Mauritius | Infrastructure

March 06, 2012

Privatization: a Necessity?

A subject that is under debate at the Cargo Handling Corporation and the Central Water Authority (CWA). The journalist Nadarajen Pillay has made his theme on the show "For or Against".

It has hosted on its platform, economist Pierre Dinan, the management consultant, Palmesh Palanee and trade unionist, Deepak Benydin. Extracts.

> What is privatization? 

Pierre Dinan: Privatization is when the government sells more than 50% of the assets it owns in a company of the State to the private sector. Therefore, it takes control. 

> There is much talk of a strategic partner. What are the different types of strategic partners? 

Palmesh Palanee: Different types of strategic partnerships can be developed, for example, a strategic partner who becomes a majority investor takes control of the company or corporation. We can also develop a strategic partnership where the partner contributes its know-how, without becoming an investor. However, it can help the company enter new markets. He brings particular expertise and innovation to the company.

 > Why should privatize or use a strategic partner? Is it in the national interest or let there be dictated by the International Monetary Fund?

Deepak Benydin: I have always said that the privatization policy is a 'diktat' Front and the International Monetary the World Bank. I'm not saying that government must control everything, but many essential services, such as Health, Education, Water Distribution, among others, remain under state control. It is in the interest of the poorest in society. 

Pierre Dinan: I do not understand how suddenly it has included the IMF and World Bank in this debate. They talk about a problem facing many Mauritian public enterprises which have great difficulties. As stated by Mr. Palanee, sometimes we need the foreign jurisdiction to assist us in marketing and finance, among others. A typical example is Air Mauritius. This is a small company, in a small country which is experiencing major difficulties facing the current crisis. Kenya, a country larger than ours, found a strategic partner for Kenya Airways. What seems to work. That said, a company may find itself in a situation where it needs skilled people. I'm not saying that Mauritians are not competent, but with the support of a larger company, we could have a greater openness to the world and for the renewal of our fleet. This is the idea of strategic partnership. 

> Are you willing to privatize the CWA. 

Palmesh Palanee: Problems of the CWA did not begin today. It's not going to say now that we have to find 'quick fix solutions "and a strategic partner. It is too easy a solution. At the core there is a malfunction of this corporation. 

> Take, for example, Air Mauritius is a company that was run by Mauritians and who enjoyed a very healthy before facing economic difficulties . That said, do we need a strategic partner? 

Palmesh Palanee: Air Mauritius has a fundamental function for the country, particularly in tourism, cargo service ... With globalization, we can not consider ourselves as an island economy.We are part of the global economy. Hence the reason that Air Mauritius is stepping up efforts to further assist in this global economy. 

> Do not you believe in the competence of Mauritians? 

Palmesh Palanee: The country has a lot of competent people, but we must also has "the right person in the right place" and skills. 

Deepak Benydin: Mauritians have proven themselves both locally and internationally. Take the case of Mauritius Telecom. Honestly, I do not think there is the strategic partner a positive contribution. All profits made ??by this company are the fruit of the efforts and sacrifices of the son of the soil. We must analyze the contexts and not blindly perform the privatization policy.

 > You say that France Telecom has no contribution in Mauritius Telecom. 

Benydin Deepak: Sure. 

> What do you think,

Pierre Dinan. I do not agree. As far as I can remember, France Telecom owns 40% of assets of Mauritius Telecom. So 40% of profits go to France Telecom and 60% in Mauritius Telecom therefore, for Mauritians because the government is the majority partner in the company. That said, I do not quite understand this accusation. I am not here to defend France Telecom, but I see that we are satisfied with telephone service. On the point raised by Palmesh Palanee the CWA, I would say this is not a question of privatization. Privatization is when we give everything to a stranger, including pipes drilled. We're not there. Everything will remain for the country, but we must ensure its management and everyone knows that the replacement of these pipes drilled will be very expensive. We also need a capital injection. It must be remembered that under the first government in 1995-2000 Ramgoolam, a big French company had been invited to manage the CWA.  

 > That did not work ...

Pierre Dinan: How it went wrong ? After the change of government, there was the policy of "pake went up. "Maybe today, we would be long gone. What I mean is when it comes to strategic partner, this is not new. 

> Deepak Benydin: I'would draw attention to the fact that in large countries like France, for example, the City of Grenoble and even in Reunion, where the service was privatized water distribution, large organizations such as Lyonnaise des Eaux, Vivendi, have been implicated in corruption cases. We must not forget also that privatization is often accompanied by price increases. Water is a human right, it is publicly available at an affordable price. If, unfortunately, this service falls into the hands of the private sector, I fear that those at the lowest scale die for want of water.


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