Mauritius bullish on Africa; starts freight subsidy scheme for exports
The scheme, announced under Budget 2014, consists of a 25% refund of freight cost per 20-feet container exported by Mauritian enterprises to other countries in Africa, except South Africa and Madagascar, up to a maximum of $300 from 1 June 2014. (Image: Compete Africa)
The start of the month saw Mauritius introduce a Freight Subsidy Scheme for exports to Africa, as the island economy becomes bullish on the African continent.
The scheme, announced under Budget 2014, consists of a 25% refund of freight cost per 20-feet container exported by Mauritian enterprises to other countries in Africa, except South Africa and Madagascar, up to a maximum of $300 from 1 June 2014.
All exporters of goods produced and manufactured in Mauritius as well as free port operators exporting goods locally manufactured or goods manufactured in the free port zones are eligible for the refund.
Enterprise Mauritius, the island’s premier export promotion institute, said that the scheme would apply to Mombasa (Kenya), Dares salaam (Tanzania), Beira (Mozambique) via Madagascar, Comoros (Moroni) and Victoria (Seychelles).
The categories of goods eligible for subsidy include those that are wholly grown or produced in Mauritius, exported under a certificate of origin by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), COMESA or SADC and all other goods exported that have been locally manufactured or produced in Mauritius, including those manufactured or processed in a free port zone, wholly or partially from imported materials by a process of manufacture or production.
Dev Chamroo, CEO, Enterprise Mauritius aid the measure would boost exports of Mauritian goods to the African continent, as it will make Mauritian products more competitive since the landing costs to the African ports will be reduced.
Moreover, he added, the government will provide a 50% subsidy on the cost of Credit Guarantee Insurance for exports to Africa to give assurance to companies when exporting to unfamiliar markets, and the scheme may even lead to an increase in the number of companies willing to trade in Africa.
The scheme is operated by insurance companies and brokers, he noted.
He also recalled the setting up of the Mauritius-Africa Fund to which $17 million have been allocated over 5 years to participate in the equity financing of businesses investing in viable projects in any African country.
Chamroo noted that export activities from Mauritius have strengthened in the first four months of 2014 and are expected to improve further in the coming months.
“’While total exports grew by 6% in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the same period last year, exports of Export Oriented Enterprises registered a growth of 5% for the period January to April 2014, compared to the 2.1% increase for January to March 2014,” he said.
The increase has come mainly from the textiles, jewellery and seafood sectors.
The performing markets remain the United States (29%), France (15.4%), Belgium (26.5%), Italy (14.3%), while exports to the United Kingdom declined by 16.4% and South Africa by 20.7%.
Source: PANA Press