Mauritius has introduced a Freight Subsidy Scheme for exports to Africa that consists of a 25 per cent refund of freight cost per 20-feet container exported by Mauritian enterprises to other countries in Africa, except South Africa and Madagascar, up to a maximum of US$300 from 1 June 2014, PANA reported Friday.
Enterprise Mauritius, a Mauritian Government institution that promotes exports of local products to foreign countries, said the scheme would apply to Mombasa (Kenya), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Beira (Mozambique) via Madagascar, Comoros (Moroni) and Victoria (Seychelles).
Exporters of goods produced and manufactured in Mauritius and free port operators exporting goods locally manufactured or goods manufactured in the free port zones are eligible for the refund.
The categories of goods eligible for subsidy include those that are wholly grown or produced in Mauritius, those that are exported under an Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), COMESA or SADC certificate of origin and all other goods exported that have been locally manufactured or produced in Mauritius, including those manufactured or processed in a free port zone, wholly or partially from imported materials by a process of manufacture or production.
Enterprise Mauritius Chief Executive Officer Dev Chamroo said the measure would boost exports of Mauritian goods to the African continent, as it will make Mauritian products more competitive since the landing costs to the African ports will be reduced.
Moreover, he added, the government will provide a 50 per cent subsidy on the cost of Credit Guarantee Insurance for exports to Africa.
”This will give some level of assurance to companies when exporting to unfamiliar markets and may even lead to an increase in the number of companies willing to trade in Africa. This scheme is operated by insurance companies and brokers,” he said.
He also recalled the setting up of the Mauritius-Africa Fund to which US$17 million over 5 years have been allocated to participate in the equity financing of businesses investing in viable projects in any African country.
Quoting from recent statistics, Chamroo said export activities from Mauritius have strengthened in the first four months of 2014 and are expected to improve further in the coming months.
”While total exports grew by 6 per cent in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the same period last year, exports of Export Oriented Enterprises registered a growth of 5 per cent for the period January to April 2014, compared to the 2.1 per cent increase for the period January to March 2014,” he said.
The increase has come mainly from the textiles, jewellery and seafood sectors.
The performing markets remain the United States ( 29 per cent), France ( 15.4 per cent), Belgium ( 26.5 per cent), Italy (14.3 per cent), while exports to the United Kingdom declined by 16.4 per cent and South Africa by 20.7 per cent.