GIS - 17 August, 2018: Revenue collection by the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA) for the financial year 2017-2018 amounted to approximately Rs 87.5 billion as compared to Rs 76 billion for the year 2016-2017, representing an increase of 15 % over the preceding year.
The Director-General of the MRA, Mr Sudhamo Lal, made this announcement at a press conference in Port Louis yesterday, regarding the key performance and achievements of the MRA for the financial year 2017-2018 and the implementation of the new budgetary measures as enunciated in the Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018.Mr Lal expressed satisfaction regarding the MRA’s performance which has been attributed to the various tax policy measures, economic situation and efficiency gains in tax administration. He further highlighted that out of the Rs 87.5 billion, around Rs 83.1 billion have been collected for the Consolidated Fund and Rs 4.4 billion for special funds such as the National Pensions Fund, the National Savings Fund, Lotto Fund, Responsible Gambling and Capacity Building Fund and National CSR Foundation.He further underscored that the MRA has achieved better performance with regards to debt collections which amounted to Rs 2.6 billion as compared to Rs 1.9 billion for 2016-2017, in addition to income tax e-filing, e-payment and tracking of non-filers as well as from drug seizure.Regarding the Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018, Mr Lal added that the MRA will focus on measures aiming at reducing income inequality and improving quality of life of citizens as announced in Budget 2018-2019. Among the initiatives, he added, are the implementation of the Negative Income Tax allowance since November 2017 for low income earners with less than Rs 9 900 monthly and the Special Allowance as from January 2018 aims at topping up wages of low income earners so that they receive a minimum of Rs 9000 monthly.Concerning these two main initiatives to alleviate poverty, he pointed out that as at date, 81 367 persons have benefitted from both schemes with a total amount of Rs 286 million which have been disbursed.Furthermore, he stressed that Mauritius has improved its ranking in the World Bank’s Report moving from 45th in 2017 with regards paying taxes to the 10th position in 2018 which he attributed to the successful sensitisation campaigns being carried out by the organisation. He further expressed satisfaction that 99.6% of individuals are filing their returns electronically.Regarding the way forward, the MRA Director further dwelt on the new measures announced in budget 2018/2019 with the intention of alleviating tax payers from the tax burden and increase the income of households, namely the increase in the Income Exemption Threshold by Rs 5 000 for each category exempting those earning an annual income of Rs 305 000 from the tax bracket. Similarly, he added, Income Tax rate has been decreased from 15 percent to 10 percent for those earning between Rs 305 000 and Rs 650 000 annually.In view of combating tax evasion and money laundering, he announced that the MRA intends to monitor the return of dividends by companies and the statement of financial transactions by banks, money changers and insurance companies. As far as entry of illegal drugs and narcotics is concerned, Mr Lal pointed out that emphasis will be on drug interdiction projects, and cross border transportation of currency.
- GIS - 17 August, 2018: The Mauritius Youth Internet Governance Forum 2018, spanning over two days, opened yesterday at the Municipality of Port-Louis in the presence of the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Local Government and Outer Islands, and Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo.Organised by the Halley Movement, the forum which is at its second edition, focuses on online child protection and internet governance. It brings together local participants from the IT sector, civil society, academia, business sector and youth advocates to discuss issues related to the protection of children online. It aims at fostering policy dialogue among stakeholders on issues of internet governance and offering a space for people to share information and develop solution on key internet issues.International experts on the subject including representatives from Facebook, the United Nations Children's Fund, End Child Prostitution and Trafficking international, the China Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations, Good Deeds Day and Afrinic are also attending the forum.In her address, the Vice-Prime Minister highlighted that ensuring the safety of children should be everyone’s concern, adding that the forum is offering the opportunity to hold an important debate wherein young people will be able to raise awareness regarding the matter and make a difference by sharing their views.She further pointed out that Mauritius has experienced rapid development in terms of technology and internet access, with the number of mobile phone subscriptions exceeding 1.8 million in 2017, while the number of internet subscriptions amounted to around 1.2 million in the same year. On that note, the Vice-Prime Minister stated that children are growing up in a different environment than that of the previous generations, where they now have easy access to technological devices and have internet at their fingertips.Moreover, Mrs Jeewa-Daureeawoo underscored that the internet can have both a positive and negative side, adding that as regards safeguarding young internet users, parents have the greatest power to act as guardians by educating their wards about the potential dangers and encouraging them to harness the positive usages. She further underlined that along with raising awareness of both adults and young internet users, it is essential to have a Framework of Regulations for the protection of children and a strong collaboration among different stakeholders.She recalled that Mauritius has already ratified a Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as the African Charter on the rights and welfare of the child and that Government is working on the Children’s Bill which will cater for all aspects of the protection of children including key issues linked to the internet.
