Letter addressed to the Director General MBC on 10 November, 2020
LALIT calls on the MBC to organise a televised debate on the need to develop a new food production sector for large-scale job creation, food security and to generate revenue for development.
This is urgent given that the global coronavirus pandemic has compounded the decline of traditional sectors of the economy: sugar/cane, tourism, textiles, offshore, Air Mauritius; a decline that was already being felt before the epidemic. Sectors like sugar, tourism, real estate on the international market, offshore (global business) are fast becoming unviable. The coronavirus situation in major trading countries like France, India, UK, US, South Africa is worsening.
Until a vaccine is developed and a large majority of the world population innoculated, the crisis will not magically disappear.
Everyone needs to take stock of the dire economic situation and to debate how to restructure the economy to weather the coronavirus storm.
The most enlightened economic and political currents are pointing towards the need to re-orient the economy towards land and sea-based industrial food production. It entails using more and more agricultural land for staple food production and animal rearing as the price of sugar/cane plummets. It means investing massively in a sustainable fishing industry. It means large-scale in food conservation and transformation industry.
It also means putting into question the present economic sectors and accepting that they may no longer be viable: they no longer create jobs, they no longer bring in revenue, they are close to bankrupcy. The sugar/cane industry for instance depends on subsidies from public funds for its survival.
We point out that the MBC Act states that the “Objects of the Corporation” shall be to“(a) provide independent and impartial—
(i) broadcasting services of information, education, culture in Creole (...)
(ii)broadcasting services which cater for the aspirations, needs and tastes of the population in matters of information, education, culture and entertainment; (...)
(b) ensure that its broadcasting services help towards the development of—(i) the knowledge, sense of initiative, civic rights, duties and responsibilities of the population;” (...)
Therefore the MBC has a statutory duty to organise such a debate in the present context.
CC to the Press