The Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Bill was presented in the National Assembly on 21 November 2017. The Bill aims at repealing the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) Act and replaced by a modern and more business friendly legislative framework for the SME Sector.
The Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, pointed out that the main purposes of the Bill are to bring a major institutional reform as SMEDA, which no longer meets the present exigencies and realities of the SME sector, will have to cease its operations; and to provide for a new legislative framework for the Ministry to appoint a Registrar of SME.
He highlighted that SME Mauritius, a Government-owned company, has already been set up and will gradually take over part of SMEDA's functions. The Registrar of SME, Mr Bholah emphasised, will be a public officer responsible for the registration of SMEs and his role will be to provide any person who intends to set up an enterprise having a project value not exceeding Rs 20 million with the necessary information and support. Such support to the entrepreneur will mainly consist of facilitation in obtaining any permit, licence or clearance that is needed for the enterprise to start its operations, he added.
Minister Bholah underscored that the SME Bill is in line with the major institutional reforms that Government is undertaking to instill more efficiency and effectiveness in the different economic sectors. The important institutional reform that stems from the Bill not only reckons the stark realities and imperatives of the SME sector, but also responds to the conditions for a healthy economic and social development of the country, he observed.
Mr Bholah underlined that a freshly crafted entrepreneurial ecosystem is set to emerge with the SME Bill. In order for SME Mauritius to be an important instrument in Government's toolbox for exponential value creation, significant efforts will have to be undertaken by all other stakeholders, that is, support agencies, the private sector, and entrepreneurs, he said.