Something has been nagging me since a week. It’s related to the economic decisions facing our country and it’s been triggered by two items I heard/read in the media (radio & print).
- One is the news that the French govt will grant us some significant financial help (around Rs 1 billion) to implement the economic reform (a loan not a donation).
- The other was an appeal by Jacques de Navacelle, President of the JEC (Joint Economic Council), on a radio to give priority to the sugar industry in the allocation of this financial help.
I can’t help asking myself the following questions:
- Why should the money be allocated to an industry everybody says is no longer going to be a pillar of the Mauritian economy, an industry that has been facing tremendous difficulties (so much so that three factories are getting closed down as already planned)?
- Why should the government help industrialists? Is there not a contradiction in the JEC’s discourse (it seems to be against the principle of social aid as far as the population is concerned but it propones the idea that industry should be helped)?
- Why not invest instead in sectors that can actually create jobs, wealth and prosperity (a recent study indicated that the seafood hub and the land-based oceanic industries are the most promising for job creation)?
Avi has been arguing that there are many people in Mauritius who are in way or another connected to the sugar industry, that they need to get proper compensations and be helped to convert to another sector.
My estimations (from CSO stats) are that there’s approximately 10% of the labour force related to the sugar industry.
What do you think about this?