Introduction: In a post-world war period, Mauritius has made a transition from being an under-developed economy towards being an upper-middle economy which is today the best African governed country according to the Ibrahim Index of African Governance. However, until the 1980’s Mauritius was affected by several issued and the decision of the United Kingdom to grant independence to Mauritius in 1968 and to stop granting financial support was not a good sign for the future of Mauritius. In 1961, James Edward Meade a Nobel Prize winner in Economics predicted a disastrous future for Mauritius in his report to the Government of Mauritius.
Out of his report the following is the most striking part which clearly condemns Mauritius to a disastrous future: “Heavy population pressure must inevitably reduce real income per head below what it might otherwise be. That surely is bad enough in a community that is full of political conflict. But if in addition, in the absence of other remedies, it must lead either to unemployment (exacerbating the scramble for jobs between Indians and Creoles) or to even greater inequalities (stocking up still more the envy felt by the Indian and Creole underdog for the Franco-Mauritian top dog), the outlook for peaceful development is poor” .
However, a sound policy making system in Mauritius has helped to develop an upper-middle income economy with a high level of Human Development Index, High per capita income of around $4000 and a stable political sphere as Mauritius is a full democracy despite being part of the African Continent where Democracy is not much present. Thus, Mauritius has become a model for many countries which try to emulate the feat of the “Mauritian miracle” as they try to adopt some of the policies adopted in Mauritius.
Therefore, this paper will critically examine some major factors and issues which are the source for the creation of major policies in Mauritius since World War 2 to modern times. What is Public policy? A policy can be defined as a major course of action adopted by an individual, central or local government regional or international organization to ensure leadership and attain objectives While Public policy is “when a government takes a decision or chooses a course of action in order to solve a social problem and adopts a specific strategy for its planning and implementation” .
In the Australian Policy Handbook, Peter Bridgman and Glyn Davis have developed an 8 step policy cycle: 1. Issue identification 2. Policy analysis 3. Policy instrument development 4. Consultation (which permeates the entire process) 5. Coordination 6. Decision 7. Implementation 8. Evaluation But, in this paper, we are more concerned with the influences on Public policy making in Mauritius rather than defining the steps involved in policy making.
Thus, in this context, it can be said that, as a developing economy, Public policy making in Mauritius has since the post World War era been influenced by major issues like: Education, Health, Social Justice and Economic issues. Some major Issues in Mauritius As mentioned above, Mauritius as a developing economy has been influenced by some of its major issues in the process of Public policy making. The reason behind the influence is that since the Colonial period, Mauritius has been facing Socio- economic issues which unless tackled will not allow progress to be made. Monocrop Economy
Mauritius has been driven by the culture of a monocrop economy for a large part of its history until achieving independence. Since the climate in Mauritius is suitable for growing sugar cane, perhaps better than many other crops, the sugar industry grew to a predominant position in the Mauritian economy. Besides, the Mauritian sugar was given a secure market and was bought at a preferential tariff which yielded huge profits. Over time Mauritius, became dependant on the production of sugar as Cane covered nearly half of the island and three quarter of its cultivable land.
Overall, sugar along with molasses consisted of 99% of the island’s exports. Needless to say that: an economy dependant on a monocrop is very fragile. Any natural calamity like a drought or cyclone could affect the production of sugar and a bad harvest in sugar directly affects the revenue of the island. Unemployment Since the Mauritian economy depended mainly on the sugar industry in the pre- independence era, job creation was becoming more difficult and as a result unemployment rose in the island.
An increase in sugar production would not necessarily imply an increase in employment and if so was the case employment would rise by only a small amount which would not be able to cover the huge unemployment rate. Another fact is that to be able to increase production so as to be able to reduce unemployment massively, much land was needed which was clearly not available since Mauritius is a small island and as said earlier sugar cane already occupied three quarter of its cultivable land.
But even if the land were available, the massive amount of sugar produced as a result would not be able to be sold even under the sugar agreements signed. Another reason for the high level of unemployment mentioned in the Meade report is due to the high number of unskilled labor in Mauritius. Since the labor were mainly unskilled it was difficult for them to find jobs apart from the sugar industry which couldn’t create many jobs or other few jobs which they could do.