- GIS - 17 August, 2018: The 11th World Hindi Conference (WHC) opens tomorrow in Mauritius in the presence of the Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, and an important official delegation from India comprising various Ministers, Governors and Ministers of State.Organised jointly by the Government of Mauritius and the Government of India, the WHC will be held at the Swami Vivekanand International Convention Centre in Pailles from 18 to 20 August 2018.The main objectives of WHC are to bring together stakeholders including Hindi scholars, writers, researchers, journalists and publishers on a global platform so as to accelerate the promotion of Hindi as an international language. The conference will offer networking opportunities as well as encourage the widespread usage of Hindi language in the fields of science, education and technology, amongst others.Some 2,000 delegates and officials from 12 countries including Mauritius, United States of America, United Kingdom, South Africa, Russia, amongst others, have registered for the Conference. The main theme will be “Hindi Vishwa Aur Bharateey Sanskriti” (World of Hindi and Indian Culture).During the conference, several exhibitions focusing on the developments of Hindi language and evening cultural programmes will be also held. A Kavi Sammelan organised by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR), New Delhi is also in the programme of activities.A daily newsletter (Sammelan Samachar), a Sammelan Smarika and a Conference Report on discussions/deliberations held during the academic sessions and their recommendations will be published. For its part, ICCR will bring out a special issue of "Gagananchal” dedicated to the Conference. Mauritius Post Ltd will issue a special First Day cover to mark the event.In keeping with the past practice, Hindi scholars from India and other countries will be honoured with ‘’Vishwa Hindi Samman’’ for their distinguished services in the field of Hindi.India, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, Suriname, America and South Africa have also hosted the WHC.The Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun attended the launch of the official website and the logo of the 11th WHC by the Minister Sushma Swaraj on 10 April 2018 at Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan in New Delhi.
Mauritius to sign Agreement Amending the Protocol on Politics Defence and Security Cooperation of SADCGIS - 16 August, 2018: Government has agreed to Mauritius signing the Agreement Amending the Protocol on Politics Defence and Security Cooperation of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).The Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO) Constitution which was incorporated in the Protocol on Politics Defence and Security Cooperation in 2009 has been amended to smoothen operationalisation of the Organisation.The objectives of the SARPCCO are to promote, strengthen and perpetuate co-operation and foster joint strategies for the management of all forms of transnational organised and cross-border crimes; prepare and disseminate relevant information on criminal activities to benefit Member States to contain crime in the region; and carry out regular reviews of joint crime management strategies in view of changing national and regional needs and priorities.
