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Cabinet Decisions - 12 June 2015

Date: June 12, 2015


1.         Cabinet has taken note of measures taken by the Cargo Handling Corporation Ltd to modernise the Port, and service the extended quay at the Mauritius Container Terminal. The Terminal would, subsequently, be able to accommodate larger vessels. There would also be faster ship turnaround time as a result of a larger yard space and additional ship-to-shore cranes, and subsequently  increase in traffic, linked to increased capacity and facility at the Terminal.  In this connection, Government is seeking the assistance of the Agence Française de Développement.
2.         Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Environment, Sustainable Development, and Disaster and Beach Management would implement the following Schemes –
            (a)       the Solar Water Heater Scheme to encourage the use of renewable energy, instead of fossil fuels, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
            (b)       the Compost Scheme to increase, mobilise and encourage participation in environmental conservation and management by reducing the amount of waste so as to mitigate the serious deterioration and depletion of environmental resources; and
            (c)        the Rainwater Harvesting System Scheme to encourage local authorities, schools and other Government agencies to use rainwater for non-potable water needs, such as washing yards, use of water for toilet, and watering gardens.
3.         Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions is preparing a Disability Bill as announced in Government Programme 2015-2019. The Bill would provide, inter alia, for –
(a)       the promotion of the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities;
(b)       the regulation and registration of organizations that provide services to persons with disabilities; and
(c)        the establishment of a Disability Arbitration Tribunal.
4.         Cabinet has taken note that a Ministerial Committee, under the Chairmanship of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism and External Communications, has been set up to look into arrangements to be made so that the Père Laval pilgrimage this year is performed in the best conditions.  The Committee would comprise, among others, the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Energy and Public Utilities, the Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, the Minister of Local Government, the Minister of Arts and Culture, the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, and the Minister of Environment, Sustainable Development, and Disaster and Beach Management.
5.         Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life proposes to conduct a national survey on households’ out-of-pocket expenditure on health to generate data for the development of the National Health Accounts 2015. The main objective of developing the National Health Accounts is to provide information on health care spending to support health system governance, and decision-making for the design of cost-effective health system policies.
6.         Cabinet has taken note of the status in the development and formulation of the National Export Strategy. The Strategy would enable us to -
(a)       identify trade opportunities and challenges, emerging competitive threats and development of new growth poles;
(b)       harmonize export promotion policies and enhance institutional coordination across a currently fragmented trade support network; and
(c)        formulate a strategic vision and roadmap for key sectors with export development potential.
7.         Cabinet has taken note of the list of Public Holidays for the year 2016, which is as follows:
New Year                                                      Friday 01 January
New Year                                                      Saturday 02 January
Abolition of Slavery                                     Monday 01 February
Chinese Spring Festival                             Monday 08 February
Maha Shivaratree                                        Monday 07 March
National Day                                                Saturday 12 March
Ugaadi                                                          Friday 08 April
Tamizh  Puttaandu (Varusha Pirappu)      Thursday 14 April
Labour Day                                                   Sunday 01 May
Eid-Ul-Fitr**                                                   Wednesday 06 July
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary    Monday 15 August
Ganesh Chaturthi                                         Tuesday 06 September
Divali                                                              Sunday 30 October
Arrival of Indentured Labourers                   Wednesday 02 November
Christmas                                                      Sunday 25 December
**The exact date of this festival is subject to confirmation as its celebration depends on the visibility of the moon.

