In this context, several actions are being initiated to accelerate technology transition.
- Starting January 1, the cheapest entry level broadband which is at Rs 349 per month will fall to Rs 200. This, so as to allow many, especially from low income families, to have the opportunity of joining the information age.
- A major overhaul of Government IT services has been announced. Hence, the first online payment service by the MRA will begin at the end of the year. The Ministry of Housing and Lands and the National Transport Authority will join by March 2013 and many more departments as the year unfolds. Eight departments will accept online payment by credit card by end of March 2013.
- Each Ministry’s annual stationery Budget is being reduced by 25%, saving 43 million rupees annually. In addition, digital signatures will be used to carry out transactions online.
- To strengthen the application of IT solutions in Government, Ministries will have a professional as ‘Head of IT’. Furthermore, all Heads of Ministries, Government Agencies and Departments will be expected to be IT proficient.
- The Central Informatics Bureau, Central Information Systems Division and the IT Security Unit will be merged to create a more holistic unit focussed on delivering quality IT solutions.
- By March 2013, funds will be allocated for the purchase of one computing device for every Member of Parliament.
- Government will distribute next year, one tablet computer to each and every school boy and girl in Form IV. This entails the purchase of some 20,000 devices. These tablet PCs will be programmed against internet abuse and will be free of charge except for a nominal payment of only Rs 500 to cover insurance against loss or damage.
- To transform internet in schools, high speed fibre optic cables will be extended to every secondary school.
- Mauritius is one of only four countries selected to benefit from a mass online IT training programme developed by MIT, the world’s leading technology university. The courses will be free of charge.
- Government is setting up the ‘Emerging Leaders Award’. It will be opened internationally and offer seed capital of USD 100, 000 to projects of outstanding values that are located in Mauritius. This award will be supported by a panel of distinguished world personalities and will be chaired by the leading business guru, Robin Sharma.
- An additional fall of 15% in the cost of International Private Leased Circuits.
- In partnership with operators, incubators will be set up for young Application Developers. The first one will be with Mauritius Telecom in Ebene.
- To give a spur to Cloud Computing and position Mauritius as a Data Island, Government will strengthen Privacy Laws.
- Rodrigues will be connected by undersea fibre optic cable.
- Over the next year, Government will take steps to accelerate the rollout of 4G across the country, including new regulations on spectrum management, making more bandwidth available to operators, encouraging greater sharing of phone masts and transforming Mauritius into a fully digital country.
- Foster the development of a hi-tech manufacturing cluster with dedicated hi-tech industrial parks. These will provide clean room ‘plug and play’ facilities and a pleasant working environment for staff.
Roshan Seetohul, President of Outsourcing and Telecom Association of Mauritius (OTAM) said: “By starting the budget speech with the ICT sector, the Finance Minister has emphasised the importance of the sector. He also took into account the issues of operators and mentioned e-government and the need to boost an ICT culture.”