- GIS - 16 August, 2018: The SME Employment Scheme, a measure announced in Budget 2018/2019 and which targets some 1 000 unemployed graduates, was at the fore of a press conference on Tuesday 14 August 2018 in Port-Louis.The Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, provided details pertaining to the Scheme which he indicated aims at instilling an entrepreneurship spirit in unemployed graduates as well as supporting further development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). It will also help address a number of existing challenges as regards youth unemployment and the inability of SMEs to recruit graduates, he pointed out.According to him, the unemployed graduates will be able to develop their skills and competencies in a real world situation and, at the same time, help SMEs in improving their performance as well as productivity with their innovative ideas. The first batch of graduates will be placed in different SMEs as from September 2018, he stated.The Minister also announced that, after consultations with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations, Employment and Training, and the Human Resource Development Council, it has been decided that the responsibility for the implementation of the SME Employment Scheme will be entrusted to SME Mauritius Ltd.SME Employment SchemeThe Scheme has the following objectives: provide skills to SMEs; boost the employability of young graduates; trigger a culture of entrepreneurship in the youth; and support SMEs financially to retain services of a graduate. Employment under this Scheme will generally cover a period of two years and renewed after the first year upon satisfactory completion. A monthly stipend of Rs 14,000 based on attendance will be provided to each graduate during this period while the employer will pay the monthly travelling costs.Application forms are available at SME Mauritius Ltd and all the regional office located at Bel Air, Goodlands, Coromandel and Mahebourg. The forms can also be downloaded from the website of SME Mauritius Ltd at or from the website of the Ministry of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives at . The closing date for submission of applications is 07 September 2018.
- GIS - 16 August, 2018: A High-Level Seminar and a Power Sector Senior Managers’ workshop on Utility Regulations opened this morning at Hennessy Park Hotel in Ebene at the initiative of the Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities, the Utility Regulatory Authority (URA) and the African Development Bank Group (AfDB).Some 50 participants from the Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities, the URA, the Central Electricity Board, the Mauritius Renewable Energy Agency, and Independent Power Producers are participaing. The main objective of this high-level seminar is to provide key stakeholders with a common understanding of the rationale for the creation of the URA and its role as a regulator. The seminar will also highlight the critical roles the various stakeholders must play towards an independent URA in an effectively regulated electricity supply system.Themes on the agenda include, amongst others: Objectives, Agenda of Seminar and Road Map for AfDB support to URA; The Key Regulatory Roles of URA; The energy regulatory framework from business community perspective; The CEB status and role within the new regulatory framework; Client Engagement with the independent Regulator; Purpose and significance of regulating the Electricity Industry; and Principles of Electricity Regulation.The Consultant, Dr Frank Sebbowa, a Power Sector Regulation Expert, has been appointed by the AfDB and the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) to provide the URA with advisory support and technical assistance in the form of capacity building and organisational development in respect of its function as a regulator.In his address, the Chairman of the URA, Mr Philip Ah-Chuen, recalled that the Government of Mauritius approved the setting up of a URA in 2004 and that the URA Act was enacted in November 2004. The URA, he added, is an independent body set up in September 2016 with the mandate to regulate the electricity, water and wastewater sectors.Speaking about the objects of the Authority, Mr Ah-Huen highlighted that it aims to ensure the sustainability and viability of utility services, protect the interest of both existing and future customers, promote the efficiency of utility services as regards operation and capital investments; and promote competition to prevent unfair and anti-competitive practices in the utility services industry.According to the Chairman, as a regulatory Authority, the URA must be independent and its roles must be clearly demarcated from Government’s role on policies. An effectively independent regulator must have management and financial independence and must be allowed to operate at ‘arms-length’ from all stakeholders, he emphasised.For his part, the Consultant, Dr Frank Sebbowa, dwelt on the roadmap for AfDB support to the URA. He pointed out that in 2017, the Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities requested the support of the AfDB for in-house training of new URA staff, sensitisation and briefing of key stakeholders about the URA work, development of the first three-year strategic Business Plan for the URA, and reviewing Energy laws so as to allow the URA to move forward with its mandate. Subsequently, he said, the AfDB and the ALSF appointed an Utility Regulatory Expert to provide support to the URA.The main functions of the URAThe main objective of the Authority, which comprises the water, electricity and waste water sectors, is to protect the interests of users of public services. Under the URA Act, the body is able to grant, modify and revoke licenses for a public service. The URA will also keep a watch on developments and investments in the sector. The body may, for example, redirect operators depending on the application or needs, in specific regions. It will also be responsible for regulating tariffs charged by an operator.The main functions of the URA are to implement the policy of Government relating to applicable utility services; establish an appropriate procedure for receiving and enquiring into complaints by customers in relation to any utility services; establish and implement adequate systems for monitoring the compliance by licensees with standards and applicable regulations; take measures for the better protection of customers in relation to any utility services; and examine and make recommendations to a licensee in respect of any Power Purchase Agreement which a licensee proposes to enter into.
