Welcome again to the blog! I know that I have started to post at irregular frequencies since some time but let me reassure you : Finding new and interesting topics to discuss on the blog is on my mind all the time. And if you have anything good enough to talk in a blog post, don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Let’s come back to today’s topic now :
While driving home earlier this evening, I was listening to a Radio Plus debate in which the participants and the hosts were talking about issues related to salaries with particular attention to the minimum salary and how this can be improved. Some figures I will try to quote approximately here :
- According to the Statistics Bureau, the minimum salary is currently around Rs 3,000 !!!
- About 100, 000 people live with a total household income of less than Rs 10,000
- The minimum recommended salary should be around Rs 14, 000
That’s simply freaking! Can you imagine people managing with such salaries?
What can be done?
No. Going for hunger strikes or manifesting on the streets won’t solve this problem. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to hear the whole debate but a few of the points brought forward by the participants and the host were :
- Government should help these very low-income families by financing part of the salary to give them a decent life, at least for a minimum salary of Rs 8,000 or by providing help in terms of food and basic needs.
- The help from the government can be retrieved from Corporate Social Responsibility funds or even from the money earned by the government through the loto.
- Better management of government projects to avoid losing billions of rupees and use this money to help the needy ones.
- Basic needs (food etc) should be taxed less as compared to other product and services
- Raise the income taxes and Value Added Tax to grab more money from the ones earning more than others.
I was like… euh. What? More taxes?
I’m no financial expert but I don’t agree with the last point. While I find it a good move on behalf of the government if tax can be reviewed on food as it is already the case for some products, I don’t find it right to implement different taxes depending on salary incomes. It is good to know that there are already different categories in the MRA returns filled yearly. Each of the categories have different “Income exception threshold” beyond which the additional income are taxed. For example, if I’m single (with no dependent) and I earn let’s say Rs300, 000 yearly, then I will be taxed on Rs 25, 000 as per the grid below :
According to the same person, the government should increase those taxes so that it can fund social projects, including helping to provide a minimum salary to the needy ones. Fortunately, another participant argued that the government cannot tax someone because he / she is earning well enough. Different factors such as experience of work and skills learn actually account for the high salary of certain categories of people.
Personally, I think that we are already paying too much taxes and a non-negligible part wasted due to incompetent people at the head of various ministries, governmental institutions and authorities. And no, we cannot use the comparison of Mauritius to other countries as an argument in this debate. The government is already doing loads of things to help the needy ones : Just a few days ago, families were given a home for a monthly fee of around Rs600 during 7 years. But still, some people find that nothing is being done for these people. A house on a small piece of land for Rs50 ,000!
I will conclude on something I read today : A prisoner costs Rs 640 to the government daily and a large majority of the 3000 people condemned last year were unable to pay for their bail, hence imprisoned. A total wastage of the population’s money!
Now, how would you react if the government grabs more of your hard earned through taxes?