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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

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Achievements And Progress In Industrial, SMEs And Cooperatives Sectors For Year 2022

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The achievements and progress pertaining to the industrial, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and cooperatives sectors for the year 2022 were the focus of a press conference, yesterday morning, in Port Louis, by the Minister of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, who deemed 2022 as a year of economic recovery and marked by several significant events.

At the outset, Mr Bholah stressed the great efforts made by various departments, institutions and agencies operating under the aegis of the Ministry to boost exports and promote entrepreneurship and the cooperative movement. He underlined the ongoing site visits in companies, SMEs and cooperatives to stay attuned with the needs of local stakeholders.

The resilience, determination and fighting spirit of local operators, which enabled them to come out successfully of the crises brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, was commended by the Minister. He stated that improving access to finance, markets and technologies for all operators and cooperatives would underpin the strategies of the Ministry for 2023.

Export Oriented Enterprises

The Minister commended the upbeat performance of the Export Oriented Enterprises (EOE) sector, made up of 232 companies and employing some 35,088 people. Exports of EOE thus increased by 18.6%, from Rs 31.2 billion from January to September 2021 to Rs 37.01 billion for the same corresponding period in 2022. From January to September 2022, Mauritius’ main exports grew thus by 11% for Textile and Wearing Apparel; 16% for Fish and Fish preparations; 61% for Jewellery and Precious Stones; and 19% for Medical Devices

According to Mr Bholah, these positive results were driven by the perseverance, tenacity and agility of the operators, and the measures implemented by government such as the Freight Rebate Scheme and the Trade Promotion and Marketing Scheme.

The positive outcome from the promotional campaigns of the Economic Development Board at numerous fora, namely the Seafood Global Expo (Spain), Prowein (Germany), Première Vision (France), Bio-Europe, SIAL (Paris), Expo 2020 Dubai, together with the prospecting mission in Kenya, Tanzania and Botswana were highlighted as well. “Orders of around Rs 200 million have been received so far,” affirmed Mr Bholah.

Regarding the Industrial Policy and Strategic Plan (2020-2025) commissioned by the Ministry and produced in collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Mr Bholah informed that to date, 53% of the 22 recommendations made to consolidate and revitalise the local manufacturing base were already initiated.

While reviewing the performances of the parastatal bodies falling under the responsibilities of the Industrial Development Division, the Minister expressed his satisfaction, with regards to their undertakings, and innovative projects.

Soomilduth Bholah
Soomilduth Bholah

SME Division

As for the SME sector, Mr Bholah indicated that the SME Registration Unit issued some 3,592 SME certificates from January to November 2022 and that 5,351 SMEs had been integrated into the Online SME Directory, aiming at promoting the products and services offered by enterprises in both Mauritius and Seychelles.

Cooperatives division

The Minister evoked the restructuring of the Cooperatives Division along the recommendations of the Report of the Office of Public Sector Governance of July 2020. One of the main recommendations pertained to the conversion of the 12 Regional Cooperative Centres into five Cooperative Business Centres for more efficient management.

In addition, two new schemes were launched in October 2022 to contribute to food security namely, the Zero Budget Natural Farming Scheme; and the Goat Farming Scheme.

The Minister reported too on the training and workshop conducted by the National Cooperative College (NCC). Hence, 661 people were trained by the NCC from January to November 2022; 75 NCC trainees obtained a diploma delivered for the first time in the history of cooperatives in Mauritius; and 331 people participated in the various workshops. In 2022, the NCC signed Memoranda of Understanding with the Cooperative Institute of Malaysia and VAMNICOM of India.

Stressing the importance of good governance in the management of cooperatives, Mr Bholah said that from January to November 2022, 661 financial statements were submitted to the Cooperative Audit Unit for audit.

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