GIS – 14 November 2013: Government is working towards transforming Mauritius into a nation of owners and not just earners by building a better Mauritius for the many and not just for the few and provide equal opportunities for all.
To achieve this endeavour, the 2014 Budget is stepping up efforts in empowering Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises namely through the Government procurement from SMEs. From six percent in 2012, goods and services procured from SMEs to Government rose to almost 11% in 2013.
Government’s target is to increase this figure to 20 % within the next three years through the following measures:
- The Ministry of Public Infrastructure, National Development Unit, Land Transport and Shipping will unbundle contracts given on a district wise basis to ensure that a larger number of SMEs are appointed.
- The number of zones in rates contracts for maintenance and upgrading of roads, drains and civil works will be increased and the contracts will be reclassified into specific categories of works.
- Standard bidding documents will be simplified from 15 pages to only one page for goods and services and to two pages for small works contracts. In that context, the Public Procurement Office will hold a series of courses to help SMEs understand and take part in Government procurement.
A key element to promote SMEs will also be the organisation by the Ministry of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives of a National Inclusive Business Award to recognise efforts by large businesses to support SMEs.
The 2014 Budget addresses the issue of enhancing business visibility of SME through namely:
- Provision of a free basic website to all SMEs to promote their products;
- 50 % subsidy for more elaborate websites costing up to Rs 6,000; and
- Maintaining the refund scheme to SMEs of Rs 200,000 per annum for participation in international fairs through the input of a further Rs 50 million for 2014.
On the financing front, the 2014 Budget proposes to extend the SME Financing Scheme, introduced in December 2011, up to 2016 with the cooperation of the commercial banks, which will commit an additional Rs 2 billion. A new loan guarantee scheme for small enterprises with annual turnover of less than Rs 10 million will also be introduced. Government will guarantee these loans directly to commercial banks up to 70 % of any amount of loss incurred, thereby channelling an additional Rs 750 million of loans to small enterprises without the need for collateral for the next 3 years. In addition, Government will continue supporting the competitiveness of SMEs through:
- Rs 80 million for the Mauritius Business Growth Scheme (MBGS).
- Rs 70 million in the SME Factoring Scheme for 2014 and extension of the scheme to planters.
- Holding of a series of activity by NPCC in 2014 such as training to 500 SMEs on productivity improvement, high-level motivational talks and a National Productivity Award.
Finally, two more SME parks are under construction at Solitude and Plaine Magnien at a cost of Rs 200 million. These will provide industrial spaces to 80 more SMEs.
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