E. ECONOMIC DEMOCRATISATION
271. The Economic Democratisation is the lynchpin of this Government’s Programme.
272. Economic Democratisation is about building a better Mauritius for the many and not just for the few.
273. Having the power, the Government has the duty to provide equal opportunities for all.
274. In recent years the Government have done all we can to empower Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Our effective action has received national and international acclaim.
275. This year the Government is going even further.
276. In 2012, Government procured 6 per cent of its goods and services from SMEs. It is announced that by the end of 2013, Government will have almost doubled its procurement from SMEs to an estimated 11 per cent of all goods and services.
277. The increase in procurement from SMEs is due to the effective actions taken in our last two budgets.
278. It is this Government’s firm intention that the percentage of Government procurement from SMEs be increased to 20 per cent within the next three years.
279. As to the deep reforms continue to bite, the Government will expand the support as follows:
· The Ministry of Public Infrastructure, National Development Unit, Land Transport and Shipping will henceforth, unbundle contracts given on a district wise basis to ensure that a larger number of SMEs are appointed. This is a long standing request from SMEs that is now effectively addressed.
· The number of zones in rates contracts for maintenance and upgrading of roads, drains and civil works will be increased and the contracts will be reclassified into specific categories of works.
· Standard bidding documents will be simplified from 15 pages to only one page for goods and services and to two pages for small works contracts.
· The Public Procurement Office will hold a series of courses targeted to SMEs to help them understand and take part in Government procurement.
280. The Ministry of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives will organize a National Inclusive Business Award to recognize efforts by large businesses to support SMEs.
281. An online presence can significantly enhance the visibility and revenue of a business.
282. SMEs have been crying out for visibility and this measure will put them firmly in the spotlight.
283. It is this Government’s intention that in 2014, all SMEs in Mauritius should have an online presence.
284. Government will therefore provide a free basic website to all SMEs.
285. More elaborate websites costing up to Rs 6,000 will be given a subsidy of 50 per cent.
286. These websites will be provided through the Ebene and Port Louis Accelerators.
Overseas Marketing Missions
287. Following last year’s success, the Government is maintaining the refund scheme to SMEs of Rs 200,000 per annum for participation in international fairs. This will cost a further Rs 50 million for 2014.
SME Financing Scheme
288. The SME Financing Guarantee Scheme which the Government introduced in December 2011 has exceeded expectations. In less than 2 years, close to 2,000 applications have been approved for an amount of Rs 2.5 billion.
289. Building on this success, the Government have once more secured the cooperation of the commercial banks which will commit an additional Rs 2 billion to extend the scheme up to 2016.
Loans to MSMEs without guarantee
290. Small enterprises with annual turnover of less than Rs 10 million generally cannot access finance because of lack of collateral.
291. The Government pleased to announce that a new loan guarantee scheme will be introduced for small enterprises. This will remove the need for them to provide collateral and third party guarantees.
292. Instead, Government will guarantee these loans directly to commercial banks up to 70 per cent of any amount of loss incurred.
293. With this measure the Government will be channeling an additional Rs 750 million of loans to small enterprises without the need for collateral for the next 3 years.
294. In addition, Government will continue supporting the competitiveness of SMEs with a
further series of measures:
· Rs 80 million is earmarked for the Mauritius Business Growth Scheme (MBGS).
· Government is injecting Rs 70 million in the SME Factoring Scheme for 2014 and the scheme will be extended to planters.
· NPCC will provide training to 500 SMEs on productivity improvement in 2014, organise high level motivational talks and a National Productivity Award.
295. SMEs have often requested additional space. In 2013, 55 new industrial units have been delivered to SMEs. Businesses using these units receive a 50 per cent subsidy on rent for the first three years.
296. As a result of the popularity of this measure, two more SME parks are under construction at Solitude and Plaine Magnien at a cost of Rs 200 million. These will provide industrial spaces to 80 more SMEs.
297. Our Government is transforming Mauritius into a nation of owners and not just earners.
298. Measures taken in my last three Budgets amount to nothing less than a Marshall Plan for SMEs.
F. BUILDING ON THE STRENGTHS OF OUR PEOPLE
299. Human capital can be a high-impact accelerator to economic growth and social well-being.
300. The Government are allocating Rs 14.8 billion to the education sector as a whole; an increase of 11.2 per cent over the amount spent this year.
301. The motivation is clear.
302. A Smarter Mauritius means a Better Mauritius.
303. This Budget introduces measures that will inspire learning from the cradle and throughout our citizens’ lives.