RIA project completed in Mauritius

Posted on: September 30, 2015

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The ACP-EU TBT Programme, financed Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) in an ACP country, Mauritius this year. This project was undertaken by Economisti Associati in cooperation with BKP Development. with implementation done by two experts, i.e. Gustav Brink (South Africa) and Giacomo Luchetta (Italy).

RIA is a methodology aimed at assessing ex ante the impacts of new legislative proposals. In a nutshell, RIA provides information to policymakers about what happens if a new policy is adopted, and what is the best policy option to achieve the government targets. More specifically, it is a method of analysis that, starting from the determination of the problems requiring intervention, compares different policy options in terms of economic, social and environmental effects. RIA objective is to ensure that ‘better regulation’ is enacted, that is, that government interventions attempt to achieve the greatest good for the society.

Strongly demanded by both the Mauritian government and private sector, the project ‘Trade Regulatory Impact Assessment – Mauritius’, consisted of different strands of activities. First, a RIA methodology based on international best practices and tailored to the Mauritian environment was drafted in the form of guidelines. These guidelines represent both a tool to raise awareness about RIA, and the starting point for the possible introduction of RIA in Mauritius.

Alongside the guidelines, the project also foresaw three weeks of RIA training for the local government and professionals. As RIA is a new tool in Mauritius and in the region, several ministries were invited to the theoretical and practical sessions, where the attendees were provided with an in-depth overview of the RIA system and methodology, and required to apply the new tool in a series of practical cases taken from real regulatory interventions. Around 30 senior officials from 15 Ministries and other institutions actively participated in the training. In addition, to stimulate both demand and supply of RIAs, 8 professionals from local companies and university were trained on RIA methodology, in order to support to the government in case of adoption.

Further to these two strands, two pilot RIAs were carried out within the project, one on the recent banning of plastic bags, and another on the policy options to increase recycling of PET bottles. These two pilot RIAs were collective exercises, in which the two experts consulted with the involved ministries and stakeholders, such as local businesses, to obtain their views and data about the regulatory intervention at stake. Combined with the literature review of academic research and policy experience in other jurisdictions, this resulted in two reports where several policy options were analysed and compared with respect to their ability to meet the Mauritian government’s targets.

The project concluded with the convening of a half-day workshop in which Mauritian senior officials participated. The aim of this event was to raise awareness about the new tool, and provide civil servants who did not attend the training with an introduction to both the RIA methodology and system and RIA Guidelines in Mauritius.

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