8.         Cabinet has taken note that, according to the last monthly report published by the Ministry of Tourism and External Communications, 87,067 tourists visited Mauritius in May 2015 as compared to 78,555 in May 2014, i.e., an increase of 10.8%.  For the period January to May 2015, tourist arrivals reached 468,723 as compared to 430,252 during the same period in 2014, i.e., an increase of 8.9%. The overall performance of the European source markets was positive with a growth of 11.2% in arrivals.  Germany (+40.7%), France (+11.0%) and UK (+3.1%) performed exceptionally well.  With regards to the emerging markets, the performance of India and China was positive with arrivals going up by 30.2%.
9.         Cabinet has agreed to the Curatelle (Prescribed Amount) Regulations 1989 being amended to increase the prescribed amount from Rs300,000 to Rs1,000,000 so as to empower the Curator of Vacant Estates to sell, by notarial deed, immovable properties, or undivided rights in immovable properties, vested in him and valued at a price not exceeding Rs1,000,000.  The prescribed amount has not been increased since 1989.
10.       Cabinet has taken note that a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Ghana and the Government of Mauritius has been signed to provide for the creation of an entity, known as TEMA Technology Park Ltd, to implement and manage a Technology Park in Ghana.  The new company would, inter alia, -
(a)       establish an action plan, with clearly defined time frames and tasks, for the successful implementation of the Technology Park, including the responsibility to oversee the implementation of the action plan;
(b)       provide a one-stop-shop service to potential investors ensuring promptness and efficiency with regard to administrative processes for their set up within the Park; and
(c)        recommend to the Ghanaian Government on policies for the improvement of business climate in the ICT Sector.
11.       Cabinet has taken note of the signing of the Executive Programme for the years 2015 to 2017 under the Cultural Agreement between the Republic of Mauritius and the People’s Republic of China. The main objectives of the Programme are to strengthen friendly ties and encourage exchanges and cooperation in the fields of arts and culture.
12.       Cabinet has taken note that the 93rd ICA International Cooperative Day and the 21st UN International Day of Cooperatives would be commemorated on 04 July 2015.  The theme for this year is Equality.  On this occasion, a “Gathering of Cooperators” and an exhibition depicting the produce and services provided by cooperative societies would be organized.  The year 2015 also marks the 102nd anniversary of the Cooperative Movement in Mauritius, one of the oldest in the Southern hemisphere. 

13.       Cabinet has taken note that the Memorandum of Understanding on Hydrography between Mauritius and the Government of India would be extended for a further period of five years. The Memorandum of Understanding, signed in 2005, provides for the promotion of development and cooperation in the field of hydrography, assistance in the production of navigational charts, training of staff, and provision of expert advice for the setting up of a full-fledged hydrographic infrastructure in Mauritius. So far, 27 hydrographic surveys have been conducted and seven charts in respect of Agalega, Port Louis and Approaches to Port Louis, Approaches to Cargados Carajos shoals, Port Mathurin Harbour and Approaches to Port Mathurin Harbour, Grand Bay, Grande Rivière Noire Bay and Grand Port have been produced.  The Indian Authorities have also put at the disposal of Government an inshore survey vessel, and are assisting in the setting up of a Hydrographic Survey Unit at the Ministry of Housing and Lands.
14.       Cabinet has taken note of the recent mission of the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to Reunion Island.  The main objectives of the mission were to strengthen regional cooperation, and enhance trade and investment opportunities between Mauritius and Reunion Island.  The following issues were discussed with the authorities –
            (a)       the setting up of a Commission Economique Regionale Mixte Maurice/Reunion;
            (b)       fostering economic cooperation for improving trade and crossborder investment;
            (c)        removing barriers and hurdles, such as cost of air fares and customs duty;
            (d)       sharing of know-how and skills in various technological fields; and
            (e)       structure joint investment efforts into Africa, including Madagascar and Ghana.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development has already made regulations for the removal of customs duties as from 1 July 2015 on imports originating from Reunion Island within the framework of the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement.
15.       Cabinet has taken note that the Jury Panel to carry out the adjudication exercise for the Public Service Excellence Award 2014 would be chaired by Mr Junaid Muslun. 
Mr Muslun has a rich track record and wide experience in top management in the private sector. The theme for the Award 2014 edition is Leading the Public Service to Higher Productivity.
16.       Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of –
            (a)       the Board of Directors of the SBM Holdings Ltd with Mr Kee Chong Li Kwong Wing, GOSK, as Chairperson;
            (b)      the Board of Directors of the SBM Bank (Mauritius) Ltd with Mr N. K. Ballah, Acting Secretary for Home Affairs as Chairperson;
            (c)       the Board of Trustees of Professor Basdeo Bissoondoyal Trust Fund with Mrs Usha Jeetah, former Ambassador to Mauritius Embassy, Washington, as Chairperson;
            (d)       the Board of Trustees of the Media Trust with Mr Lindsay Rivière as Chairperson;
            (e)       the Board of the National Children’s Council with Mrs Marie Aimée Thomas as Chairperson;
            (f)       the National Committee of the National Women’s Council with Mrs A. Capery, Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare as Chairperson; and
            (g)      the Mental Health Care Accounts Committee with Mr Edison Narainen, FCCA, MBA, Senior Analyst at the Office of Public Sector Governance as Chairperson.
17.       Cabinet has taken note that the Board of the Mauritius Film Development Corporation proposes to appoint Mr Sachin Jootun as Director.  Mr Jootun has wide experience in the film industry.  He holds a Degree in Editing and Direction from the Arena Multi Media, Mumbai.

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