As a result, Mauritius had to rely mainly on foreign skilled workers and consequently it could not develop other industries as these industries would require skilled labor which Mauritius did not have and recruiting skilled workers from abroad would have cost a lot of money. Education With a history afflicted by colonialism, slavery and poor economic and social status, Mauritians were mostly uneducated. Due to poor economic conditions, people could not afford to educate their children at that time. Education could be afforded by the elites who either could pay for it or would obtain a scholarship so as to pursue their studies.
Thus, only a few were educated and were skilled as for the rest they did not possess any technical know how to work in other industries. So, the majorities of the Mauritians were condemned to do menial jobs and had a relatively low source of income which disabled them from learning or developing their skills. Besides, Brain Drain was a major issue at that time as Mauritians who were educated or skilled started to go abroad in search of better opportunities and in the search of enhanced living conditions. The Population “Bomb”
During the period of the Second World War, many Mauritians were dying from Malaria. But, once the problem of Malaria was resolved, the rate of population growth increased at an alarming rate. Death rate fell from 28 per 1000 in 1936 -1940 to 12 per 1000 in 1958. Thus, the population growth rate was 3% per annum and in 1960 Professor Titmuss predicted that based on the trend in Population growth and low rate of mortality, the population of Mauritius which was estimated as being around 600,000 would increase to 3million by the end of the 20th century.
An increase in the population meant that there were now more mouths to feed, more resources were needed to fulfill the needs of the population, more jobs needed to be created and so on. As a result of the poor economic status of Mauritius, people had a low standard of living where foreign aid was often sought. Social Inequity/ problems Today, Mauritius is a well known welfare state where development is known to be inclusive and not exclusive. A major issue was the existence of a poor community which could hardly manage to sustain the burden of their main needs.
In 1937, there was a riot in Mauritius which was organized by laborers and small cane planters so as to voice out their grievances. Their main grievances concerned poor and exploiting conditions of work and low wage rate. In those days, the gap between the rich and the poor kept widening as it was a situation of the survival of the fittest. People lived in poor housings, had poor sanitary issues, had poor economic situation and the standard of living was in general very poor.
Meanwhile the Sugar Barons, who possessed the means of productions in the sugar industry kept exploiting the Mauritian population and made massive profits on the exportation of sugar with the help of sugar protocols. Till date some people still live in poor conditions and can barely manage to sustain their basic needs. The influence of those issues on Public policy making James Edward Meade and Richard Titmuss, both major and internationally recognized economists have done researches on the main issues which Mauritius was facing.
Following their recommendations, there have been many policies (till modern times) which have been implemented to solve the issues pointed out in their reports. Diversification of the Mauritian economy Mauritius has diversified its economy into three main parts, namely: The Agricultural industry (in which the Sugar Industry is the mainstay), the manufacturing industry (here we can talk about the EPZ) and the Services industry (In which Tourism is our main source of income, but there is also the BPO which is starting to develop considerably). The Sugar Industry
Through smart negotiations and building on a preexisting relationship with the United Kingdom, Mauritius succeeded in obtaining preferential treatment from the European Economic Community (EEC) through the Sugar Protocol of the Lome Convention in 1975, under which it received more or less free access for its sugar exports to the EEC. 15 Mauritius sold its sugar to the EEC at a premium—three times the international market price, on average. For years, Mauritius’ export quota was fixed at more than 500,000 metric tons annually, and it had the largest quota share among African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries.
Nevertheless, by 2005, in the aftermath of the WTO’s ruling that the above-market prices paid to sugar producers constituted unfair trade, the EU began end the preferential deals by cutting down sugar prices. But by then, according to the recommendations made by the Meade report, Mauritius had already diversified its economy through the EPZ and Tourism. The Export Processing Zone The Export Processing Zone (EPZ) was based on a potential opportunity to develop an export-oriented textile industry in Mauritius.
In 1970, Mauritius passed the Export Processing Zone Act, which provided powerful incentives to manufacturers catering to foreign markets. Key components of the new legislation included protective import duties and quotas for infant industries, suspension of import duties on materials and equipment for industrial use and not locally available, rebates of import duties on other raw materials and components for specified industries, duty drawback schemes, and favorable long-term loans.
