3 January 2018

Mauritius: PM Outlines Key Priorities in His New Year Message to the Nation

press release

In his New Year message to the Nation, which was broadcast on 1 January 2018, the Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, defined his priorities for the country and assured a better quality of life for the whole community by making a difference on issues that matter most to people's daily lives, namely education, training, economy, unemployment, poverty, environment, and law and order.Speaking about Government's foremost priority which is education and training, the Prime Minister recalled that the future rests on education and it is important to give youngsters the education they need for their development and achieve their ambitions.

"We are investing a lot in education because we want our children to have a holistic development", he said while highlighting that the education reform, with the introduction of the Nine Year Schooling, is now a reality.

While referring to the strategy to take the country to another level of development, Mr Jugnauth stated it is fundamental that appropriate training be provided to the youth leaving colleges and universities. In this context, Government is offering high standard training in a number of fields, namely ICT, construction, cinema industry, tourism and financial services. More than 4 000 young people have benefitted from those trainings, he pointed out.

According to the Prime Minister Government's major task is to build an economy that fits for the future. 2017 was an important year for Mauritius and measures implemented have helped to bring the country to a more steady growth. The growth rate for end 2017 was 3.9% and we are expecting it to be more than 4% this year showing a clear indication that the country is on the right track, he said.

Figures from World Bank's Ease of Doing Business report show that Mauritius received Rs 15 billion in terms of foreign investments thus shifting the country's ranking from the 49th to the 25th place. We are still rated first in Africa and are working to make sure to stay the number one, said the Prime Minister.

With regard to unemployment, Mr Jugnauth stated that statistics show a decrease in the number of unemployed and the unemployment rate is expected to down to less that 7% this year. We want a better quality of life for all citizens and my Government has kept its promise to come forward with the National Minimum Wage, he said. The National Minimum Wage of Rs 9 000, with the aim to providing a decent salary to workers of both the public and private sectors, is being introduced as from this month and concerns 100 000 workers.

The Prime Minister listed out measures implemented to combat poverty, namely negative income tax and social housing. Government is assisting low income families by providing housing units around the island. Some 1 155 houses were built last year and for 2018, 4 000 housing units for middle income families will be constructed.

Government aims at improving the quality of services offered to the population and on that score, several infrastructural projects will kick start in 2018, Mr Jugnauth said. As far as the Metro Express project is concerned, works between Port Louis and Rose Hill will start this month. Other projects to set off this year comprise the new Supreme Court building, a multisports complex and the ENT hospital. The Safe City project will be launched and 4 000 surveillance cameras will be installed on 2 000 sites to fight criminality and empower the Police Force. A National Drug and HIV Council will also be set up under the aegis of the Prime Minister's Office.

"Nothing is impossible if we work together and the best example is the African support we received at the United Nations General Assembly regarding the Resolution Seeking International Court's Advisory Opinion on Pre-independence Separation of Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius", said the Prime Minister.

He further recalled that, as Mauritius gears itself to celebrate its 50th independence in March 2018, the measures being implemented by the Government constitute the first steps to give a better future to the population. We should keep working hand in hand to make our country prosper, Mr Jugnauth said in his concluding remarks.

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