THE BAOBAB TREE
As distinctly African symbols, Baobab trees aren’t just known for providing shade and nourishment but
they are also a central part of tradition, legend and folks lore. It is believed that Kings and elders would hold their meetings under the Baobab tree, with the belief that the tree’s spirits would guide them to successful
decision-making. The baobab is the listening tree and stand proud as a true symbol of life in Africa.
Please find below a high level overview of some of the more pertinent regulatory updates:
Mauritius – Ghana DTAA Signed
The Government of Ghana has signed a Double Taxation Avoidance agreement (DTA) with the Government of Mauritius, on Saturday 11th March 2017.
The countries have also set up a Ghana-Mauritius Permanent Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation, to facilitate trade between the two countries. Ghana and Mauritius have agreed to collaborate on an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement to better channel investment into each other’s country, possibly via Special Investment Zones.
The agreement needs to be ratified by the respective legislatures before coming into force.
Signature of Memorandum of Understanding between the Financial Services Commission (“FSC”) and the Abu Dhabi Global Market-Financial Services Regulatory Authority
The FSC and the Abu Dhabi Global Market-Financial Services Regulatory Authority entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) on 19 December 2016 regarding mutual assistance and exchange of information. The FSC Mauritius has so far signed 3 Multilateral MoUs, 2 Regional MoUs, 25 MoUs regarding supervision of AIFMD Entities, 26 MoUs with Foreign Authorities and 6 MoUs with Local Authorities.
Amendments to Section 23 of the Financial Services Act 2007
The FSC issued a communiqué on 30 January 2017 to advise on the measures taken through the Finance Act to amend Section 23 of the Financial Services Act 2007. A summary of the amendments made is as follows:
- The licensees are exempt from seeking approval from the FSC for change in ownership or beneficial interest of less than 5% as long as it does not result in a change in control. However, the FSC needs to be notified within 14 days of such share transaction.
- The FSC has been empowered to issue new rules exempting licensees from seeking approval for transfer of certain classes/types of shares or legal or beneficial interest. On 19 January 2017, the FSC issued the Financial Services (Exemption from Approval of Controllers and Beneficial Owners) Rules 2016 (the “Rules”) which exempts licensees from seeking the approval of the FSC where there is an issue or transfer of shares or legal or beneficial interest in a licensee which do not carry voting rights.
Guidelines for Issue of Insurance Policy Documents in digital format
The FSC issued the Guidelines for Issue of Insurance Policy Documents in digital format on 30 March 2017 which aims to ensure that the marketing and sale of insurance products through the internet does not compromise the authenticity, validity and integrity of the insurance policy.
Revised DTAA between Mauritius and Zambia
A Zambian delegation comprising of seven officials was at the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA) Head Office from Monday 20th March to 23rd March 2017 to renegotiate the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement between Mauritius and Zambia. At the close of the negotiations, both delegations agreed on the negotiations and committed to complete their internal formalities for the entry into force of the Agreement at the earliest.
Mauritius signs the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Exchange of Country-by-Country Reports
Mauritius is now amongst the 57 countries to have signed the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Exchange of Country-by-Country Reports (CbC MCAA). The signing ceremony took place at the Inclusive Framework meeting which was held from Thursday 26th to Friday 27th January 2017 at the OECD Secretariat in Paris. As an associate of the Inclusive Framework, Mauritius has committed to implement the minimum standard of CbC reporting.
By signing the CbC MCAA, Mauritius agrees to bilaterally and automatically exchange Country-byCountry Reports with other signatories in line with Action 13 of the BEPS Action Plan. CbCR reports exchanged are aimed to provide tax administration with relevant and reliable information to perform an efficient and robust transfer pricing risk assessment analysis.
The CbC reporting is to be implemented for fiscal years starting from 1st July 2018 and will apply to Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) with an annual consolidated group revenue equal to or exceeding EUR 750 million.