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Part 2: COVID-19 Business Support Review

During this crisis what has been highlighted for most business owners is the access to resources and information available to assist with general, business and financial information.  Whether you are a sole proprietor or registered business, no business owner can know it all and have the time to research the required information.  We have all been bombarded with notifications, offers of assistance, some of which is applicable but most is not and having to navigate our way through in the quickest possible time without missing crucial information.

While we also don’t have all the answers, we are happy to share some of the research undertaken which may be of assistance to our Industry Partners and diving community.

We have investigated the different regions that cover our Industry Partners in order to provide some information on the government interventions specific to them.

Mozambique

While the IMF and other international financial organisations have offered relief and assistance, it is not clear on how this will help the population at large.  There does not appear to be any clear assistance to businesses or self-employed individuals in this region to access any government assistance.

We will continue to monitor this and provide updates as they arise

Mauritius

The Mauritian Government has identified priority sectors for assistance.  There are travel and tourism, export-orientated businesses and a few others. 
The following

1. Self-Employed Assistance Scheme (SEAS)

This intervention is under the Revenue Authority and is only open to self-employed individuals NOT employees. The criteria are listed on their website and a link is provided for ease of reference.
2. Wage Assistance Scheme (GWAS)

This scheme covers all employees in the private sector however, seems to have only been applicable to March when the government announced a 2-week lockdown period.  It is not known whether a retrospective application will be accepted.
3. The banking sector has offered various payment holidays regarding loan and bond repayments.  These negotiations would be directly with the specific individuals bank.

Further general information is provided here.

Kenya

  1. The government has employed various urgent interventions in order to assist business and individuals.Tax on monthly personal income under KES24,000 will not be taxed. 
  2. The maximum income tax rate will be reduced to 25%. 
  3. Annual turnover tax will be reduced to 1% for turnover under KES5M.
  4. Reduction of resident corporate tax rates from 30% to 25%.
  5. The VAT rate will be reduced from 16% to 14% with effect 1 April 2020.  This reduction also applies to commercial property rentals.
  6. No confirmation regarding the implementation of the reduction of tax rates could be found however, it appears that this will be effective from 1 March 2020.
  7. Banks will provide relief on personal loans based on individual circumstances.

No further information on assistance packages was available at this time.

Tanzania

There is currently no information available regarding government or financing initiatives available.  It appears that the government has not employed any grants or assistance to industry within the country.

Madagascar

The Madagascar tax authority has announced the suspension of the bi-monthly CIT instalment payment and an extension to 30 June 2020 for reporting and payment obligations all deductions made on behalf of the State.

While the country is receiving aid from various sources, no specific packages currently available to business.

This may change in the short term and further information will follow as it becomes available.

Comoros

There is currently no information available on any form of relief available in the Comoros.

Please note that no organisation or any link provided here is specifically endorsed by DAN Southern Africa and we take no responsibility for any information provided by these links.

Seychelles

In the midst of the pandemic the government Ministry of Tourism has stepped in to assist with measures in the industry.  It is anticipated that the government will take over salaries in the private sector for a period of time to assist business.

The banking sector is assisting with relief schemes which include:

  • No interest or capital repayments for a period of 6 months or 3 months for individual
  • Loans may be available at low interest rates.  This will include a 6-month payment holiday on repayments and an extension of the repayment term to 3 years.
  • To be eligible for assistance, all business and credit facilities must have been in good order before February 2020.

Private businesses who receive funding directly through tourism establishments with recognised payroll systems and sole traders who are registered with the SRC can submit claims for 3-months salaries.

Minimum wage assistance would be R5,804 and capped at R30,000 as per the Ministry of Finance assistance schemes.  All information and documentation can be found on their website.

Acknowledgements

KPMG
ENSafrica
Bowmans
Deloittes
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