The granting of duty-free inputs for manufactured exports was: key in expanding Mauritius’ export competitiveness on world markets, while tax incentives provided to the export firms helped subsidize exports. Firms within EPZs also benefited from the availability of relatively cheap labor, drawn from unemployed workers and women who were outside the labor force at the time. According to interviews with textile executives located in the EPZ, (80 percent of workers in the EPZs in the 1980s were women). The rate has decreased somewhat in the 1990s and 2000s, but women continue to be more than 60 percent of the workers in the zones.
The lower wages that were paid to the workers in the EPZs in the early years allowed the firms to accumulate capital and reinvest the earnings into the firm’s expansion. 16 However, over time the wages in the EPZ zone became higher than the non-EPZ economy. Also important was that Mauritius did not restrict EPZs to one geographical location, and that the government invested heavily in the infrastructure needed to set up EPZs. By the 1980s, EPZs had exceeded the expectations of even visionary policy makers in Mauritius.
EPZs accounted for more than 60 percent of Mauritius’ gross export earnings and employed one-third of the Mauritian labor force. In terms of share of GDP, goods produced in EPZs more than tripled between 1980 and 1988, from 4 percent to more than 14 percent. More people worked in EPZs than in the agricultural sector by the end of the 1980s. The growth rate of the EPZs value added was close to 30 percent annually between 1983 and 1988. Most of the goods produced in EPZs were exported to the EU under a preferential regime. Notably, there was significant interaction between sugar sector and EPZs.
Much of the start-up capital for EPZ firms, as well as technical and managerial expertise, came from the well-established sugar companies in the aftermath of the sugar boom in the 1970s. Together with the sugar sector, the textile sector provided the capital accumulation that allowed Mauritius to decrease reliance on foreign capital and start down the path to becoming a middle-income economy. But as from 2004, the EPZ along with the sugar industry began to struggle to remain globally competitive as they no longer received the same preferential treatment as they did before, but by that time Tourism began to expand
The Tourism Industry and BPO Public sector efforts to expand tourism have been complemented by the promotional activities of the hotels and by Air Mauritius. Indeed, Mauritius’ combination of beautiful beaches, a multiethnic society, and excellent hotels dotting the coastline has been quite effective in attracting tourists. According to the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce, tourist arrivals reached 240,000 in 1988, 400,000 in 2000, and 900,000 in 2008. The estimate is about 1 million tourists visiting the country in 2010.
Tourism is also been among the strongest foreign exchange-earning sectors of the Mauritian economy. In addition to tourism, the government of Mauritius has also made encouraged diversification of the economy into Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), financial services, and information technology. According to Government figures, the BPO industry in Mauritius has been growing 70 percent a year and is currently worth $1. 6 billion, employing more than 100,000 people.
Offshore banking was introduced in 1988 as a first step toward developing Mauritius into an international financial center, and the offshore sector is playing an increasingly important role in the financial services sector and emerging as a growth vehicle for the economy. 18 Development of the information technology sector, meanwhile, is intended to transform Mauritius into “ a cyber island” by creating a high-tech multi-storeyed tower with strong technological capabilities that provides a home to companies from all over the world to set up operations, manage data, facilitate e-commerce, and establish call centers.
The government has also encouraged use of Mauritius as a transshipment center and a re-export base and, more recently, as an international medical hub and a regional knowledge center. As a result of all of these efforts, the Ministry of Finance finds that the services sector showed consistent growth over 2006–09, with financial intermediation growing by 10. 1 percent in 2008. Critical examination on the policy of diversification With the Creation of the EPZ, it represented a major opportunity for Mauritius to step out of the traditional Agricultural sector and to surf on the wave of modernization by developing its manufacturing industry.
Besides in the short term it was a solution for the problem of unemployment and income dependency on the sugar industry. Besides, with the development of the Tourism and BPO sector, Mauritius joined the waved of Globalization which had hit the world and exploited this wave of globalization in an economic term. Besides, with no natural resources like oil and minerals, Mauritius successfully concretized on the economic progress made with the creation of the EPZ and it allowed Mauritius to offer a wide range of jobs to its population and approach full employment.
Thus, it can be said that the issue of monocrop economy has led to a policy of diversification where Mauritius has hit the Bulls eyes as there has been a considerate amount of wealth generation, job creation. The Educational system Mauritius has been successful in raising its literacy rate as recommended by Meade through several policies. One such policy is that education has been made compulsory till the age of 16. Also that, education has been made free as well as free transport has been provided to students.
