Mauritius PM: Island on track to embrace bigger economy and higher income
Mauritius is seeing a higher and higher probability of discovering minerals and hydrocarbons deposits in its marine territory’s seabed, said Navin Ramgoolam (Image: PRI)
After nearly a decade of robust reform that has gradually taken the economy from the phase of dependence on preferential market access to global competitiveness, Mauritius is now resolutely embarked upon a transformation agenda underpinned by three objectives: high income, inclusiveness, and sustainability.
Mauritius Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam made this statement on Friday 27 June, 2014, at the annual dinner of the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) at the Intercontinental Resort at Balaclava.
“We must ensure that a bigger economy and higher income bring about inclusive growth, social equality, further reduction in poverty, and provide a better quality of life to all our citizens,” he said.
With regard to the ocean economy, a new pillar that Mauritius wants to develop, Ramgoolam has underlined the need to intensify efforts to create new productive activities in the island economy’s vast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Thus, on that score, the government will encourage prospecting of minerals and hydrocarbons in the EEZ.
“We are doing that not just because we want to dare to make a difference, but also because we are seeing a higher and higher probability of discovering such deposits in our marine territory’s seabed,” he said.
Furthermore, Mauritius will expand its economic horizons by investing in the new generation of clusters that are currently shaping the economies of the world, namely biotechnology, information and communication technology and the green economy.
Besides, the Prime Minister noted that an Investment Project Fast-track Committee has been set up to accelerate the implementation of large investment projects, expedite the processing of permits and clearances, advise on policy matters and provide institutional coordination.
The committee has already reviewed 20 projects with the relevant ministries and authorities, he observed.
He, furthermore, expressed his satisfaction that the alleviation of regulatory and administrative constraints has significantly improved investment prospects with projects worth Rs 30 billion having already been considered by the committee while other projects to the tune of Rs 20 billion are now being examined.
Concerning the Light Rail Transport project, Ramgoolam said that this mega project cannot be expected to materialize overnight.
However, it is well on its way to become reality, he stated, adding that mobilizing such a substantial amount of finance in a relatively short period of time will be an unprecedented challenge that is bound to put pressure on public finances.
In that context, the Mauritius Infrastructure Fund – with innovative financing mechanisms to minimize the financial involvement of the government – has been set up.
“We hope that the private sector will seize that opportunity and invest to create the infrastructure of the future,” said the Prime Minister.
“There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind of my determination to steer the destiny of our country on the highway of modernization whether in terms of governance or human capital, our physical infrastructure, or institutional architecture,” he concluded.