While the Mauritius Export Association (MEXA) paints a gloomy picture and forecasts a drop in exports for 2024, the Minister of Finance, Renganaden Padayachy, is more optimistic. It estimates that exports are expected to increase by 4.6% this year to reach Rs 363 billion. He participated in the 18th General Assembly of MEXA on Wednesday April 24 in Port-Louis.

The current year is unlikely to bring a major boost to export growth. This was indicated by Dominique de Froberville, re-elected to the presidency for a second term. Indeed, MEXA recently held its first biannual screening. “Our market survey for the first half of 2024 forecasts an 8.4% decline in exports, with indications pointing to a continuation of this trend in the second half of the year,” he noted. Thus, it is of the view that 2024 could witness negative growth due to various internal and external factors, including escalating electricity and labor costs, as well as significant price increases raw materials linked to geopolitical tensions, among others.

However, the Minister of Finance is confident about the growth of the sector. “The manufacturing sector and the goods export sector have been driving forces in our post-Covid reconstruction and will be called upon to play a major role in achieving our medium and long-term ambition,” he said. He said that last year, total exports of goods and services accounted for 53% of GDP. “On this trajectory, exports of goods and services should further increase by 4.6% this year to reach Rs 363 billion,” he maintained. Whether creating jobs or boosting economic activity, Renganaden Padayachy argued that local exporters are leading the way. “In doing so, the sector strengthens the economic resilience of the country as a whole and meets the demand for the workforce we need to continue to thrive in the interconnected world,” he noted.

Furthermore, the minister stressed that the government will listen to the sector to create the right environment for its success, whether in terms of labor recruitment or international expansion. “To do this, we will continue to adopt a transversal approach, working with partners from different ministries and private sector organizations, as well as with industry bodies. This will help businesses, from start-ups to multinationals, maximize their export potential,” he said.

Ministry of Finance forecasts for 2024

GDP growth of 6.5%
Unemployment rate below 6%
Public debt below 75%

In numbers

Rs 1.6 billion. This is the amount that the government has paid to manufacturing companies since 2015 through various support programs and initiatives.

Rs 5 billion… are available from the Industrial Finance Corporation of Mauritius (IFCM), via the Modernization and Transformation Fund, to enable companies to upgrade their production processes as well as facilitate their cash flow.

Rs 4,000. This is the support that manufacturing companies have benefited from per employee since the start of the year in order to cope with the increase in the minimum wage and salary compensation in 2024.

Naveena Ramyad, Minister of Business and SMEs: “the contraction of exports in 2023 should not be considered a discouraging factor”

Present at the General Assembly, the Minister of Business and SMEs indicated that the export sector remains the pillar of the manufacturing industry with more than 230 operators, employing more than 30,000 workers. “Exports have been estimated at a value of Rs 47.4 billion in 2023,” she said. However, Naveena Ramyad lamented that the sector was unable to maintain its growth momentum of 2022, with exports having declined by around 5% in 2023. For her, the contraction in exports observed in 2023 should not be considered as a discouraging factor, as she believes that the macroeconomic conditions prevailing in our export markets were not favorable. “The situation in our export destinations is expected to improve this year, according to the latest forecasts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which certainly allows us to look to the future with renewed optimism,” she said. declared. Furthermore, she made it clear that her ministry has developed a “Comprehensive Paper” which was submitted to the Ministry of Finance to be considered within the framework of the 2024/2025 Budget.

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