GIS - 15 June 2020: The construction sector has long been a driver of Mauritius’s economic growth. This industry has a major role to play in the economic recovery of the country. It employs directly and indirectly some 120 000 workers in Mauritius representing around 22% of the total workforce and in 2019 contributed to some 9.7% to the GDP with a net investment of Rs 48.3 billion. Now, the construction industry, with Rs 40 billion worth of development projects, is being propelled to another height, and will thus preserve thousands of jobs.
This statement was made during budgetary debates, on Friday 12 June 2020, at the National Assembly, by the Minister of National Infrastructure and Community Development, Mr Mahendranuth Sharma Hurreeram.
Projects undertaken by the Road Development Authority (RDA) and the National Development Unit (NDU) are numerous, he pointed out. The RDA will be implementing 27 projects over a three-year period and presently, nine projects to the tune of Rs 5.5 billion are being implemented and 18 new ones will be undertaken with an overall project value of Rs 5.2 billion, underpinned Mr Hurreeram.
The NDU, highlighted the Minister, is currently carrying out upgrading, resurfacing and drain works across Mauritius and has mobilised more than 500 workers in this endeavour. An additional sum of Rs 1.2 billion has been allocated to the NDU to undertake major drain works in high-risk flood prone areas identified by the Land Drainage Authority, he indicated.
Speaking about the community development component, the Mr Hurreeram announced the construction and upgrading of a series of structures such as market fairs, multipurpose complexes, incinerators and around 200 secondary roads and 27 amenities in Mauritius. A new sports centre will be constructed at Plaine Verte and a leisure park at Quartier Militaire to the tune of Rs 1.3 billion, he added.
Budget 2020-2021 provides for:
- A sum of Rs 12 billion for the construction of 12 000 social housing units across the island.
- Rs 7.5 billion for the construction of the Rivière des Anguilles dam.
- Rs 6 billion to transform the main bus terminals along the Port Louis – Curepipe corridor into multi-modal Urban Terminals.
- Rs 5.2 billion for the construction of new roads and bridges.
- Rs 5 billion for the completion of the Metro System from Rose Hill to Curepipe.
- Extending the bus terminals modernisation programme to other main agglomerations of the country, starting with Flacq, St Pierre, Mahebourg and Rivière du Rempart. The private sector will invest some Rs 3.2 billion over the next three years.
- Rs 2.2 billion in a Breakwater, Fishing Port and the Cruise Terminal Building.
The National Budget will also stimulate private investment. Currently, there are some 34 projects in the pipeline at the EDB worth some sixty-two billion rupees. A High-Level Committee chaired by the Prime Minister will be set up to expedite processing and approvals of these projects.
In addition, the construction industry will be boosted through the following measures:
- Waiving fees related to the Building and Land Use Permit (BLUP) for construction of pharmaceutical manufacturing factories, food processing plants and warehouses.
- Facilitating purchases of immovable properties by foreign buyers through digital Power of Attorney.
- Extending the Construction of Housing Estate Scheme and Acquisition of Newly Built Dwellings Scheme for another period of two years; and also raising the eligibility threshold under these schemes from 6 to 7 million rupees.
- Payment of VAT will be allowed as from the date of receipt instead of the date of invoice for Government contracts in relation to construction works.
- For Government projects of up to Rs 300 million, contractors will be paid within a shorter period of 28 days instead of 56 days currently.
- Any retention amount will be paid fully within six months instead of twelve months.
- The Construction Industry Development Board Act will be amended to review the grading of contractors.
- Public projects with investments of less than Rs 300 million and where pre-qualification is not required by the Central Procurement Board, will be opened to Mauritian companies only.
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