Mauritius: Launch of a new cooperative business center in Rivière du Rempart
A Cooperative Business Center (CCE) was launched this morning, after a restructuring exercise of an existing Regional Cooperative Center (CCR), at the Building of the Center for Services to Farmers, in Rivière du Rempart.
The Minister of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives, Mr. Soomilduth Bholah; the Minister for Gender Equality and Family Welfare, Mrs. Kalpana Devi Koonjoo-Shah; Private Parliamentary Secretary, Mr. Rajanah Dhaliah; and other personalities were present for the occasion.
In his opening speech, Minister Bholah recalled that cooperative societies had existed for 108 years in Mauritius, with the first company registered in the sugar sector in 1913. “The objective, he said, was to bring producers together to have better access to finance.” He also pointed out that to date there are around 800 to 900 cooperative societies active in different sectors of the economy.
In addition, Mr. Bholah pointed out that amendments have been made to the legislations and the 2016 law on cooperatives has been passed. “The assistance of the Office of Public Sector Governance has also been sought in reviewing the services offered by the RCCs with the aim of maintaining momentum, promoting the best use of resources and introducing efficiency and innovation in the sector,” he said.
The Minister stressed that this launch is part of the first phase of the reengineering of the Directorate of Cooperatives where the existing twelve RCCs will be restructured and transformed into five CBCs. As such, he indicated that the CBCs would be established in five strategic areas, namely Rivière du Rempart, Port-Louis, St Pierre, Henrietta and Rose-Belle, and would serve as a one-stop shop for cooperative societies.
The Minister pointed out that the restructuring of the RCCs and the establishment of the CBCs did not result in the reduction of existing employees but provided better infrastructure, logistics and environment for the employees. On this note, Mr. Bholah reiterated that the future of cooperatives will always be firmly anchored in the development of the country.
For her part, Minister Koonjoo-Shah stressed that women are the pillars of society and have the potential to become entrepreneurs. “These CBCs,” she pointed out, “will instill the right business culture in potential women entrepreneurs and help existing ones advance in the field of entrepreneurship.” “They will be able to develop a sense of autonomy and become economically independent by setting up their own business,” the minister added.
In addition, Ms. Koonjoo-Shah emphasized that her ministry is committed to the advancement and economic empowerment of women, as well as encouraging the development and growth of female entrepreneurs. To this end, she pointed out that the National Women Entrepreneurs Council (NWEC) acts as a facilitator by providing trainings and organizing sensitization programs and workshops for women to improve their skills. She said that more than 1,000 women were enrolled in NWEC and benefited from several facilities to become self-reliant.
“The government,” Ms. Koonjoo-Shah pointed out, “has also provided in the 2021-2022 budget that loans can be granted to women entrepreneurs at a concessional rate of 0.5% per annum to stimulate economic empowerment and women’s entrepreneurship.
As for Mr. Dhaliah, he urged entrepreneurs and cooperative societies to take advantage of the facilities provided for the successful development of their businesses by the Ministry of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives, as the cooperative sector needs to reorganize and reposition itself so that it could keep pace with the challenges of the competitive business environment. “The ministry,” he said, “has made several incentives available to cooperative societies that aim to increase their business profits and expand their entrepreneurial range through better utilization of products and facilities.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Republic of Mauritius.
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