Government will continue to introduce new measures and schemes that contribute to the enhancement of the business environment in Mauritius so as to make it more conducive for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which play an important role in our country's economy.
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 this morning during the official opening of the Salon des PME at Kendra, St Pierre. The Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah and other personalities were also present on this occasion.
The Salon des PME, an initiative of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA), is being held from 08 to 12 November 2017 and more than 90 entrepreneurs are participating. Some 20 000 visitors are expected to visit the Salon.
In his address, the Prime Minister highlighted that as at date, there are more than 126 000 SMEs operating in Mauritius and employing some 300 000 workers. This figure, he pointed out, represents about 54% of the total number of employed persons in the country.
He recalled that in view of supporting SMEs, which contribute to 40% of the Gross Domestic Product, a series of measures have been announced in Budget 2017-2018. They include a contribution of Rs 5,000 from Government towards the costs of membership in the 'Made in Moris' label, dedicated space in four new market fairs so that SMEs can market their products, and the setting-up of an SME e-platform to provide more visibility to SME products, among others. Exportation fees have also been reduced from 15% to 3% so that enterprises can export their products more easily, he added.
The Prime Minister further encouraged entrepreneurs to explore new international markets to sell their products, before stating that Government is already discussing with different countries in Africa so that goods produced locally can be exported tax-free. Discussions are also being held with India so as to come up with a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement so that the business sector in Mauritius can benefit from more opportunities.
He also emphasised that the World Bank, in its Report Doing Business 2018, has ranked Mauritius 25th as compared to 49th in the previous one, that is, first in Africa. This shows Mauritius has made progress in making the business environment more conducive and Government aims at making further progress in this sector, he said.
For his part, Minister Bholah encouraged entrepreneurs to participate in the various market fairs organised around the island so that they can enhance the visibility of their products. He urged entrepreneurs to use the schemes put in place by Government so that they can be more productive.
He also pointed out that the Small and Medium Enterprises Bill has been introduced into the National Assembly yesterday, to make the transition from the SMEDA to SME Mauritius so as to provide more support to entrepreneurs.