Life as an average Mauritian – So tough indeed

Quatre Bornes Town hall

Image via Wikipedia

Videsh is a common Mauritian, a Quatre-Bornes born and bred 25-yr old youngster. He works 6 days a week and earns a basic MUR 8,500 per month, which gets him around the MUR 47.25 per hour mark, (knowing that the usual Mauritian working week does 45 hours). And we won’t take overtime into account for this example. The minimum legal salary threshold in Mauritius is outrageously set at ONLY  MUR 3,437 per month. (Source ILO )

Videsh works in Coromandel, some 8 kilometres away (Google Earth verified). His boss is happy about his performance and wants to give him a promotion but he will need a driving license.
While his boss caters for 50% of the travelling to his jobspot, Videsh has to find a total of MUR 1,508 monthly to go to work. He has to pay MUR 29, twice per day for a 8 kilometre strip.

He has just taken a loan from his bank. Interest rates are at 7.8%. He needs to do this, because he wants to partly renovate his parents’ house relatively to his wedding project with Nooreena, scheduled in 2 years time. As a result of this, MUR 2,421.70 will be automatically levied from his monthly salary over the coming 5 years.

Like his fellow Mauritian youngsters, Videsh is a modern man. He owns a 3yr-old computer and connects to the Internet thanks to an ASDL package worth MUR 1,250 per month from Orange. He also owns a Nokia Music Express which he bought on credit terms at Cash & Carry. His mobile phone globally cost MUR 900 per month Prepaid package and installment inclusive.

As if this was not enough, Videsh’s life is complicated by daily time wastages at all levels of public and essential services. Corrupted, incompetent and inefficient personnel are the reasons for these time waste that materialize into real loss of revenue.

We will use 3 simple examples of time wastage and translate these into money lost. We will use :

  • His daily travel to his work spot
  • A request for technical support from Orange… ASDL service goes berserk almost once a month.
  • An official request for a driving license.

Hereafter,  the facts

  1. Travelling daily to and from work by NTC bus (300 times per year)
    Waiting on the Bus Stop : 20 minutes
    Traffic Jam at St Jean : 30 minutes
    Traffic Jam at  Place Margéot : 10 minutes
    Traffic Jam on exiting Rose-Hill : 10 minutes
    Refreshing on arrival at work spot : 15 minutes
    TOTAL TIME LOSS : 2 hrs 50 minutes
  2. Technical Support request to Orange (10 times per year)
    First call at 8900 : Hold time, 15 minutes
    Second call at 8900 : Hold time, 15 minutes
    Third call at 8900 : Answer after 10 minutes
    Problem Assessment and initial handling :   5 minutes and request to hold
    Problem handling : 5 minutes (questioning, manipulation suggestion and request to reset)
    Problem still present – No connection still : Hold time 10 minutes
    Problem handling : 5 minutes
    Problem solved after 120 minutes
    TOTAL TIME LOSS – 3 hrs 05 minutes
  3. Intiating an administrative procedure (here a request for a Driving license) (Once and off)
    First time search on Internet for an online request form. (Google or Bing or Yahoo is fast but the Government Website takes more than 2 minutes to return a result) : Total search time 20 minutes
    Filling the form : 2 minutes
    Form bug – New Trial : 8 minutes and failure
    Going to the nearest Police Station : 10 minutes
    Waiting at Police Station : 30 minutes (no specific counter for Driving License request)
    Information taking, form filling and filing : 30 minutes
    Way back home : 10 minutes
    Lost work day : 480 minutes
    TOTAL TIME LOSS : 480 minutes

COnsequently, during a normal year, a common Mauritian can lose money via :

Travelling to work – 850 hrs worth MUR 40,162.50
Technical Support request – 30 hrs worth MUR 1,456.90
Administrative request – 8 hrs worth MUR 378.00

Over 30 years of an active life, a common Mauritian loses MUR 1,260,000 and this covers only the three items of his normal life, I have decided to show off here.

Just imagine the deficit for a normal Mauritian hard worker when he loses time each time :

  • An arrogant civil servant makes somebody wait
  • A driver’s incivility impedes on someone
  • The poor planning of the road networks make him travel at 4 kph
  • Government Websites and servers are down, while they don’t stop telling you to do things online
  • Someone with no competence responds in lieu of a real technician
  • A complaint is lodged

While fully monetizing one’s time seem to be a global priority, Mauritius seems to advocate the opposite, not because of the public’s disinterest but through our administrators’ incompetence and incapacity at getting rid of nepotism.

If the average Mauritian has to live with these extreme situations of time wastage, our politician and administrators seem to benefit from special arrangements. They do not have to pay their travelling by bus, that is MUR 3.50 per kilometre at 4 kph, and even when travelling in their cars, they do often benefit from highly opaque and suspect travel allowance schemes.

Politicians and administrators, usually do not have to queue up for any of their administrative jobs.  They will always find themselves on the top of the file pack.

This is no Meritocracy! The ordinary Mauritian is left off to deserve mediocrity and incompetence from minor officers who look as if they were formed out by unable patrons.

We are at this stage, asking for the renovation of the local system, but some would not want to make place for a younger generation. We surely need to up and harden our discourse.


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  4. Simon Lebon · July 15, 2016

    Very shocking and sad ……… and not even recognised or understood by the external world. I have recently become involved with construction and can confirm absolutely every detail of what you say ……… and yet the saddest thing is that it really does not have to be that way. It is the mindset that needs to change, because there IS a pool of young motivated and able youth.

  5. Martin F · May 6, 2017

    dont worry about those young people they are leaving the country and bringing all their families along. they will surely get much more in countries which values them

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