- GIS - 16 August, 2018: The 38th Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) opens tomorrow in Windhoek, Republic of Namibia. The two-day Summit will focus on the theme ‘Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development’.The Summit is responsible for the overall policy direction and control of functions of the community, ultimately making it the policy-making institution of SADC. It is made up of all SADC Heads of States or Government and is managed on a Troika system that comprises the current Chairperson, the incoming Chairperson and the immediate previous Chairperson. The ordinary summit usually meets once a year around August or September in a Member State of the incoming SADC Chairperson.The current SADC troika comprises H.E. President Cyril Ramaphosa, of South Africa as the Chairperson; H.E President Dr Hage G. Geingob, of Namibia and incoming Chairperson; and H.M. King Mswati III, of the Kingdom of Eswatini as the outgoing Chairperson.The troika for the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation is headed by H.E. President João Lourenço, of Angola as Chairperson of the Organ and includes H.E. President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, of Zambia as the incoming Chairperson of the Organ, and H.E. President Dr John Joseph Magufuli of the United Republic of Tanzania as outgoing Chairperson of the Organ.Namibia last hosted such a SADC event in 1992 during the historic Summit held in Windhoek where leaders from the region signed the SADC Treaty and Declaration that effectively transformed the then Southern African Development Coordination Conference into Southern African Development Community .The signing of the Treaty and Declaration ushered in changes in the way the regional organisation operates, as prior to 1992, the organisational and institutional arrangements were decentralised, with each of the Member States being responsible for coordinating one economic sector.With the signing of the Treaty, the coordination of regional programmes and activities became centralised at the SADC Secretariat in Gaborone, capital of Botswana.The ordinary SADC Summit is preceded by a series of meetings and events, namely, the meeting of the Standing Committee of Senior Officials; the Finance subcommittee; Council of Ministers Meeting; as well as theDouble Troika Senior Officials Meeting, and Ministerial Council of the Organ and Double Troika Summit.SADC ObjectivesThe main objectives of SADC are to achieve development, peace and security, and economic growth to alleviate poverty, enhance the standard and quality of life of the peoples of Southern Africa, and support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration, built on democratic principles and equitable and sustainable development.
- GIS – 14 August, 2018: The three-day third round of negotiations on the Mauritius-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) opened yesterday at the Hilton Hotel in Flic en Flac. The FTA aims at further expanding bilateral trade and investment exchanges between Mauritius and the People’s Republic of China.The Mauritian delegation is being led by Dr Sunil Boodhoo, Director, International Trade Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade. The twelve-member Chinese delegation is headed by the Deputy Director General, Ministry of Commerce, Mr Hu Yingzhi.In his opening statement, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo, pointed out that the substance of the FTA should be that of a framework agreement which shows the way forward and conveys that both countries mean business. It should add the block and structure to make Mauritius and China an example of friendship, common interest and win-win situations to the rest world, he emphasised.The FTA, the Minister pointed out, will in fact materialise and give substance to a strong friendship which has existed for so long between our two countries. China-Mauritius represent a beautiful story of friendship based on the principle of working together in the interest of each other, he said.Speaking about Africa-China cooperation, Mr Lutchmeenaraidoo highlighted that it is necessary to find a solution which is related to the finalisation of two agreements namely: the first FTA which China is currently negotiating with an African country that is Mauritius; and, the Road and Belt initiative. The latter initiative implies that China wants to play more and more a positive and substantial role when it comes to the development of the whole planet, he stated.The Minister also spoke how Mauritius although small in land size can act as a transmission belt and connecting link between the philosophy of China and the vision of Africa. This is where we are today, a new world and planet which is developing and where we are moving away from the West to the East and where the East wants to be present in world affairs, he said. It is on this basis that we are working collaboratively on these two initiatives, he remarked.For his part, the Head of the Chinese delegation, Mr Hu Yingzhi, observed that the negotiations on the FTA have already reached an advanced stage within a short span of