GIS - 10 August, 2018: The National Cooperative College (NCC), a first-of-its-kind in Mauritius, will provide training and educational programmes with a view to give a professional edge to the cooperative sector. Government is investing massively to ensure that local existing and aspiring entrepreneurs benefit from necessary tools and resources for the development of competencies in the field of cooperatives.
The Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, made this statement yesterday at the inauguration of the NCC at Bois Marchand, Terre-Rouge in presence of the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, other Ministers and eminent personalities.
In his keynote address, the Prime Minister highlighted that the NCC, constructed to the tune of some Rs 20 million, will offer structured courses to cooperative societies as well as promote an entrepreneurial attitude for the successful evolution for the sector. According to him, the college will better respond to the expectations of cooperatives and will contribute to further strengthen the sector in the future.
Prime Minister Jugnauth pointed out that the cooperative movement in Mauritius earlier centred on the sugarcane industry has today evolved into a diversified sector including livestock, credit unions, transportation, handicraft, finance, agriculture and fisheries amongst others. He reiterated the commitment of Government which is to reinforce cooperatives and encourage them to further harness their enormous potentials while ensuring the protection of the environment.
The Prime Minister underlined that around Rs 1 billion has been earmarked for the training of some 12, 000 unemployed people under various programmes. To this end, he emphasised that the training programmes enable unemployed to acquire necessary expertise as well as experience and facilitate the task of Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises in retaining the services of a trained graduate.
Moreover, he encouraged enterprises to adopt the Work@Home Scheme for which Government is allowing a double deduction from tax of the wage and salary costs of employees for the first two years and an annual 5% tax credit grant for 3 years on investment in the required IT system. On this score, he called upon women and youth to benefit from the facilities and services that will be provided by the NCC.
For his part, the Minister of Business, Enterprises and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, underscored that cooperatives contribute significantly to poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. Government, he emphasised, is determined to give a new impetus to this sector by urging competition, innovation, research and by enabling training as well as capacity building opportunities for co-operators.
He recalled that various incentives including the creation of the Cooperative Audit Unit, the Mauritius Cooperative Alliance Limited and the NCC have been put in place, along with the provision of several schemes under the Cooperative Development Fund to further consolidate the sector. He also spoke of the Cooperatives Act 2016 which has been instrumental in eliminating illicit activities in cooperatives as well as promoting transparency and accountability. The establishment of the NCC was part of the amendments brought to the Cooperatives Act 2016, he added.
Minister Bholah emphasised that the NCC represents a milestone for the cooperative sector which in turn will help develop skills in the fields of green energy, aquaculture, fisheries and livestock, amongst others. The college, he highlighted, will also collaborate with international institutions to enable training as well as the exchange of other knowledge-based activities. In this regard, discussions between the NCC and the Cooperative College of Malaysia have already been initiated for further collaboration, he underpinned.
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