proposed a constructive approach by providing relief or waivers from certain regulatory requirements in order to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through the introduction of the COVID-19 (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (the “COVID-19 Act”) which has been voted on Friday, 15 May 2020.

The proposed measures include the following which are effective as from 23 March 2020:

Data Protection Act

In order to ensure that the provisions of the Data Protection Act do not impede the collection, verification and processing of personal data for the issuance of any licence, permit or authorisation during the COVID-19 period, the COVID-19 Act provides for an additional exception to the compliance with the provision of this Act provided that such exception constitutes a necessary and proportionate measure in a democratic society.

Finance and Audit Act

The amount which a minister can authorise to be issued as advance from the consolidated fund or from a deposit to a special fund or to a person where the advance is required in the public interest, has been extended from an aggregate amount of MUR3,500 million to an aggregate amount of MUR15 000 million rupees.

Financial Reporting Act

Relevant documents may now be provided to the Financial Reporting Council in an electronic form as part of a review of the practice of an auditor.

Financial Services Act

A meeting of the Board of the Financial services Commission can now be held by means of audio, or audio and visual communication by which all the members participating and constituting a quorum can simultaneously hear each other throughout the meeting. In addition, the COVID-19 Act also provides that a resolution in writing, signed and assented to by all members, will be valid and effective as if passed at a meeting duly convened and held.

Limited Liability Partnerships Act, Limited Partnerships Act and Foundations Act

In view of ensuring that the systems and procedures are flexible enough to incorporate the relief measures, the Registrar of Limited Liability Partnerships, Limited Partnerships and Foundations may, during the COVID-19 period and such further period, as the Registrar may determine, after the COVID-19 period lapses, issue practice directions, guidelines and other instructions for the proper administration of these Acts.

The Mauritian authorities have so far adopted a “community first” mindset and, it is also worth noting that the Financial Services Commission (the “FSC”) has responded responsibly by demonstrating agility and adapting to the current challenging environment. As a temporary measure, the FSC issued communiques on 30 March 2020 and 16 April 2020 to inform entities licensed/authorised and registered by the FSC, including entities registered as reporting issuers, that the FSC will have a flexible approach when monitoring compliance and will not charge any administrative penalty with regard to late filing of Financial Statements/Annual Reports due in April, May and June 2020 provided that these accounts are submitted to the FSC by latest 31 July 2020 for reporting issuers and by latest 30 June 2020 for entities other than reporting lssuers, licensed and authorised by the FSC.

For a summary of recent legislative amendments introduced in Mauritius in relation to COVID-19, please click here.

For more information please contact:

Caroline Leclézio
Executive | ENSafrica Fiduciary Ltd
cleclezio@ENSafricaFiduciary.com
+230 5492 5014

Anushka Baurhoo
Compliance Officer | ENSafrica Fiduciary Ltd
abaurhoo@ENSafricaFiduciary.com
+230 5726 7294

Sanjhana Woochit

COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020. The disease has since been reported in over 190 countries.