The Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, reiterated Government's commitment to support the cooperative movement as well as to continue working for the progress of the country while catering for the needs of the population.
He was speaking at the inauguration of a National Cooperatives Fair in Bel-Air on 26 April 2019 in presence of the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, and other personalities.
The Prime Minister underlined that Government acknowledges the role and contribution of the cooperative sector to the Mauritian economy and is confident that the movement will bring to reality many more achievements in the future years. Cooperative, he said, as a business model can be used to achieve the goals of the Government, namely being part of the league of high income countries and improving the economic and social conditions of citizens.
A number of measures, he recalled, have been put in place to help decrease unemployment rates, alleviate poverty, facilitate access to education, and support women in their endeavours. Women, he said, have demonstrated their great potentials in various socio-economic and societal spheres over the years and are now becoming autonomous as well as economically independent by starting up their own business ventures.
Prime Minister Jugnauth stated that entrepreneurship among women should be highly encouraged adding that the Ministry of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives is providing necessary assistance to guide aspiring entrepreneurs and is empowering existing ones to sustain on the markets. He added that women entrepreneurs can take loans of Rs 500 000 at the Development Bank of Mauritius without having to find a guarantor and start their own business which he said, is a great encouragement for them.
For his part, Minister Bholah stated that access to market has been one of the main problems faced by cooperatives and in a bid to address this problem, a series of market fairs are being organised around the island. He highlighted the importance of providing platforms for cooperatives societies to showcase their products and services as well as to increase their visibility on local markets.
Several schemes, facilities and opportunities for training are being provided to further give a boost to the cooperative sector and foster an entrepreneurship culture amongst the youth and women. He urged them to avail themselves of these benefits and contribute to promoting the cooperative movement.
The Cooperatives Fair at Bel-Air was held from 26 April to 28 April 2019. The objective was to provide free market access to cooperators; creating public awareness on locally manufactured products and economic activities; assisting cooperators in widening their customer base; and encouraging networking
Some 225 exhibitors of some 75 cooperative societies displayed their products ranging from fresh flowers and potted plants; vegetables/fruits; food stuffs and agro-processed items and spices; shoes, wallets and bags; handicraft products; and jewellery, amongst many others.