time. In addition, he expressed hope that the establishment at an earlier date of a Free Trade Area between both countries will help in further strengthening our long-lasting friendship. The FTA is also of great significance in ensuring the promotion of Africa’s economic, trade and investment cooperation with China, he stated.Mr Hu recalled the recent friendship visit effected by Chinese President Xi Jinping two weeks earlier to Mauritius. This visit has not only brought new impetus to Mauritius-China friendly ties but has further triggered Chinese people’s interest towards Mauritius, he added.Moreover, Mr Hu observed that President Xi and the Mauritian Prime Minister, Mr Jugnauth, acknowledged the progress made so far with regards to the FTA’s negotiations and the two leaders expressed hope that both the Chinese and Mauritian delegations will work closely with accelerated efforts to advance the negotiations with the aim to achieving a comprehensive high level and mutually beneficial FTA in the near future.The FTA is expected to be finalised by the end of August this year. It will be signed in Beijing in September 2018 during the Forum on China Africa Cooperation Beijing Summit in the presence of Prime Minister Jugnauth and Chinese President Xi.The first round of negotiations on the Mauritius-China Free Trade Agreement kicked off in April 2018 while the second round was held in June.
- GIS - 14 August, 2018: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade will sign two Memoranda of Understanding namely with the China Foreign Affairs University and China Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China and the Estonian School of Diplomacy of the Republic of Estonia.Cooperation under the two Memoranda of Understanding will be implemented by the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Trade, set up under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs of the Republic of India.The areas of cooperation include exchange of information on the structure and content of the training programmes; working or study visits to share experiences and ideas; the carrying out of coordinated research on subjects in mutually agreed areas; mutual assistance in designing IT-based course content for distance learning; and the organisation of workshops, forums and seminars in areas of interest to both Parties.
- GIS - 13 August, 2018: The Mauritius Prison Service (MPS) will soon start Bio Organic Farming in the Prisons around the island. In this context, the MPS has trained some 12 officers in the various fields pertaining to agriculture with a professional approach so as to grow a culture of self-sufficiency at the MPS.The Commissioner of Prisons, Mr P. Appadoo, announced on Friday 10 August 2018 during a certification ceremony on Guidelines in Organic Production at the Prison Training School in Beau Bassin. The training is a joint initiative of the MPS and the Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (FAREI) with objective for the prison officers to get an understanding of organic production, practices, principles and benefits as well as organic standards, inspection and certification.Mr Appadoo lauded the twelve Prison Officers who have successfully completed the training course in Guidelines to Organic Production. He extended his gratitude to FAREI for their unconditional support which he said dates far back and added that the partnership between the two institutions is gradually strengthening through the different projects the MPS is implementing.The Commissioner of Prisons further pointed out that the MPS has all the resources available in terms of land, manpower and materials and that is why the MPS is encouraging all the Penal Institutions to go towards “ Grow your own be self-sufficient”. He indicated that this year the MPS has harvested around 37 tons of vegetables in its different prisons. Hence, he called on the Prison Officers to implement their acquired technical know-how and expertise on organic farming in their respective institutions.Also present on the occasion, the Chief Executive Officer of FAREI, Mr Seelavarn Ganeshan, spoke of the importance of the agricultural sector in Mauritius. He pointed out that Mauritius heavily depend on the importation of food crops highlighting that the country annually imports more than 75% of food crops. He further lauded the MPS for adopting organic farming and stressed that this initiative will provide the institution with higher quality products.He also expressed his optimism to embark on future projects with the MPS such as in Food Processing and Hydroponics and underlined that FAREI will continue to assist and extend its support to the MPS in the future.On the occasion, the Acting Commissioner of Prisons, Mr Ravin Lugun highlighted that the MPS participated in the first National Productivity and Quality Convention organised by the National Productivity and Competitiveness Council and received a bronze award in the competition. He made a presentation of the project entitled “Self Sufficiency in Egg Production. The project has enabled the MPS to engage in eggs production thereby saving over one million rupees.
