GIS - Dec 14, 2012: The tenth annual summit of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) was held yesterday at Le Sirius, Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel, in the presence of the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Xavier-Luc Duval. To mark its ten years of existence, a commemorative magazine illustrating the achievements of the council since its setting up under the NESC Act 2001, was launched.
Some 100 participants from the public and private sectors as well as representatives of the civil society and trade unions attended the summit whose objective was to review the progress achieved by the Council during the previous year. Besides serving as platform for discussions on vital socio-economic issues facing the nation, the summit also examined the working programme for the coming year.
In his opening address VPM Duval highlighted the importance of the various forums as well as the reports issued by the NESC on different social and economic aspects. These reports should be circulated to a greater segment of the population so as to generate more debates on issues of national interests, he said.
Commenting on the fast changing decade, the Vice-Prime Minister recalled that the NESC through its actions, can help the society realise the importance of adapting to change and eventually prepare the population for a better future. As regards the economic situation prevailing on the international front, VPM Duval underscored that in an era where the world is facing financial crises, where geographically wealth is moving from the West to the East, it is therefore imperative for Mauritius to redirect its trade towards new markets. According to him, Mauritius should tap the opportunities in Africa while positioning itself as a platform for investment in this continent.
For his part, the Chairperson of the National Economic and Social Council, Mr. Radhakrishna Sadien, underscored the strong need for all stakeholders concerned to engage in social dialogue with a view to achieving the objective of the NESC which is to help the country make sustainable progress. He called for more extensive use of the independent consultative forum which, according to him, is serving as a bridge between policy-makers and society for the socio-economic development of the country.
The NESC was set up, amongst others, to undertake studies on socio-economic issues of national importance and build consensus through a permanent sustained social dialogue for a greater participation of civil society in the democratic process in a bid to ensure that social harmony keeps pace with economic development.