Picture from L’express
Avi having already written an interesting post on the content of the budget speech, I will focus on the communication/psychological aspects of that grand event that marks the local scene every year.
So, here are my thoughts point-wise:
– Our Minister of finance could not help using the usual tactic of leading people to believe (before the budget speech) that the measures will be very stringent and result in harsher conditions for most Mauritians so that the actual measures taken that are announced appear more acceptable, thus creating an artificial a sense of relief. Most people actually thought that VAT would be raised or that the number of goods under VAT would increase…
– As per local traditions, the pre-speech marathon of the minister was chronicled by all media outlets painting the picture of a terribly tired man who sacrifices his family and works till midnight, so much so that his wife demands Jacques Brel’s ‘Ne me quitte pas…’ to be aired (on Radio One). Yet he finds the time to get interviewed by all the radio stations, newspapers and the national TV station. No wonder he was tired!
– An obsolete tradition: the 2-hour long speech that is against all modern presentation approaches with a heavy veil of secrecy until the D-Day and H-Hour. It is time for our politicians to learn how to make a good presentation… Who can now have the patience to listen to (or worse, watch) a 2-hour long diatribe with no presentation aids whatsoever?
– Obsolete also are the reactions of our local trade unionists and opposition parties who did not fail to criticise the budget as being ‘pro-capitalists’ and ‘pro-private sector’. They could probably learn to videotape their reactions for re-use every year; it would save them time and energy. Trade unionists even decided to boycott the budget speech… and to follow the event on TV in another place (I wonder if they know what ‘boycott’ really means). As for the opposition parties, they were again ever so bland in their reactions… Never able to articulate any strong alternative!
– On gender: I note there’s a slightly innovative approach as Sithanen announced measures to encourage women to take up jobs traditionally occupied by men in the construction sector (e.g. mason, plumber, etc.) but he wasted it all by announcing triumphantly that he is going to improve women’s lives by reducing duty on microwave ovens, grills, kitchen hoods, etc. The kitchen is never very far… Who said that women’s feet are smaller than men’s so that they can stand more comfortably in front of the sink?