Facilities like payment facilities or subsidies on the payment of the GCE and A’ level exams of the Cambridge University has been offered by the Mauritian government. Needy students who cannot afford to buy books or to pay for exam fees are help by the government. Tertiary education is now easier to pursue in Mauritius as now Foreign Universities have established branches in Mauritius, making it easier to pursue a degree at an international standard while staying in our country. Since there are more, Universities in Mauritius, many people are able to pursue tertiary education.
Besides, Institutions like the IVTB have helped in training many skilled workers and thus, helping in many our labor force more skilled and increasing their chances to be find a job. Some of the laws which have strengthened the Mauritian educational system: 1941 The Education Act 1944 Free Primary schooling law 1974 Uom Act 1976 Free Secondary Schooling law 1988 Free Tertiary Education law 1993 Basic Compulsory Education law 2000 Pre-Vocational stream policy 2005 Compulsory Education up to 16 years law With a compulsory education plan till 16 years, Mauritius has ensured that most of its population will be literate in the Long run.
As we know, this is currently the computer age as technological devices are used in our day to day tasks. Thus, in the future, workers will be required to be enough literate to be able to use new technological devices in performing their jobs. So, Most of the Mauritians will be able to adapt to the future changes in lifestyle and working conditions. Besides, implementing facilities like free education and free transport for students will help students to pursue their studies without worrying about the huge cost of education. Finally, education brings about prosperity and improves the standard of living of the country.
The Population growth control The rapid growth of population and its reduced resources of the island, the Mauritius government adopted, with couple of years ago, a Mauritius family planning program. Its objective was to reduce the rate of reproduction from 2. 9 in the ‘60s to 1. 1 in the ‘80s. There were numerous and strong combatants of the Mauritius Family Planning Association, including from the religious groups, such as the Family Action (a Catholic group) that formed and promoted some methods that are accepted by Church.
In 1965, the Mauritius Family Planning Association began to be financed by the government. In 1977 the rate of the maternal mortality was of 1. 6/1000, which was 15 times higher than in US or Europe. There were 38 deaths from which 23 were caused by the clandestine abortion complications, and the rates of hospitalization caused by the abortion complications were high too. 2 missions from the World Bank came to the island to advice the authorities on a Mauritius Family Planning program, in 1967, and three years later, the accord with the Population activities United Nation Fund for the family planning assistance.
The Mauritius family planning services became a part of the Ministry of Health’s Maternal Child Health Division, in 1974. Social justice in Mauritius Health care system: Mauritius has become a Welfare state due to the influence of Social Fabianism which inspired many eminent political leaders like Dr Maurice Cure, Emmanuel Anquetil, Guy Rozemont and Dr. S. Ramgoolam. Following the health hazards caused by Malaria, Mauritius developed its Health care system. Today, Mauritius has a free and developed Health care services which even the United States did not possess until 2010 with the affordable Health Care Act.
Not only is the Health service of a high quality free but it the government also sponsors advanced services like major Operations which are costly (especially heart surgery), preventive measures like campaign of awareness to promote cleanliness and to make the population aware of the medical attention given for the prevention of diseases (like the injections given to babies to prevent the risks of diseases like polio). Besides, a primary health care is available for those who suffer from common diseases like flu, fever and so on and a more specialized medical attention is given for special cases like In the E.
N. T (ear, nose and throat disease curing specialized hospital). This serves as a basis for giving social wages to the poor and vulnerable since despite low wages, people are able to maintain an optimal health, as the health service is free and efficient on demand. Housing Accommodation: Before independence, Mauritians lived in poor houses which were known as “a case la paille” while only a few lived in concrete houses. These houses were prone to natural disasters like cyclones which were frequent and of a violent intensity.
After the passage of the cyclone “Carole” which was one of the most violent cyclones which ever hit Mauritius, the Government decided to adopt necessary measures so as to provide Mauritians with houses more resistant to climatic conditions and cyclones as most of the houses in Mauritius were ravaged by “Carole”. The Mauritius Housing Corporation (MHC) was set up with the purpose of providing loans to middle income families or to construct low cost houses which were cyclones resistant.
