GIS - 19 April, 2019: The manufacturing, textile and apparel sector has supported the economic upheaval of several families in Mauritius and it is undeniable that the industry is facing several challenges today, both internally and externally. Mauritius is also threatened by increased competition from countries such as Bangladesh, Vietnam and other East-Asian economies which still have the boon of cheap labour to produce their goods at prices which are much lower than what our country can.
To address the challenges in the Textile and Apparel Industry, the Economic Development Board (EDB) thus organised a two-day workshop at the Ravenala Attitude Hotel, Turtle Bay, in Balaclava, and which kicked off yesterday. The workshop has as objective to consult stakeholders and obtain proposals in view of defining sustainable roadmaps for the Textile and Apparel Industry to ensure their long run survival and improve their contributions to the national income of Mauritius.
The Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, addressed, today, stakeholders of the Textile and Apparel Industry attending the second leg of the workshop. He spoke of the need to rethink of the industry from the production point of view. The solutions are here, he said, but there is still certain reluctance, or even resistance, from the industry to adapt to the changing demands of the sector.
Technology, Minister Seeruttun highlighted, offers a solution to the productivity dilemma that Mauritius is facing. Already, certain textile factories have invested massively in upgrading their machinery and are deploying Industry 4.0 dynamics across their operations, he indicated. Sensors, Internet of Things devices and robotics have changed the game in the industry, and the increased cost of labour in Mauritius isn’t an excuse for failure either, he remarked.
Moreover, the Minister acknowledged that the implementation of such solutions can be costly, and this is why, he emphasised, over the last few years a plethora of measures have been implemented to support the growth of the manufacturing sector, including textile and apparel. These include: an annual Investment Tax Credit of 5% over three years in high-tech manufacturing equipment; an accelerated depreciation of 50% on machinery; and, taxing 3% of profits derived from exports of goods as compared to 15% previously.
According to him, these measures have been put in place to encourage manufacturers invest more in better machinery by reducing the effective cost of such investments and by increasing available funds for reinvestment. Finally, Government has set up three major industrial parks in Riche Terre, Côte d’Or and Rose Belle, and thus, some factories and warehouses are already under construction. With these developments, where the Government has provided land at subsidised rates, we have ensured that development is scattered across Mauritius so that no one is left behind, the Minister added.
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