“Despite the difficulties faced since the worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, figures for the Export Oriented Enterprises sector for calendar year 2021 show that Mauritius still remains a reliable source market for several countries.”
The Minister of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, made this statement, today, during a press conference in Port Louis on the performance of the Export Oriented Enterprises (EOE) sector. Prior to the press conference, the Minister had a working session with representatives of the Mauritius Export Association, SME Mauritius, Business Mauritius and the Economic Development Board, among others.
Minister Bholah highlighted that in 2021, the EOE sector contributed about 4.4% to Gross Value Added and it accounted for around 70% of total exports, excluding sugar. He pointed out that as at September 2021, the EOE sector comprised 234 enterprises and provided employment to 35,647 workers, including 15,525 expatriates. “Over the period January to December 2021”, he observed, “the EOE exports stood at around Rs 42.66 billion as compared to some Rs 37.29 billion during the corresponding period in 2020, representing an increase of 14.4%”.
He underlined that this rise was mainly attributed to: a relative upturn in export orders from the country’s traditional markets as compared to the previous corresponding period; the gradual economic recovery in the country’s main markets (United Kingdom, France and South Africa); the positive impact of support schemes such as the Freight Rebate Scheme and the Support for Trade Promotion and Marketing Scheme, which had enhanced export competitiveness; and the extensive use of export promotional activities such as participation in the Intra-Africa Trade Fair and virtual trade shows in the fashion field with USA and South Africa, among others.
Furthermore, Minister Bholah indicated that as per the International Monetary Fund’s ‘World Economic Outlook, January 2022’, the global economy growth for 2021 was 5.9% in 2021 and would be at 4.4% for 2022. He also underscored that, according to the International Monetary Fund, a combination of external factors such as geopolitical tensions, supply chain disruptions, high inflation rates, volatility in energy prices coupled with the emergence of COVID-19 new variants, may result in a weaker global economic growth than was expected for year 2022.
“Additionally,” he outlined, “one of the factors which have contributed to the positive performance of the EOE sector is that the majority of its employees were already vaccinated to ensure their safety and to avoid any disruption in the production line”. “This has ultimately enabled local enterprises to meet their export orders successfully and earn foreign exchange,” he added.