MoU: Mauritius and Singapore renew collaboration
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the renewal of collaboration between Mauritius and the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) for a period of 36 months was signed this morning at the Treasury Building in Port Louis. The signatories for the Mauritian side was the Secretary to Cabinet and Head of Civil Service, Mr N. K. Ballah, and for the Singaporean side the Chief Executive Officer of SCE, Mr Kong Wy Mun.
The Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, and Minister of Finance and Economic Development , Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, and the Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, Mr N. Bodha, were also present. The signature of the MoU lies in the context of the visit of the Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies of Singapore, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, to Mauritius.
The MoU, which has been renewed till April 2020, was signed in October 2008 and renewed in July 2014 for 36 months. The objective is to provide a wide scope of collaboration between various Singaporean agencies and Mauritius in the fields of infrastructure planning, public security, renewable energy, water management, and Civil service and parastatal reforms, amongst others.
Presentation of Metro Express Project
The signing of the MoU was followed by a presentation of the Metro Express project. The Government of Mauritius has engaged SCE for transaction advisory and management services and for the potential implementation of the project.
The Metro Express, which will span over 26 km from Curepipe to Port Louis, will comprise 19 rail stations as well as integrated bus interchanges. The project aims to: reduce traffic congestion, encourage public transport use, upgrade quality of public transport, ease mobility within urban areas, improve the image of Mauritius, stimulate inward investment, support economic development, develop industries and job creation, create opportunities for future expansion, and improve residential amenity.
In his address the Prime Minister reaffirmed Government’s commitment to deliver world class sustainable transportation solutions for Mauritius. Speaking about the Metro Express project, he said that the service should be affordable and viable while adding that it is important to take into consideration future maintenance costs. He pointed out that Singapore, which has a great experience in the light rail system, will help Mauritius to find sustainable solutions to address this issue.
Mr Jugnauth recalled that Mauritius is inspired by the success of Singapore in many sectors while stressing the need to tap into their experience and learn from their mistakes. He also added that the bilateral cooperation between Mauritius and Singapore is strengthening.
During the visit of the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore to Mauritius, several topics have been discussed namely the Chagos issue, security, triangular cooperation between Africa, Mauritius and Singapore, and the Civil Service reform, amongst others.
For his part, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies of Singapore, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, said that Mauritius needs to take into consideration transport charges in the implementation of the Metro Express project. Maintenance costs and running of the system, revision of charges, and reinvestment are other important factors which need to be addressed, he said.
Referring to Singapore, he said that the Public Transport Council (PTC) comprising independent persons has been set up to look objectively at costs, productivity and regular fee revisions. The PTC, established in 1987, regulates public transport fares and ticket payment services. It also undertakes the role of an advisor to the Minister for Transport on public transport matters.
Mr T. Shanmugaratnam further added that both Mauritius and Singapore are small countries but the areas of collaboration is vast ranging from the National Identity Card project, education, security, to Civil service, and Metro Express project.