- The government of Mauritius, in its 2009 budget, announces a plan to eradicate absolute poverty on the Indian Ocean island state. The budget in particular aims at addressing the increasing unemployment rate associated with the global crisis.
According to a statement released by the Mauritian Prime Minister's Office today, the island state's 2009 budget sets the two major aims of "empowering people and eradicating absolute poverty" as the global crisis start hitting tourism-dependent Mauritius.
The 2009 budget "makes provision for a range of actions to give greater protection to the vulnerable groups and strengthen the Eradication of Poverty Programme in light of the global economic crisis. It also aims at extending the scope of programmes to empower people and fight unemployment," according to the Port Louis government.
The budget allocates rupees 1.5 billion (US$ 47 million) to these social programmes aimed at alleviating the effects of the global crisis.
To reach these goals, government strengthens the National Empowerment Foundation (NEF), which is given a key coordinating role in fighting the remnants of poverty found on Mauritius. Rupees 560 million (US$ 17.5 million) have been allotted to the NEF for the funding of its sponsored programmes namely, the functional literacy and numeracy programme and life-skills training programme.
The Eradication of Poverty Programme was to expand its activities to provide for medical screening for around 600 children of pre-primary schools in selected areas. "Spectacles, hearing aids, food supplements and other facilities will be provided free to needy children," according to the statement.
Moreover, all profitable firms were "required to spend 2 percent of their profits on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities approved by the government or otherwise transfer the funds for use in the fight against poverty," the PM's office decreed.
Mauritius is among the richest states in Africa, blessed with a solid economy, high human development standards and a social welfare state. However, as a high-cost holiday destination, the key tourism industry has been hit strongly by the global crisis, leading to unemployment rates to grow.
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