Mauritius and India signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Monday in Port Louis to finalise the grant assistance to the tune of Rs 12.7 billion allocated by the Government of India for priority development projects in Mauritius.
The signatories were the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Jugnauth, and the High Commissioner of India, Mr Abhay Thakur. The Government of India agreed to provide grant funding to the Mauritian Government during the visit of the Finance Minister Pravind Jugnauth, to India in September this year during which India responded positively and promptly in disbursing funds for several projects in Mauritius.
The Rs 12.7 billion in the form of grants will be used to finance the following five major projects:
- Rs 9.9 billion for the Metro Express project;
- Rs 1.1 billion for a new Supreme Court building;
- Rs 500 million for the provision of tablets to primary students;
- Rs 700 million for the construction of some 1,000 social housing units; and
- Rs 500 million for a state-of-the–art ENT hospital.
A sum of Rs 9.9 billion has been earmarked for the Metro Express project.
These projects, which are considered crucial for the socio-economic development of Mauritius, encompass various sectors of the economy such as public transportation, education, health care, social housing and the judiciary.
In his address, Minister Jugnauth expressed gratitude to the Indian Government for its continuous and unflinching support to Mauritius. He emphasised the cordial and friendly relationships between Mauritius and India adding that the MoU further strengthens the cooperation bonds.
The funding, which will be used for various projects, will be beneficial to the entire population including families living in poverty, said Mr Jugnauth. “Children will be able to get an early start in the digital economy and society. Employment opportunities for construction workers and other job seekers will be possible owing to the vast infrastructure investment works throughout the country.”
Mr Pravind Jugnauth, also stressed the importance of concluding a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Partnership Agreement (CEPCA) with India which he said is a topmost priority in strengthening trade and investment policies as well as cementing economic ties between the two countries.
To this effect, Mauritius made several proposals namely: (i) the setting up of a Mauritius-India Infrastructure Development Fund for the mutual benefit of both countries and for investment in the region; (ii) a Triangular Cooperation involving India-Mauritius-Africa to enable both India and Mauritius to tap new markets and promote greater cross border investments in Africa and India being a key partner in our New Africa Strategy; (iii) promote a greater participation of Indian businesses and investors in the upgrading of our education and health sectors, public utilities, air and sea connectivity, land transport system and telecommunication services; (iv) support value-addition investment in the ICT sector- and in creating a digital economy and society; (v) give a fillip to the emerging Mauritian Film Industry; and (vi) assist in the setting up of the Pharmaceutical village which will cater for local as well as African markets.
The High Commissioner of India, Mr Abhay Thakur, spoke of the deep mutual relations of trust and friendship between India and Mauritius while underpinning India’s continuous support both in terms of financial and technical assistance to Mauritius. He reiterated the firm commitment of the Indian Government towards the realisation of the projects through the signing of the MoU.
The High Commissioner also announced the visit of an Indian business delegation to Mauritius in December to finalise the CEPCA among others and reassured Mauritius that no other countries have received the special consideration with regards the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement between India and Mauritius.
India is also providing a grant of USD 4 million and a line of credit of USD 52.3 million to finance the Trident Project to upgrade facilities for maritime operations and surveillance by the National Coast Guard in our fight against drug trafficking in the Indian Ocean.
Mauritius is also seeking the assistance of India for a grant of USD $ 200 million for the implementation of several port-related projects, which may include an Oil Jetty at Albion; an Aviation Fuel Pipeline from the port to the airport; a joint petroleum storage project at Albion; and a breakwater in the port to house a marina. It will be recalled that India has registered a rise of 30% with regards FDI flows from Mauritius for the period April to September 2016 amounting to US $ 5.85 billion followed by Singapore, Japan, the Netherlands and the US.
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