The newly established bank, MauBank, which incorporates the Mauritius Post and Cooperative Bank (MPCB) and the National Commercial Bank (NCB), became operational on 4th January with its main activity to provide financial support to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
MauBank will be the spearhead of the new impetus that Government wants to bring to the SME sector in line with the vision of making this sector the backbone of our economy and transform Mauritius into a 'Nation d'Entrepreneurs' as enunciated in Budget 2015-2016 whereby an amount of Rs10 billion has been provided to the Bank over a period of five years as part of the project.
MauBank will act as facilitator to potential entrepreneurs in providing funding facilities to help them start a business while at the same empowering more citizens to become entrepreneurs in addition to other services including Retail Banking, Corporate Banking and International Banking.
Moreover, the bank proposes to introduce innovative and competitive financing plans for eligible entrepreneurs who want to engage in priority sectors such as agri-business, ICT, Blue Economy, innovation and research, among others. In addition to the financing plans, eligible SMEs will benefit several tax incentives including tax exemptions on the first eight years of operation and exemption from VAT on the purchase of equipment for production.
It will be recalled that the impetus for SMEs is part of Government's new development strategy with focus on a revitalised growth likely to bring the Mauritian economy out of the middle-income trap. The new strategy is based on three main pillars with a view to creating the conditions for a strong and diversified economy, namely, the Blue Economy, the Maritime Hub and economic integration within the region and Africa.
In a press conference on January 04, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo, spoke on the merger of the two banks namely the MPCB and the NCB, which according to him will further consolidate the banking sector. He further underlined that MauBank, which is also catering for entrepreneurs will provide the vital requirement needed to start a business namely funding, the main constraints faced by many.
The Minister recalled the setting up of the One-Stop-Shop for SMEs which he said is providing the appropriate platform to assist entrepreneurs thus helping their business to thrive which in turn will lead towards more jobs creation.