The Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, shared his vision of economic development for the country where not only high and sustained economic growth rates should be achieved but also to ensure that every citizen reap the benefits of economic prosperity.
He was speaking at the launching of the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA) Corporate Plan 2018-2020 in the context of the International Customs Day 2018 on 26 January at the Custom House, Mer Rouge. The theme chosen by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) this year is: A secure business environment for economic development which recognises the important role of customs officials in the society.
Prime Minister Jugnauth paid tribute to the customs officers who on a 24/7 basis ensure that borders are secured and that the society is shielded from illicit entry of harmful substances and that trade is conducted in a safe and fair environment. He also emphasised the importance of security to attain a secured business environment. On this score, he enumerated a series of measures and projects put in place with the use of the latest technology to fight drug trafficking and smuggling. Among them, the setting up of the National Drug Council and the use of drones by the Customs Department to reinforce security of our borders.
He further expressed optimism that over time we can win the battle against drug trafficking and get rid of drug barons and drug proliferation with the help to each and everyone in this endeavour. Regarding the business community, the Prime Minister reiterated the significant role of businessmen in the strategy for sustainable economic development and highlighted that several administrative reforms have been introduced to further facilitate the ease of doing business procedures particularly the process for clearance of goods. The Prime Minister also called for a concerted effort on behalf of the public and private sectors to help the country attain the status of a high-income country.
For his part the Director General of the MRA, Mr Sudhamo Lal, highlighted the crucial and dynamic role of customs in protecting borders, facilitating trade and in collecting revenue which he said is being made possible with the continuous reforms and modernisation being brought at the MRA. He also spoke of the importance of the Corporate Plan which he underlined elaborates on the strategic initiatives and projects to be undertaken by the MRA and which covers 107 projects over a three year period.
The Director of Customs, Mr V. Ramburun, recalled the constant pressure on customs authorities with globalisation and reiterated the various initiatives taken by the Customs Department to help customs officers deliver their duties with due diligence and efficiently. He listed out the various measures implemented to help MRA intensify its fight against drug trafficking, money laundering and in reinforcing surveillance at sea and inland whereby he announced that the value of drug seized for 2017 amounted to Rs 3 billion.
To mark the International Customs Day 2018, the MRA organised a series of activities namely: the launching of MRA drone; exhibition of drug detection equipment; launch of mobile app (Customs@MU) and MRA Corporate Plan 2018-2020 as well as the award of WCO certificates to Customs officers who have excelled in their respective spheres.