Public & private sector must unite towards a prosperous society: Mauritius PM
Inaugurating Omnicane’s bioethanol distillery, the Prime Minister stated that “the fully integrated state-of-the-art industrial cluster is a measure of the efforts of Omnicane to ensure the long-term viability and sustainability of the sugar cane industry.” (Image: African Business Review)
Mauritius Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam stated that the public and private sector must unite to ensure a brighter future for the island economy.
“The national interest transcends all other interests and the government is committed to work with the private sector and all partners, whether large or small, so that the country emerges a winner and we jointly build a prosperous society,” he said.
He was speaking at the official inauguration of sugar major Omnicane’s bioethanol distillery, and his comments gain added significance in view of the transition of the sugar industry towards high-value added products, with the imminent abolition of the EU sugar quota in 2017.
With a production capacity of 24 million litres of bioethanol annually which will be entirely exported, the bioethanol distillery, inaugurated on Tuesday July 08, 2014, at La Baraque, L’Escalier, is part of Omnicane’s flexi-factory complex.
The complex comprises a refinery, a sugar mill, bagasse-cum-coal cogeneration power plant and a bioethanol distillery.
Speaking of the impressive progress realised since the inauguration of the flexi-factory five years ago, the Prime Minister stated that “the fully integrated state-of-the-art industrial cluster is a measure of the efforts of Omnicane to ensure the long-term viability and sustainability of the sugar cane industry.”
“In the face of particularly daunting challenges, this complex, with a focus on high value-added products such as refined and special sugars, energy and ethanol and eying production of cement additives and even fertilisers from vinasse, shows an unflinching commitment towards the transformation of the sugar cane sector,” he said.
Incidentally, vinasse is a by-product of sugarcane, which looks similar to molasses. Commercially offered vinasse comes either from sugar cane and is called cane-vinasse or from sugar beet and is called beet-vinasse.
The Prime Minister also commended Omnicane for the proactive and innovative initiative they have taken to seek new markets by undertaking strategic alliances, such as their partnership with Real Good Food, one of UK’s most diversified food groups.
“The right strategic partnerships, new technologies, and research constitute the pillars of success, which Omnicane has managed to harness,” he added.
According to the Prime Minister, the framework for the flexi-factory complex is embedded in the multi-annual adaptation strategy, approved by the government and the European Union (EU), whose underlying philosophy is bold and deep reform.
He also spoke of the long and productive exchange of views he had with EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs and Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
This was in context of the 4th EU-Africa Summit in Brussels, where discussions also took place on additional accompanying measures to mitigate the impact of liberalisation of EU country quotas on sugar prices.
While expressing his gratitude to the EU and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) for their assistance, especially during this critical phase for the sugar industry, the Prime Minister called for a different treatment for Mauritius as probably the only country in the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) that has achieved its targets on time.
Ramgoolam also professed his appreciation of all stakeholders in the sugar industry who are working in close partnership, and local entrepreneurs who have managed to stay the course despite the global financial crisis.
Finally, he stated that he would continue to foster closer collaboration between government and the productive and progressive entrepreneurs in the private sector.
Omnicane was launched in July 2009 through a strategic re-branding of Mon-Trésor-Mon-Désert Ltd, a long established sugar group in Mauritius whose origins can be traced back to the 1850s.
Omnicane Group is currently involved in electric power generation in two units namely Omnicane Thermal Energy Operations (Saint Aubin) Limited and Omnicane Thermal Energy Operations (La Baraque) Limited.