GIS – 10 May 2019: The Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, met, yesterday afternoon, key stakeholders of the Agro Industry sector (small planters/livestock and fisheries/cooperatives societies) in the context of the fourth Pre-Budget consultations for Budget 2019-2020, in the Lunch Room of the National Assembly, in Port Louis.
The Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection, Mr Ashit Kumar Gungah, the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, and the Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Premdut Koonjoo, were present.
Stakeholders of the sugar sector, the vegetables/fruits and tea sectors; the livestock sector; and the fisheries sector gave an overview of the constraints faced in their business activities and made proposals as well as suggestions so that the forthcoming Budget tailors to their needs.
During the consultations, several proposals were made by small planters including an increase in the revenue per ton of sugar to the amount of Rs 2 500; exemption for planters producing up to 80 tons of sugar; and, exploration of new markets for sugar. Vegetable planters spoke about the provision of loans from the Development Bank of Mauritius to boost their activities. As for the cooperatives of pig breeders, they highlighted the need for adequate water facilities and drainage system for their breeding purposes.
Furthermore, representatives of the fishermen's union made several proposals, which included: introduction of a pension scheme for old fishermen who wish to retire; loans contracted by fishermen for deep-sea fishing to be crossed off; equipment for tuna-fishing; and, the establishment of a committee to address the problems affecting fishermen.
In a statement to the press, Prime Minister Jugnauth acknowledged that the sugar cane sector is facing a difficult situation especially after the fall in the price of sugar on the European market. He reassured the stakeholders present that the proposals will be studied adding that Government will do its best to cater to their requirements.
The Prime Minister stated that Government is committed in its endeavours to provide support to local producers. Since the world has become a global village, there are no more barriers as trade flows freely and smoothly, he underlined. Therefore, he added, Mauritius has to follow the norms established by the World Trade Organisation which aims at promoting Free Trade.