Speech of Ms. Amanda Serumaga UNDP Resident Representative for Mauritius & Seychelles Press Conference on Follow-up Survey to assess the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Businesses in Mauritius

October 11, 2021

Photo: @UNDPMauritius

01 October 2021

Excellency the Ambassador of Japan Mr. Shuichiro Kawaguchi
The Chairperson, Business Mauritius, Mr. Vidia Mooneegan
The Chief Executive Officer, Business Mauritius Mr. Kevin Ramkaloan
The Acting Director, Statistics Mauritius, Mr Mukesh Dawoonauth, Members of the Business Community, Senior Officers of different Ministries Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen – All Protocol Observed

Good Afternoon

I am pleased to join you for the launch the second COVID-19 business survey for Mauritius. The survey provides the Government and private sector insights into how the pandemic has shaped businesses, one year on, considering the scale of disruption that this pandemic has had on businesses after a second national. It also provides lessons on how to effectively support businesses to navigate the new context.

There are things we now know.

We now know that the pandemic is much more than a health crisis, it is also an unprecedent socio-economic crisis.

We know that the pandemic has the potential to create devastating social, economic, and political impact with longstanding repercussions.

And we certainly know that we are operating in unique times. A context which requires a reorientation and reimagination to engineer socioeconomic recovery.

At the time of the first business survey, a key focus was whether businesses had survived the most difficult period in the country’s history, and their expectations within the coming months. And the results then were impressive.

Despite the challenging times, businesses did their best to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, with more than 70% of them able to continue to operate normally.

As the pandemic has persisted, and evolved into several waves, it is now clear that resilience that remains key. Business longevity will depend on the capacity for adaptation and reinvention; and on the responsiveness of the policy and regulatory environment to enable the private sector to evolve and thrive.

It is also evident that the pandemic has opened new frontiers in the regional and global market. We are witnessing a surge in online shopping and decline in in- person product sampling, thus enabling SIDS, such as Mauritius to transcend the challenge of distance and borders. There is also an increase in domestic tourism among other trends. Anticipating and leveraging these trends and opportunities and adjusting production to cope with changes remains a critical challenge.

Regular surveys of this kind can be instrumental in informing businesses and the regulatory environment to enable them to collectively plot the most effective way ahead. The survey results also offer empirical evidence to facilitate constructive dialogue between the private and public sectors.

Allow me to therefore, extend my appreciation to Business Mauritius and Statistics Mauritius for sustaining partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to conduct these surveys. I wish also to reiterate UNDP’s commitment to continued partnership to deliver on several strategic engagements on recovery.

I also thank the people and the Government of Japan, through Ambassador Kawaguchi, for providing financial support to the UNDP COVID-19 Prevention, Response and Early Recovery (PREP) Programme through which UNDP has supported these surveys. Your support, the largest for UNDP globally in terms of COVID-19 response, has been instrumental in ensuring that the UN family can serve as a responsive partner to the communities and governments with whom we work. From support for the laboratory information management system for health system strengthening, to supporting public sector efficiency through support to the formulation of the work from home policy, your partnership continues to be invaluable.

I of course commend the Government of Mauritius for the commitment to working with the private sector, as articulated in the 2021-2022 budget proposals, to implement clear fiscal and policy responses, that have the potential to enable socioeconomic recovery. Given the private role in job creation and growth, Government policy support during these turbulent times is certainly a step in the right direction.

In closing, I am hopeful that the survey results can inform policy discussion and decision making and serve as an increasingly reliable tool to contribute to building a resilient economy.

Thank you for your kind attention. 

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