- GIS – 13 August, 2018: A programme has been worked to boost the Reunion Island market through a “Maurice sans Passeport” over weekend packages during the period 16 August to 10 October 2018, whereby the visitors would travel on the strength of an Identity Card.The pre-requisites of the programme are as follows: visitors should be residents of Reunion Island and travel from there only; they must spend a minimum of two nights in Mauritius; and they should not engage in any gainful occupation during their stay.Visitors should also meet the usual immigration requirements in terms of return air ticket and insurance cover, sufficient financial means as well as confirmed accommodation arrangements; and they should, on arrival, produce to the Immigration Officer their valid Identity Cards as well as the accommodation voucher issued by the travel agency.
- GIS - 13 August, 2018: Rainfall is expected to be below normal during August and close to normal in September and October. Consequently, accumulated rainfall over Mauritius for winter 2018 is likely to be slightly below normal with a total amount of 575 mm for the period May to October 2018.These weather forecasts for the second half of winter 2018 were highlighted in the updated Winter 2018 Seasonal Outlook prepared by the Mauritius Meteorological Services. It indicates that over the last couple of months, El Nino Southern Oscillation was neutral while other oceanic and atmospheric parameters have changed slightly.RainfallThe Winter Outlook also states that the Central Plateau, the eastern and southern slopes are likely to be wetter than the other regions. As for Rodrigues, near normal rainfall is expected in August and September, and slightly below in October. Overall during winter 2018 normal rainfall is expected over Rodrigues, amounting to 350 mm.TemperatureDay and night temperature is likely to be slightly above normal, both in Mauritius and Rodrigues. It also announces the possibility of cold spells setting in for a few days, especially in August and that minimum temperature may drop to 12 degrees Celsius in Mauritius and around 14 degrees Celsius in Rodrigues during the remaining winter months.First half Winter 2018Moreover, the report highlights that during the first half of winter 2018, temperature at the beginning of the winter season over Mauritius and Rodrigues was above normal with cooler conditions prevailing at the end of June and during the month of July. In Mauritius, rainfall was below normal during May and normal in June and slightly above in July. Rainfall over Rodrigues was below normal in May and above normal in June and July.Features of winter weatherAccording to the Winter 2018 Outlook, winter months in Mauritius and Rodrigues are windier than in summer. It is likely that the trade wind, mainly from the East South East, will blow at an average speed of 20 to 30 km/h. It is also expected that occasionally, the passage of strong anticyclones to the south of the Indian Ocean may strengthen the wind over the Mascarenes.The Outlook also evokes the possibility of the sea to become very rough with heavy swells generated by the combined effect of deep travelling lows and strong anticyclones to the south of the Mascarenes on some occasions. The breaking waves are likely to reach the southern and western shores of Mauritius and Rodrigues and cause temporary inundation of low lying areas.It is also indicated that there is the possibility of having extreme weather events including high intensity rainfall and large variation in temperature are very likely to occur occasionally over Mauritius and Rodrigues, in line with the findings of the fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
- GIS - 10 August, 2018: A two-day validation workshop on the Mauritius Action Plan for the African Union Malabo Commitments at the initiative of the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security in collaboration with the Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (Mauritius Node) hosted by the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Mauritius, opened yesterday at the Mauritius Cane Industry Authority (MCIA) in Réduit.Some 50 participants are attending the workshop to deliberate and come up with recommendations and an Action Plan to meet the objectives of helping Mauritius attain a significant transition into sustainable agricultural development; and to be fully prepared to meet the challenges of food security and safety, with an agriculture well equipped to cope with the additional risks that climate change represents.The deliberations and recommendations as defined in the Action Plan will eventually be presented and validated at the Africa Green Revolution Forum, which will be held in Kigali, Rwanda from 3-7 September 2018. The theme for the Forum is “Lead, Measure, Grow: Enabling new pathways to turn smallholders into future agribusinesses’’. The platform seeks to assist member states of the African Union to improve their performance for the up-coming 2019 Biennial Review of agricultural progress made against the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth.In his address, the Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, highlighted the need for Mauritius to come up with the Action Plan which he added will help the country identify not only its best practices in the agricultural sphere but also the areas where improvements are needed to achieve