- 18 December, 2017:
The achievements for the year 2017 in the Business, Enterprises and Cooperatives sectors were outlined by the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomildut Bholah, on 15 December 2017, during a press conference.
He emphasised that the Ministry is committed to provide several measures and schemes to make Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) a key pillar of the socio-economic development of Mauritius.
The SME Bill, he underlined, is an important milestone which aims to bring a major institutional reform to the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) and to provide for a new legislative framework. He further underlined that SME Mauritius which has already been set up will gradually take over part of SMEDA’s functions.
As regards promoting the visibility of SMEs, the Minister recalled that the International SME Innovation and Technology Fair and the SME Innovation Award 2017 were also on the agenda of the Ministry. He added that five national fairs were organised across the country namely at St Pierre, Mahebourg, Port-Louis Waterfront and Rodrigues.
The various measures undertaken for the year 2017 comprise: the ten year Master plan to improve SME competitiveness and growth; the setting up of the Creative Mauritius online platform to provide market linkages to craftsmen of Mauritius and Rodrigues; the launch of a training programme on Advanced Crafts Skills in collaboration with the Mauritius Institute of Training and Development; the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the SMEDA and the Mauritius Duty Free Paradise to provide a stand for craftsmen to showcase their products.
For the Cooperatives sector, the Minister highlighted that the promulgation of the New Cooperatives Act has enabled the sector to better consolidate itself. He underscored that 102 new cooperatives societies have been created for the period January 2017 till 30 November 2017.
He emphasised that various incentives have been put in place to boost the sector. They include the creation of the Cooperative Audit Unit and the Mauritius Cooperative Alliance as well as the recent launching of a Cooperative IT Centre at Montagne Blanche.
Other measures include the Solar Photovoltaic Rebate Scheme; the launching of the e-Registration project; studies conducted on abandoned agricultural lands and the launching of the Cooperative Development Fund. The National Awards for Cooperatives as well as 44 cooperatives fairs have been organised, added the Minister.
He further pointed out that a MoU was signed between India and Mauritius to enhance collaboration in the field of cooperatives. On this score, he recalled the visit of Mr Kalraj Mishra to Mauritius for the Second Joint Committee Meeting on Cooperation in the field of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
Moreover, the Minister highlighted that 14 cooperatives societies have benefitted from training programmes from the Vaikunth Mehta National Institute of Cooperative Management in India and that 15 Mauritian participants have been trained in bio-agriculture at the National Centre of Organic Farming in India.
With regard to the National Cooperatives College (NCC), Minister Bholah stressed that 24 programmes have been dispensed to some 4,005 people including 2,030 unemployed women and 1,385 young people sensitised on entrepreneurship in the cooperatives sector.
The upcoming projects for the cooperatives sector comprise amongst others the renovation of la Maison des Pêcheurs; the development of agricultural projects at St Pierre and Henrietta; the relocation of NCC in a new building. The Ministry is expected to sign an agreement with the Cooperative College of Malaysia next year.
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