Mauritius and Madagascar will collaborate to identify new avenues of cooperation in the textile and manufacturing sectors and will work towards enhancing the exchange of knowledge, experience and expertise between the two countries.
This was the gist of discussions which were held yesterday, in Port-Louis, during a courtesy call of the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Crafts of the Republic of Madagascar, Mr Rakotomalala Lantosa, on the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection, Mr Ashit Kumar Gungah.
Speaking about the challenges facing the local textile industry, Mr Gungah in a press statement after the visit, pointed out that the sector remains vulnerable to external market forces, the highly competitive international market situation and high cost of production, marketing strategies and reaching orders target. However, he emphasised that despite the prevailing challenges, the industrial sector has demonstrated its resilience by creating a vibrant and competitive environment following Government's relentless efforts to foster a conducive commercial milieu.
Furthermore, Mr Gungah indicated that Government has set up a coordination committee with various stakeholders to identify enterprises that are facing various difficulties following site visits and reports carried out by the Mauritius Export Association (MEXA). The stakeholders involved are the MEXA, the Economic Development Board, the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as the Development Bank of Mauritius.
The Minister enumerated key Governmental measures aimed at reviving the Textile sector, namely: the Air Freight Rebate Scheme for textile and apparel known as the 'Speed-to-Market' Scheme that provides a 40% refund on air freight cost to exporters to Europe; a reduced corporate tax rate of 3% on the profits derived by any company from exportation of goods; the Corporate Guarantee Scheme; and, the Leasing Equipment Modernisation Forex Scheme. These set of measures, he said, has considerably helped to boost the sector and resulted in an increase in the value of total exports of textiles and clothing from Rs 22,856 billion in 2017 to Rs 23,700 billion in 2018.
According to Minister Gungah, it is imperative for enterprises to innovate and modernise their equipment so that they can operate efficiently and thrive in the highly competitive market. He further recalled that the Malagasy Government has granted Mauritius 80 hectares for the construction of an industrial park in Madagascar which will enable new cross-border investment opportunities for the country.