In 1974, the Mauritius Housing Corporation Act was implemented by the government, enabling people to save up for the construction of houses. The National Housing Development Company (NHDC) was set up in March 1991 to plan and Implement a National Social Housing Programme so as to help the poorer community in the society. To date, some 12,000 housing units have already been constructed and “n addition to the costs of constructing the houses, Government provides land and all the infrastructural facilities, such as roads, Electricity, water supply and sewage facilities.
Provision is also made for open space and green Areas in these housing complexes, with the possibility of nurseries, schools and community centre. ” Here a reference can be made to the case of the Squatters in Dubreil where many families were living in poor conditions and the government came forward with National Social Housing Programme and gave them a proper accommodation. Social Security benefits In 1976, the National Pensions Act was implemented. In this act there were several categories of benefits which were offered to people.
The Universal Benefits comprised of Basic Retirement; Basic Widow’s Pension; Basic Invalid’s Pension; Basic Orphan’s Pension; Guardian’s Allowance; Child’s Allowance; Inmate’s Allowance; Carer’s Allowance for Beneficiaries of Basic Retirement Pension and Carer’s Allowance for Beneficiaries of Basic Invalid’s Pension. The Contributory Benefits comprise Contributory Retirement Pension; Contributory Widow’s Pension; Contributory Invalid’s Pension and Contributory Orphan’s Pension. Compensation for injured workers (or their dependents) is normally paid to workers who are injured on duty. It is also known as Industrial Injury Benefits.
Such compensation comprises Industrial Injury Allowance; Disablement Benefit; Survivor’s Pension; Dependent’s Pension and Orphan’s Industrial Injury Allowance. Nowadays children whose parents benefit form pensions from the above categories have many facilities like books and school equipments from the government, scholarship for tertiary education, subsidies on Cambridge examinations and so on. Factors influencing Public policy making in Mauritius In Policy making in Mauritius, there are several factors influencing Public policy making like International institutions, Political parties, trade unions,
Private Sector Businesses The attraction of FDI has been the main factor that has influenced Public policy making. For example: reforms such as the removal of the tax on capital account transactions and the waiving of the requirement that foreign investors need approval of the Bank of Mauritius to carry out activity, in addition to a low corporate tax rate of 15 percent (although foreign firms receive a subsidy of close to 10 percent leading to an effective tax rate of 5 percent), FDI inflows to Mauritius have increased rapidly in the past several years.
In fact, the country attracted more FDI during 2004–07 than the cumulative stock of FDI during the 25 years before that. Importantly, FDI inflows are accompanied by new business ideas, technologies, and managerial skills. Most FDI inflows have gone to the hospitality and tourism, property and real estate, banking and finance, information technology, health, and education sectors. The main FDI source countries are France, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, though total FDI inflows are equally divided between developed and emerging countries. Interestingly, Mauritius has also been a beneficiary of a high inflow of FDI into India.
Due to special tax treatment given to investments that come through Mauritius to India, there has been a surge in recent years as companies register themselves in Mauritius. Mauritius has been a quasi- tax haven for foreign funds invested in India, and currently, about 80% to 90% of foreign direct investment into India flows through Mauritius via private-equity, hedge funds and mutual funds. Under the current double taxation treaty between India and Mauritius, capital gains on Indian shares that are held by a Mauritian company are not subject to Indian tax laws and rates, an issue which has been vexing to Indian regulators and policymakers.
Simply put, Mauritian companies are taxed according to Mauritius tax laws, which are extremely favorable, compared to Indian laws. There is some chance that the treaty will be amended by India in 2011 to try to capture more of the revenue from this activity. Nevertheless, FDI from Mauritius to India, which has been mostly in the electrical equipment, cement, telecommunications, and financial sectors, has helped Mauritius establish the attributes needed to compete globally in high-value service sectors.
Besides, the Mauritian government has made considerable efforts to help develop the private sector. A paramount role in state-business relations in Mauritius is played by the Joint Economic Council (JEC), JEC occupies a central place in the country’s institutional landscape and represents an umbrella association of a number of sector-specific groupings. As such, it carries a certain amount of institutional weight, meeting with the prime minister on a regular basis and providing input on major policy decisions.
Being funded entirely by the private sector, it also has a degree of financial autonomy. The overarching goal of the JEC is to ensure private sector representation in all key government economic decisions. It also ensures that its members’ ideas are conveyed to political leaders. Trade unions Trade Unions have influenced policy making, namely in the wage determination and the labor market regularization. Key wage-determining institutions at the national level are the Tripartite Committee, the National Remuneration Board (NRB), and the Pay Research Bureau (PRB).
