Hon. Prime Minister Speech



(Prime Minister’s speech at the Launching ceremony of My.T 100 Mbps)

Honourable Ministers,

Honourable Members of the National Assembly,

The Chairperson of Mauritius Telecom,

The Chief Executive Officer of Mauritius Telecom,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen

I am proud to stand up and deliver a speech at this event marking a new milestone for Mauritius Telecom and the country at large.

I am proud because if Mauritius Telecom is what it is today – a vibrant and innovation driven company –it is the fruit of bold decisions I took as Prime Minister during my first mandates.

I remember very well that in 1992 when I appointed Sir Kailash Ramdanee as Chairperson of the then MTS, I entrusted him with the task of building a communication technology enterprise of world repute.

Only few months later, he delivered the merger of MTS and OTS to create Mauritius Telecom and few years after he initiated the construction of the Telecom Tower symbolising the giant progress achieved by the new company under his avant-garde leadership.

I believe our gathering today provides me with the opportunity to heartily thank Sir Kailash for making of Mauritius Telecom one of the region’s top companies which is now a key driver in propelling Mauritius towards a high income country.

Indeed Mauritius Telecom will play a significant role in transforming Mauritius into a digital platform of excellence in this part of the world. And today is obviously a key day and a defining moment in the process my Government has engaged to build a vibrant and smart Mauritius driven by global connectivity, technology and cutting-edge innovation.

The commercial rebranding of Mauritius Telecom shows that the company has understood Government’s vision and is fully committed to contribute in translating that vision into reality.

I congratulate the new management for the initiatives already taken last year to provide speedier internet access at more competitive prices to home users as well as to businesses and the ICT BPO sector.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I noted with much interest the announcement made on 19 March 2015 by the former substantive Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation, Honourable Pravind Jugnauth who said that broad band speed will be increased to 100 megabytes per second within 5 years.

Some usual skeptics – they are always the same prophets of gloom and doom – affirmed that the then Minister was selling dreams. I am pleased to announce that within one year only Mauritius Telecom is launching today an amazing package of 100 megabytes per second for home users.

This major development will allow a home user for the first time in the history of ICT Mauritius to reach 100 megabytes per second broadband download speed.

With this new milestone, Mauritius joins the league as the Top achievers of the world in terms of connectivity such as Singapore, South Africa and Europe.

Such a technological breakthrough in internet speed has been made possible thanks to fibre technology coupled with state-of-the art network design by the engineers of Mauritius Telecom. I congratulate them for their hard and dedicated work. My congratulations go to management as well which has been driving this project forcefully.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As I have said several times since the beginning of the year, the Economy should take centre stage in 2016, to accelerate our growth rate, to create wealth for the Nation in order to sustain our social goals, to solve our unemployment problem especially youth unemployment and to prepare ground works in our quest to transform ourselves into a high income society by 2030.

Despite some adverse winds and unforeseen circumstances, I wish to assure and to confirm that the Government is well on track as regards its economic agenda which I have put in front of the nation in my Economic Mission Statement and at several meetings with the Private Sector.

My Government is committed to make things happen in all sectors of the economy and nothing, absolutely nothing, will prevent us from implementing our economic and social programs throughout this year and beyond.

Only last week, BOI signed off two important Letters of Intent for the implementation of 2 mega projects, together worth more than 10 billion rupees of investment, of which at least one billion rupees will be injected during the current calendar year.

Works are expected to start in the next few weeks, by the end of next month I am told, and should lead to the creation of several hundreds jobs in the construction sector and the spill overs should be felt in the other sectors as the billions of rupees filter through the economy.

By end of the year, I expect a further injection of at least 20 billion rupees of both public and private investments as they go through the various approval procedures.

This is not all in our economic landscape as we take it to the next level of development. As you are aware, my Office has been instrumental in the signing of the historic agreement between Changi Airport of Singapore which won the best Global Airport award last week and Air Mauritius.

This Africa-Mauritius-Singapore-Asia Air Corridor will link the Continent of Africa and countries of Asia with the transformation of our airport into a hub in our region.

The implementation of the project which was inaugurated in Changi Airport last week is expected to be a game changer not only for our tourism industry but also with regard to our Africa Strategy for trade development with our African neighbors and for the development of the Services Sector, notably the Global Business Sector.

As far as our agenda to revolutionize our digital and broadband economy is concerned, I also wish to state that we are on track to diversify the provision of back haul internet service which will certainly lead to access price reduction and supply expansion.

The Central Electricity Board has commissioned a feasibility study to use its existing high tension aerial network to supply broadband internet. The study is conclusive and execution of the project will take place before the end of the year as it goes through the normal tender process for the appointment of consultants and the work contractor.

Furthermore, as announced in the last budget, Government has already taken action to implement the Third Submarine Fibre Optic Cable Project which will connect us including Rodrigues Island to Africa, Europe and Asia.

This project which will require an estimated investment injection of 3 billion rupees will significantly enhance the provision of international bandwidth capacity and will definitely stimulate competition in the telecommunication industry while improving price and market efficiency for the benefit of all stakeholders. The project has already received more than a dozen expressions of interest for financing. These are currently being assessed for further action.

These two projects together with all the various measures that have already been undertaken by the stakeholders of the Industry will definitely translate into reality our vision to reach a 100% internet broadband penetration rate by 2020.

In the next 4 or 5 years every single household and every enterprise should be provided with ultra-high broadband facilities at the most competitive price.

However, Ladies and Gentlemen, the digitalisation of Mauritius involves much more than providing households and enterprises with universal access to internet broadband, free Wi fi and free flow of information.

It has to be a means and a platform to revolutionise the way we do business and to produce goods in a more efficient manner for ourselves and for our exports.

We need to see it as an opportunity to have a better life and to behave better in society. We have to make use of new technologies to create new economic opportunities for our Nation and to create jobs especially for our young citizens.

We need however in the same breath to take all precautions so that we protect personal privacy, security of data and as importantly thwarting cybercrime and terrorism.

But, after all, we need to acknowledge the powerful impact that digitalisation can bring to our economy.

I also take the opportunity to thank all the stakeholders for contributing to putting us on track to make the entire Mauritius a Cyber Island.

Fifteen years ago, we made the Cyber City of Ebène a dream come true with all the value added it has brought and continues to bring to our society and the thousands of jobs it has created and continues to create especially for the young.

Today, we are moving ahead with zeal and determination to realize three major projects that will make our Cyber Island dream draw closer to reality. These are the Rose Belle Business Park project, the Rivière du Rempart Technopark project and the Heritage City mega Work, Live and Play project.

Thanks to the technology mix of “fibre to the home” and “fibre through the air” and soon with the introduction of white space technology, we will be already embarking on the exciting journey towards a new economic miracle for our country.

I shall conclude with an appropriate quote of Steven Johnson that should guide us on our way forward on the innovation super highway. I quote: “If you look at history, innovation doesn’t come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect”.

With these words, I thank you for your kind attention and your warm welcome.

on March 26 | by