Executive summary

The Mauritian Government has identified a robust regulatory impact assessment (RIA) framework as a priority in order to enhance the country’s business environment, increase scrutiny of regulatory proposals, and to ensure a more evidence-based approach to rulemaking. Related expected benefits also include the improvement of the quality of regulation, as well as the development and institutionalisation of a “RIA culture” in the public administration, through enhanced awareness and capacity.

RIA is both “a tool and a decision process for informing political decision makers on whether and how to regulate to achieve public policy goals”, as laid out in the OECD 2012 Recommendation of the Council on Regulatory Policy and Governance. By critically examining the impacts and consequences of alternative policy options, including alternatives to regulation, it helps maximise societal well-being. A small, open economy, such as Mauritius, needs a well-performing regulatory system that provides the necessary degree of protection while enabling the development of trade and investment and avoiding unnecessary burdens.

This report presents OECD recommendations on how establish a RIA framework in Mauritius that is firmly embedded within the government’s rule-making process.

  • Mauritius’s system of governance has a number of assets including a solid institutional framework as well as a culture of consensus, consultation and collaboration across ministries and agencies.

  • There is a high level of interest amongst stakeholders, within and external to government, as well as political momentum for developing RIA in Mauritius.

  • There is currently no systematic ex ante scrutiny of legislative proposals or regulatory oversight system in place, and shortcomings exist in current approaches to stakeholder consultation (e.g. regarding representativeness and transparency), some of which entail risks of regulatory capture.

  • There is a lack of relevant skills and capacity for carrying out RIA within Mauritius’ administration. This was witnessed by the OECD Team through the varying levels of knowledge and awareness of RIA-related concepts, methods and practices amongst officials of the administration.

  • The country’s rule-making system suffers from a lack of planning and anticipation, and relies excessively on legislative amendments introduced by the Executive (notably via the Finance Act). There is insufficient visibility of the legislative planning process, and external stakeholders do not always know sufficiently in advance which pieces of legislation are to be introduced into the National Assembly.

  • A major challenge facing RIA implementation is an absence of the systematic identification of the problems that proposed legislation is meant to address in the policy process. Rulemaking in Mauritius seemingly relies on deliberation and consensus around the appropriate solutions instead. This situation may lead to unjustified regulations and difficulties in monitoring and assessing the performance of a regulation.

  • Evidence underlying decision making is not always clearly identifiable. All plausible alternatives, including non-regulatory policy options, do not seem to be considered in a systematic fashion. This is an important issue because the use of an inferior policy option may have significant implications for competition, economic performance and may be less effective in meeting wider social objectives.

  • Implementation and enforcement of regulations remains far from optimal in many cases, which suggests that regulatory delivery is not systematically taken into account in decision-making processes.

  • The experience of the 2015 pilot RIA in Mauritius showed that if a new RIA framework is to succeed, it needs to be perceived and understood as a whole-of-government undertaking that requires ongoing commitment from across the administration.

  • Creating an Inter-Ministerial RIA committee would foster political commitment across the government. Such a committee could be chaired by the Prime Minister and include, at a minimum, Ministers or Permanent Secretaries from the key regulatory ministries.

  • A formal government-wide policy to promote regulatory quality is needed and should clearly mandate ministries to carry out RIA on prospective primary and secondary legislation. The policy should stipulate the need to use RIA in a consistent manner with other regulatory management tools such as stakeholder engagement and ex post evaluation.

  • The requirement for ministries to carry out RIA should be established through a legal mandate, e.g. a “RIA Act”. A RIA Act should also define the institutional arrangements needed for effective RIA implementation, and could also spell out the basic steps of the RIA process.

  • For regulatory oversight purposes, a dedicated RIA office could be established through the RIA Act that would have key oversight functions including quality control, co-ordination of the RIA process and provision of guidance and training. Ideally, the RIA office would report to the Prime Minister’s Office.

  • Given capacity constraints, in the short term, it may be best to follow an incremental approach and limit the RIA requirement to key regulatory ministries. In the medium to long term, all government ministries would be required to conduct RIA.

  • Appropriate capacity for RIA should be developed as a strategic priority for the implementation of RIA. Relevant capacity includes technical and methodological skills as well as awareness and understanding of the importance of RIA as a policy tool and mind-set, of related roles and responsibilities, and of procedural aspects - including stakeholder engagement and information gathering.

  • The government should ensure that there are designated RIA officers within each ministry, who will undergo mandatory RIA training and act as focal points for RIA-related matters.

  • The RIA methodology should be as simple and flexible as possible while ensuring certain key features are covered. In the short term, this could consist of a simple RIA approach such as qualitative multi-criteria analysis and then gradually incorporate quantitative analysis techniques, such as cost-benefit analysis. This methodology should take into account economic, social and environmental impacts, including the distributional effects over time, identifying who is likely to benefit and who is likely to bear costs.

  • A principle of proportionality should be established within the new RIA policy, stressing that policymakers should focus RIA efforts on regulatory proposals with the greatest expected socioeconomic impacts. A triage process should be used by ministries, and overseen by the new RIA Office, to determine which legislative proposals require full detailed RIAs.

  • Implementation and enforcement of proposed regulations must be considered an integral part of RIA. Delivery of laws and regulations is complex and involves a variety of actors who need to be part of the RIA process if it is to be effective in enhancing regulatory quality.

  • Consultation practices on laws and regulations should be further clarified and systematised. The new RIA Act could contain a requirement that regulatory proposals must undergo stakeholder consultation at both an early stage (at the inception of the policy making process) and at a later stage once draft legislative proposals are available. A consultation website could be developed to facilitate public engagement.

  • A framework enabling the appropriate monitoring and evaluation of the RIA system could be defined and implemented by identifying appropriate metrics, including performance indicators, and clearly allocating responsibilities for monitoring and evaluation, e.g. reporting requirements and involvement in data gathering, processing and analysis.


This work is published under the responsibility of the Secretary-General of the OECD. The opinions expressed and arguments employed herein do not necessarily reflect the official views of the Member countries of the OECD.

This document was produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union.

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area.

Photo credits: Cover © ohrim / Shutterstock.com

Corrigenda to publications may be found on line at: www.oecd.org/about/publishing/corrigenda.htm.

© OECD 2022

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at https://www.oecd.org/termsandconditions.