The Tripartite Committee is responsible for the determination of wages at the national level through consultations involving the government, trade unions, and representatives of the private sector. These wage agreements of the Tripartite Committee are legally binding on the economy. The NRB sets minimum wages by worker category for 29 sectors in the private sector. There are more than 400 of these minimum wages, and changes to them are not made uniformly (some of them are a decade old). Also, the NRB stipulates the conditions of work associated with specific pay levels.
The PRB makes recommendations regarding salaries in the public sector. Pay disputes can be referred to two arbitration tribunals—the Permanent Arbitration Tribunal for the private sector, and the Civil Service Arbitration Tribunal for the public sector. These tribunals typically hand down awards that take little account of productivity levels or the need to safeguard external competitiveness. Public Sector Institutions The establishment of the EPZs would not have been possible without support from several key public sector institutions.
Central among these were the Mauritius Export Development and Investment Authority (MEDIA), the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZDA), and the Development Bank of Mauritius. MEDIA was formed in 1985 a public trade and investment promotion agency (with some private sector membership) and was a pivotal institution behind country’s drive for export growth and industrial upgrading. Providing overseas marketing support for exports and arranging buyer seller meetings, it helped explore potential markets for Mauritian garments in European and American markets.
Formed in the early 1970s, the EPZDA helped represent the interests of firms in the EPZs, while the Development Bank of Mauritius provided much of the credit and start-up capital for the economy as it was taking off from its narrow monocrop base. Finally, more recently, the Board of Investment has played a role in helping to promoting Mauritius as an international investment, business, and service centre and provides counseling on investment opportunities in Mauritius and helps in setting up businesses. This shows that Public Institutions like Banks have helped in the development of the private sector and has played a major role in policy aking as without its support the policies to develop private sector would not have been implemented due to lack of financial support. Major political Parties In Mauritius the major political parties have influenced Public Policy making with their different ideologies •The Protection of Human Rights Act •This Act was passed in late 1998 under the Labour party’s rule. It makes provision for the setting up of a National Human Rights Commission which will be presided over by a person who has been a judge. Two of the measures listed are: Women, indigenous people, refugees, children, disabled people, detainees and victims of enforced disappearance and migrant workers and their families were recognized and specific measures were recommended to better protect them. •the establishment of a special rapporteur on violence against women was made. That policy clearly is aimed at leveling the balance in the sphere of justice concerning all the sectors or groups of society, thus demonstrating a certain belief in the ideal of social justice and its pursuit. Policy for Protection of Child Rights The Convention of the Rights of the Child was established in July 1990 under the MSM government. •The protection of child rights is aimed at helping the children meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. These rights set minimum entitlements and freedoms that should be respected by governments that view is very inherent to liberal-democratic beliefs, but again they are aimed at a greater goal. •The goal of ensuring that all people, irrespective of their colors, social status, gender, race or religion are treated equally before the law.
That demonstrates again the pursuit of social justice which is in turn inherent to socialist beliefs. Conclusion Today, Mauritius is an upper-middle income economy. The country is equipped with a highly skilled labor force and a very good infrastructure thereby attracting Foreign Direct Investment. The average economic growth was 5. 6% over the last 3 years. The income per Capita has reached 4000 US Dollars. As a result the standard of living has gone up. The country has now a life expectancy rate of 71. yrs, an adult literacy rate of 83%. Now, the Mauritian economy is facing a new challenge in the form of Globalization, where unless it adapts itself to the situation and make full advantage of it, it will struggle to maintain the excellent progress made. To face globalization and a new economic environment, the Government has taken several steps. High value-added, capital intensive and knowledge-based activities are on the priority list. The Information Technology sector is undergoing rapid changes so as to be fit for the next millennium.
The aim is to make Mauritius a centre for high-tech and software services, which can be exported. The other sectors namely Tourism, Textile, Agriculture and Financial services are also undergoing changes in a positive direction. Also that, Mauritius is starting to focus on the subject of sustainable development as it has been passing laws in favor of the protection of the environment (sand extraction was prohibited) and the country is investing in “green” or renewable sources of energy (Subsidy on solar water heater.