Mauritius’ textile-apparel industry must be revamped by taking advantage of intelligent networking so that the sector moves towards Industry 4.0, according to minister of industrial development, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and cooperatives Soomilduth Bholah, who recently said robotics and 3-D printing must be an integral part of the industry.
Bholah said this during a meeting with prominent exporters from the sector at the SME Mauritius Coromandel branch office.
The aim of this meeting was to adopt a collective and coordinated approach engaging all stakeholders to respond to the resulting threats and to identify new opportunities to reorient the sector for sustained development following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, an official release said.
Mauritius exports some Rs 43 billion of products every year, out of which approximately Rs 22 billion account for the textile and apparel manufacturing industry, he said.
The sector, which employs around 31,000, is now on its knees because of the pandemic, he said. However, some manufacturers are still receiving orders from the main markets—South Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom—despite the lack of visibility of the sector for the forthcoming months, he said.
A standing committee for the manufacturing sector, comprising his ministry, the Mauritius Export Association and the Economic Development Board, holds a meeting every month to take stock of the situation and work on the recovery of the sector and suitable marketing strategies, he added.
Some exporters informed the minister that despite the help received from the government through the Wage Assistance Scheme, they still have financial problems.