Prime Minister holds Press Conference on his State Visit to India
In a Press Conference held at the Treasury Building, in Port Louis, this afternoon, the Prime Minister, Honourable Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, gave the following details in regard to his recent State Visit to
A number of meetings and Courtesy calls were held on the high dignitaries of India. The Prime Minister met with Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, followed by Sri Pranab Mukherjee, President of India, Sri Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Vice President of India, Shri Raj Nath Singh, Minister of Home Affairs (Number 2 in Indian Government), Shrimati Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs, Shri Suresh Prabhakur Prabhu, Minister of Railways, Shri Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs and Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas.
Meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi
The highlight of the visit was the meeting with Shri Narendra Modi held at Hyderabad House in New Delhi. The discussions centred on bilateral issues and matters of international importance.
The implementation of projects being financed from Indian grants were reviewed, namely:
(i) Metro Express;
(ii) New Supreme Court Tower;
(iii) The New ENT Hospital;
(iv) Social Housing Projects;
(v) Digital tablets for school children; and
(vi) The construction of the Headquarters of National Coast Guard, which is financed by a grant of US Dollar 4 million and partly from the Indian Line of credit
Matters concerning the Double Taxation Treaty and the CECPA were also reviewed.
Discussions also centred around the Chagos Issue. Prime Minister Modi reassured Mauritius of the full support of the Government of India in all our initiatives for the UK to recognize the sovereignty of Mauritius over Chagos Archipelago.
Another issue of extreme importance was maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region and our Exclusive Zone, especially to combat illegal fishing, drug trafficking, piracy and counter terrorism etc.
The Government of India has agreed to construct at its own cost a runway and a jetty along with associated amenities in Agalega.
The Prime Minister mentioned the difficulties encountered to communicate with Agalega and to convey food items, goods, medicines and other emergency repatriations during medical urgencies. He added that it has been the vision of the Government of Mauritius to develop other economic potentials of Agalega, for which basic infrastructural facilities are indispensable.
The Prime Minister stated that the proposal of India to provide such facilities at Agalega is praiseworthy and we should thank the Government of India for helping us develop these facilities at no cost to the people of Mauritius, while great benefits would accrue to the inhabitants of Agalega.
In this context he added, an Agreement with the Indian Government for the development of infrastructural projects at Agalega was signed.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
The following MOUs were signed for:
(i) The construction of the college of Civil Service Mauritius, for the training of our civil servants, with a grant of USD 4.74 million, which is nearly MUR 170 Million.
(ii) Long term collaboration in education, training and research in various sciences and technology between the Mauritius Oceanography Institute and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India and National Institute of India.
(iii) The International Solar Alliance Agreement was signed, which isin line with a personal initiative of Shri Modi along with the former President of France to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. On the same day, Mauritius also signed and handed over the Instrument of Ratification to the Indian Authorities.
Line of credit - SBM-SPV
SBM Group has set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) – SBM Mauritius Infrastructure Development Company Ltd – which will act as the channel between EXIM Bank and Mauritian public sector entities which will execute infrastructure projects in Mauritius.
The government negotiated for a special line of credit of USD 500 Million, which converts to around MUR 18 billion at an average exchange rate of MUR 36 per US Dollar. It is worth to note that this Line of Credit is over and above the MUR 12,7 billion grant obtained by Mauritius from India last year. The total sum of financial assistance from India is hence around MUR 30 billion.
The interest rate for the Line of Credit of USD 500 million is a fixed rate for 20 years at 1.8 percent per annum. It is worthwhile to point out that this interest is lower than the rate for previous Line of Credits from India.
The repayment period is 20 years with a special moratorium of 7 years for capital repayment and 4 years for interest payment. This grace period is exceptional and probably the first time ever that Mauritius is benefiting from such favourable terms for the grace period.
The projects to be financed from the financial support from India will be announced in the Budget Speech.
After discussion with the Indian Authorities, the Government of India has agreed to EXIM Bank providing the line of credit of US Dollar 500 million to SMB Mauritius Infrastructure Development Co Ltd.
The public can be assured that this mechanism of using Redeemable Preference Shares to public sector entities has been set up purposely so that it does not have any negative impact on the public debt figure.
Meeting with the Indian Business Community
The Prime Minister responded positively to a request of the Confederation of Indian Industry, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India to meet the business community leaders of India.
The Prime Minister addressed them on the business and investment opportunities opening up for them and the possibility of using Mauritius as a platform towards business and investment in Africa. He also met the business community leaders of India on a one to one basis.
Meeting with India Foundation
The Prime Minister also responded positively to an invitation extended to him by the India Foundation. He addressed an audience comprising of intellectuals and decision makers, in the presence, among others, of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Minister of Railways and the Minister of IT, Law and Justice, as well as Members of Parliament. The Prime Minister’s speech focused on international challenges and opportunities for business and innovation at global level.
Victims of Super Cash Back Gold and Bramer Assets Ltd
Prior to the State Visit, the Prime Minister stated that he would seek the financial assistance of the Indian authorities in order to be able to pay the victims of the SCBG and BAL.
Meanwhile, after examining the various options, he came to the conclusion that government would be able to come up with a concrete proposal accordingly. There was thus no need to seek the assistance of the Indian authorities
Referring to his previous meeting with the Policyholders of SCBG, when he indicated that on his return from India he would make certain proposals within a month, the Prime Minister stated that he will do so in due course.
The Prime Minister reiterated that his visit to India was historical and our country will benefit immensely – today and in the future – from the significant support we have obtained.