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Government Is Actively Encouraging SMEs To Continuously Upgrade Their Products, Says Prime Minister

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Government is actively encouraging the SME sector to continuously upgrade their products and access new markets by adopting the GS1 barcodes and standards. A Barcode Registration Scheme has been devised under the Internal Capability Development Scheme which is managed by SME Mauritius Ltd. This Scheme provides funds for registration fees, annual membership fees for a three-year period and one-off training fee to acquire GS1 barcodes.

This statement was made, on Wednesday, by the Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, at the inauguration of the Business Day of GS1’s (Global Standards) Middle East, Mediterranean and Africa (MEMA) 2022 Regional Forum held at The Hilton Mauritius Resort & Spa, in Flic-en-Flac. It was organised by GS1 Global in collaboration with GS1 Mauritius and the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI).

The Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Alan Ganoo; the chairman, GSI Mauritius, Mr Eric Corson; the Chief Executive Officer, GSI Global, Mr Renaud de Barbuat; members of the business community; and other personalities, were present. Around 20 participants are, from 12 to 16 September 2022, attending the Regional Forum whilst other Member Organisations are participating virtually. The event is also featuring capacity-building workshops and training; and GS1 Global Office Leadership Team Updates.

In his address, the Prime Minister emphasised that SMEs constitute an important engine of growth and should be empowered to fully tap trade opportunities whether it is for the local or export markets. As at date, around 425 SMEs in fields related to manufacture of food items, fish processing and packaging activities have benefitted from the barcode registration scheme, he underlined.

According to him, the adoption of GS1 barcodes and standards by SMEs should enable them to trade across borders because GS1 barcodes and standards are recognised internationally and facilitate export processes.

Renaud de Barbuat, Mr Corson and Pravind Jugnauth

The Prime Minister moreover indicated that Government has introduced in the agro-industry a barcoding acquisition scheme, managed by the Small Farmers’ Welfare Fund, to enable micro and small agro-processes to adopt GS1 barcodes. With the support of the MCCI, we intend to enhance market access of agro processes by providing greater visibility to their products through GS1 global electronic party information registry and GS1 cloud systems, he pointed out. Around 20 agro processes have benefitted from the scheme since 2019, he stated.

In addition, Mr Jugnauth lauded the MCCI for being the key driver behind the introduction of GS1 barcodes in Mauritius. Since 1994, GSI Mauritius Ltd which falls under the aegis of the MCCI has been issuing barcodes in Mauritius, he observed. This is the result of successful negotiations with the then European Article numbering international now known as GS1 which has the responsibility to assign numerical codes for products to be read by barcode scanning devices, he indicated.

Mauritius is one of the few countries in the world were setting up a business takes less than two hours, he underscored. We will continue to eliminate administrative bottlenecks and streamline issuance of licences and permits for businesses, he assured. He also spoke about the introduction of a Business Regulatory Reform Bill for enhanced business facilitation.

As for Mr Corson, he highlighted that the role of GS1 Global which is a neutral not-for-profit organisation that develops and manages worldwide numbering system which allows the unique identification of products, services, utilities, transport units and locations. GS1 standards embedded in the barcode symbols continue to help in making the vast complexity of the modern global business flow quickly, efficiently and securely simplifying supply chain processes in almost every sector around the world, he said.

For his part, Mr Renaud de Barbuat shared that next year the 50th anniversary of the barcode will be celebrated and for 50 years high speed scanning has been enabled at point of sales. The GS1 standards are today the most widely used identification and data standards around the world and serve more than two million companies around the world and barcodes are scanned about six billion times per day, he indicated. However, we can make a difference not only on the supply chain but also for consumers, patients, small and medium sized enterprises, Government, and the planet, he emphasised.

GS1 Mauritius is the only organisation in Mauritius authorised to issue GS1 barcode numbers. Since 1994, GS1 Mauritius is a Member Organisation of GS1, a not-for-profit organisation based in Brussels that develops global standards for the identification of goods and services and is part of one of the 116 independent GS1 organisations operating in 150 counties worldwide. GS1 Mauritius Ltd has a pool of around 2,000 active members.

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