the aims and targets of the Malabo Declaration.He recalled that the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods was signed and adopted by the African Union in 2014 under which seven commitments have been defined which marked a turning point in the way African states conduct agriculture.He further pointed out that regarding one of the commitment which is ‘Mutual Accountability to Results and Action’, characterised by a biennial review of agricultural progress heralded a process of measuring and reporting on respective countries’ progress. The result of the initial ‘mutual accountability to results and action’ process was the launch of the inaugural Biennial Review Report in Ethiopia, in January 2018 whereby he added Mauritius obtained a score of 5 out of 10 against the 3.94 benchmark score for 2017, indicating that the country is on track with regard to the Malabo commitments.Minister Seeruttun also spoke of Mauritius’ performance within the SADC region and that the country has set a firm foundation for continuous improvement, as well as a source of best practices in the region. This, he added is the outcome of a series of measures adopted by his Ministry to improve the level of food security and food safety and promote more sustainable agriculture among which the implementation of the Mauritius’ Strategic Plan (2016-2020) for the Food Crop, Livestock and Forestry Sectors and other such initiatives being given to farmers, especially women, young graduates and others, to encourage them to engage in agri-business activities.
- GIS - 10 August, 2018: The National Cooperative College (NCC), a first-of-its-kind in Mauritius, will provide training and educational programmes with a view to give a professional edge to the cooperative sector. Government is investing massively to ensure that local existing and aspiring entrepreneurs benefit from necessary tools and resources for the development of competencies in the field of cooperatives.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 yesterday at the inauguration of the NCC at Bois Marchand, Terre-Rouge in presence of the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, other Ministers and eminent personalities.In his keynote address, the Prime Minister highlighted that the NCC, constructed to the tune of some Rs 20 million, will offer structured courses to cooperative societies as well as promote an entrepreneurial attitude for the successful evolution for the sector. According to him, the college will better respond to the expectations of cooperatives and will contribute to further strengthen the sector in the future.Prime Minister Jugnauth pointed out that the cooperative movement in Mauritius earlier centred on the sugarcane industry has today evolved into a diversified sector including livestock, credit unions, transportation, handicraft, finance, agriculture and fisheries amongst others. He reiterated the commitment of Government which is to reinforce cooperatives and encourage them to further harness their enormous potentials while ensuring the protection of the environment.The Prime Minister underlined that around Rs 1 billion has been earmarked for the training of some 12, 000 unemployed people under various programmes. To this end, he emphasised that the training programmes enable unemployed to acquire necessary expertise as well as experience and facilitate the task of Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises in retaining the services of a trained graduate.Moreover, he encouraged enterprises to adopt the Work@Home Scheme for which Government is allowing a double deduction from tax of the wage and salary costs of employees for the first two years and an annual 5% tax credit grant for 3 years on investment in the required IT system. On this score, he called upon women and youth to benefit from the facilities and services that will be provided by the NCC.For his part, the Minister of Business, Enterprises and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, underscored that cooperatives contribute significantly to poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. Government, he emphasised, is determined to give a new impetus to this sector by urging competition, innovation, research and by enabling training as well as capacity building opportunities for co-operators.He recalled that various incentives including the creation of the Cooperative Audit Unit, the Mauritius Cooperative Alliance Limited and the NCC have been put in place, along with the provision of several schemes under the Cooperative Development Fund to further consolidate the sector. He also spoke of the Cooperatives Act 2016 which has been instrumental in eliminating illicit activities in cooperatives as well as promoting transparency and accountability. The establishment of the NCC was part of the amendments brought to the Cooperatives Act 2016, he added.Minister Bholah emphasised that the NCC represents a milestone for the cooperative sector which in turn will help develop skills in the fields of green energy, aquaculture, fisheries and livestock, amongst others. The college, he highlighted, will also collaborate with international institutions to enable training as well as the exchange of other knowledge-based activities. In this regard, discussions between the NCC and the Cooperative College of Malaysia have already been initiated for further collaboration, he underpinned.
