Foreign Traders Complain Against Mauritian Customs Department

People travelling from the Comoros, Mayotte, and South Africa for business purposes complain of the treatment they receive at the airport. They visit Mauritius regularly for business. According to them, going through the customs department is an extremely humiliating and demeaning experience.

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The Comorians state that the service of the customs officers is very much lacking, specially if they are travelling with a considerable amount of money, beyond the usual Rs 500 000. They also face problems if they inadvertently declare having an amount of money that does not correspond to the real one.

The director of NAK Enterprises Ltd, Aslam Kathrada, has confirmed the statements of the foreigners. He is of the opinion that the officers have to change their behaviour and ways of dealing with the passengers. According to him, the latter are not treated as businessmen and businesswomen travelling to Mauritius for trade; he stated that they are thoroughly humiliated. He has also discussed with the authorities concerned, but, no change has been observed. He also added that he has lost many clients from Dubai because of the deplorable service at the airport.

On the other hand, the Team Leader Information & Media of the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA), Ludovic Thanay, affirmed that the customs officers are only going by the protocol and that it is inappropriate to state that their intention is to humiliate anyone at all.

2 comments

  • I frequently travel to Mauritius with my family for holidays and touching base with relatives, the last 14 consecutive years being in July/August. I therefore, have nothing but an excellent experience of the Airport’s Custom Officers. I do hear and appreciate the experience some foreign traders have had, which is being characterised nothing short of “HUMILIATION”. The Director of ‘NAK’, as reported in the above article, felt that no remedial actions had been taken, in spite of raising their concerns with the appropriate Authorities.

    However, I do concur with the Team Leader, Information & Media of the Mauritius Revenue Authority that the Custom Officers are only following the existing protocol. Nevertheless, how much foreign currency a person is allowed to bring on them, in the country, is to the tune of 500, 000 Mauritian Rupees.This is the crux of the matter; I understand that Regulations and Laws are in place to serve a clear purpose. For example: to prevent counterfeits, money laundering and so on. Whilst I support Rules and Regulations, in order to promote positive fiscal management, the regulatory framework is not far reaching enough.

    You have business people complaining about their treatment. I simply cannot understand why some aspects of the Regulations could not be amended. For example, people bringing in Mauritius a sum of money over and above 500,000 rupees. As long as it is legitimate and its source, evident. For example: the person has all required documentations in the forms of authentic receipts with details of their bank/s, including their phone numbers, dates, type of accounts held, the amount of money withdrawn and so on.

    I am aware it’s an era when visitors prefer to carry their own currency to the host country and therefore, the appropriate authority should make their visits a pleasant experience and not a problem due to the amount of money (currency) they bring in to Mauritius, for their holiday expenses. A country that relies on Tourism as its primary industry, should and must not ‘pussy-footy’ and take the bull by its horns.

    I do carry a substantial amount of British currency with me for our expenses and investments; We also hold accounts with a couple of local banks. I have mostly had pretty bad experience all round. I have discussed this matter with Bank Managers, Audits and their seniors at their Head Office, to no avail. They simply do not want to understand. Also, when I arrive in Mauritius with my British currency, it is fully supported by appropriate documentations and the source of the money, of course based on my employment and earnings.

    My Bank Managers in Mauritius have suggested that I transfer the money directly from my Local Banks. This is a negative option as the rate of exchange from their is at least Rs 2:50 less, per Pound Sterling. By simple mathematics, this means that if I transfer about 20,000 GBP, I’ll lose around 50,000 Mauritian rupees, which is significant and not a viable option.

    Given the experience of the above people and mine, as well, it is my objective view that Rules and Regulations cannot be followed/implemented dogmatically. A shrewd operator knows that feedback from service users is a key barometer to assess which way the business is heading. With this in mind, the appropriate Authorities must look at this matter urgently and take remedial actions, as necessary and within a reasonable time frame. Failing that, it may possibly lead to dire consequences.

  • i completely agreed ,with the atitude and bad behaviour of the Custom officers , am Born in the island of MAURITIUS , i feel same how the treat people, i think the Government has to take this responsability , they supposed to trained these officers CUSTOMCARE , which they dont know ,how to approached to TRAVELLERS . I dont go to Mauritius often ,because thet put me off. every time i goes i spent more than £7000.00 pound, from my AirTicket,car rental ,Restorants ,etc. the officers dont give Monkey ,we Tourist spent lots of Money and is Good for the Economic.

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