- GIS - 10 August, 2018: Mauritius is commemorating the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) Day for the first time as recommended by the Conference of African Ministers, under the theme ‘“Promoting Innovative Universal Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System for Good Governance and Better Lives”.In this context, the Civil Status Division under the Prime Minister’s Office organised this morning a ceremony to mark the CRVS Day at the Emmanuel Anquetil Building, Port Louis. The Chief Guest, Mr Om Kumar Dabidin, Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr William Mario Ayelou, Registrar of the Civil Status Division, and other officials were present.In his address, Mr Dabidin highlighted the importance of civil registration which he underlined is an important aspect of human life. He pointed out that civil registration and vital statistics are essential for modern administrative systems, creating an inclusive society, protecting human rights, ensuring proper delivery of public services and tackling discriminations and inequalities among other related issues.The civil registry, he underscored, provides individuals with essential legal documents required to secure basic human rights to name, identity, nationality and civil rights as well as access to basic social services. A birth registration certificate, as a legal document with the proof of age, helps to prevent violations of child rights, including child marriage, child labour and trafficking and the use of child soldiers, particularly in emergencies, he stated.According to the Permanent Secretary, civil registration integrated with national ID management system ensures the financial inclusion of citizens, particularly women and the poor, to have access to microfinance as well as using modern banking services for transfers and collection of payments and inheritance cases. These interventions by national governments, he added, are tenets of good governance that lead to inclusive development and better lives of the society.Mr Dabidin underpinned the need for reliable, timely and disaggregated vital statistics from a well-functioning civil registration system which are instrumental for monitoring the progress on several targets of the Agenda 2030 and the Agenda 2063 that are related to health, food-security, clean water, education, migration and gender. Without a continuous supply of reliable data on vital events from a well-functioning and universal civil registration system national, regional and global development targets cannot be measured and monitored properly, he added.Furthermore, he highlighted Government’s commitment to modernise such vital services adding that it is important to innovate and use latest technologies. According to him, investment in innovative, appropriate and affordable IT support has a great potential for efficient coordination and data interoperability, safe data handling, privacy and data quality verification system. He also pointed out that Mauritius is a model on the African continent and is viewed with high respect internationally as regards its civil registration service.For his part, the Registrar of the Civil Status Division, Mr Ayelou, recalled that the Civil Status Division dates back to the 18th century and is an archive of citizens’ events with Mauritius having the oldest civil registration in the world. He underlined the commitment of Government to transform the Division into a modern and leading organisation. As such, several initiatives have been taken to help the Division grow and meet challenges.They include: the implementation of Info-Highway project which aims to provide a robust service platform to facilitate the consumption of published data among Government agencies and private entities to improve operation efficiency in public administration and business operations; issuing of Overseas Citizen of India Cards; ISO certification of all the offices under the Civil Status Division; construction of a Marriage Hall at the Emmanuel Anquetil building to the tune of Rs 7,3 million; revamping of IT system of the Division to the tune of Rs 17 million; and birth and death capture exercise to restore its archives.Mr Ayelou also announced that in a bid to familiarise the population with the different services provided by the Civil Status Division, Open Days will soon be organised. He recalled that the Division comprises 33 Civil Status Offices including two in Rodrigues and one in Agalega.The ceremony was also marked by the unveiling of a Commemorative Shield by the Permanent Secretary of the PMO and the Registrar of the Civil Status Division.African CRVS DayAfrican CRVS day will be celebrated every year on the 10th of August to increase public awareness of the importance of making everyone visible in Africa through a well-functioning civil registration and vital statistics system covering the entire population and all vital events occurring in a country. It is important to have in place appropriate national legal framework, IT infrastructure and innovative business process improvement to make the CRVS system responsive to public demands by improving accessibility and quality of civil registration and related services.