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Cabinet Decisions - 28 November 2014

Date: November 28, 2014


1.         Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment would make the Public Transport (Buses) Remuneration Regulations to also incorporate the salary recommended by the National Remuneration Board as from 1 August 2016, the conditions of employment recommended by the National Remuneration Board, as well as a new scale of increment as proposed by Government,  agreed by the Trade Unions, and taking effect as from the publication of the Regulations.  The scale of increment will be as follows –
            For the 5-year period of 11th to 15th year of service                                Rs 300 
            For the 5-year period of 16th to 20th year of service                                Rs 350
            For the 5-year period of 21st to 25th year of service                                Rs 400   
2.         Cabinet has taken note that the strike action in the Sugar Industry has ended today following an agreement between the Joint Negotiating Panel and the Mauritius Sugar Producers’ Association.   
3.         Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the air services talks held with Austria, Czech Republic, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Kenya, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda in the margins of the International Conference on Air Navigation 2014  organised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation from 17 to 21 November 2014 in Indonesia.  Agreements have been reached on multiple designations of airlines, increase in additional weekly frequencies, codeshare and commercial arrangements and cargo operations in line with Government's policy to gradually liberalise air services and improve  connectivity with other countries.
4.         Cabinet has agreed to the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment  making the Recruitment of Workers (Amendment) Regulations to provide that recruitment agencies do not charge fees from applicants for employment, in line with the principles of the  International Recruitment Integrity System, to reduce costs of recruitment for jobseekers and safeguard their interests.   
5.         Cabinet has taken note that, at the 8th Annual General Meeting of FEMCOM held in Nairobi, Kenya on 24 and 25 November 2014, Mauritius was elected as Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee of FEMCOM. The new Board of FEMCOM constituted of four Technical Committees, and Mauritius was elected as the Chair of the ICT Technical Committee in view of the success of the country in the ICT sector. The next Annual General Meeting of FEMCOM would be held in Mauritius in September 2015.

6.         Cabinet has agreed to the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology and the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Ghana signing a Memorandum of Understanding on Collaboration in the Fields of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology.  The Memorandum of Understanding provides, inter alia, for -
            (a)       collaboration on issues pertaining to the mutual recognition of equivalence of qualifications;
            (b)       the establishment of links of cooperation between universities and institutions of higher learning (including technical education);
            (c)        the exchange of information, experiences and expertise between the respective agencies dealing with quality assurance;
            (d)       a scholarship programme, for postgraduate, specialised or other research studies; and
            (e)       the establishment of Centres of Excellence in various fields and collaborative research.
7.         Cabinet has agreed to the Mauritius Standards Bureau signing an Agreement with the Rwanda Bureau of Standards and the Uganda National Bureau of Standards to extend the promotion and facilitation of bilateral trade through the elimination of non-tariff barriers.  The Agreement covers, amongst others, cooperation in standardisation, quality assurance, metrology, conformity assessment, shipment inspection, as well as training. The Mauritius Standards Bureau would also sign an Agreement with the Swaziland Standards Authority whereby the Mauritius Standards Bureau would offer its services to develop the technical capacity of the Authority in auditing and certification of companies.    
8.         Cabinet has taken note of arrangements being made to take advantage of the various programmes on Higher Education, Research, Science and Innovation available from the European Union, namely - 
(a)       the technical assistance of the European Union under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF);
(b)       the Horizon 2020 Programme for research in all areas of science and innovation; and
(c)        the Eramus+ Programme for scholarships in education, training, youth and sports.
            Cabinet has also taken note that a task force, chaired by Professor Ishtiaque, would be set up to ensure prompt implementation of the various projects.

9.         Cabinet has taken note of progress achieved in the Research on Sugar that is being carried out to find potential innovative uses and products leading to commercialization.  The Research is geared towards adding value to sugar, such as speciality sugar.  A platform under the chairmanship of Dr Jean-Claude Autrey, Science and Technology Consultant at Omnicane Ltd, was set up to determine innovative research paths for sugar, find possible derivatives that could be of economic importance, and develop a road map for Research on Sugar in Mauritius.  A project on low Glycemix Index Sugar has been identified as a strategic project to address the need for healthy food, particularly for diabetics.
10.       Cabinet has taken note of the activities that would be organised in the context of World AIDS Day 2014, observed on 1 December, namely –
(a)       a one-day workshop to discuss the strengths and gaps of HIV prevention programmes;   
(b)       a Screening Programme at the Casualty Departments of the five Regional Hospitals and in selected Area Health Centres and Community Health Centres;                 
            (c)        holding of Testing Days in the regions of Port Louis, Quatre Bornes, Cité Mangalkhan, Baie du Tombeau and Rose Hill; and
(d)       sensitization campaigns to fight HIV and AIDS related discrimination and stigma.        
The main theme chosen for the period 2011-2015 is Getting to Zero: Zero HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS Related Deaths.  Focus this year will be on Closing the Gap.   
11.       Cabinet has taken note that, in the context of the Integrated Pest Control Management Programme, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life has started a campaign to exterminate rats.  The campaign would start at the port and airport, and public places and subsequently cover the whole country.
12.       Cabinet has taken note that 41 large and medium enterprises have enlisted their participation in the National Inclusive Business Award.  The main objectives of the Award are to promote SME growth, enhance competitiveness of Mauritian enterprises,  integrate micro and small business into the value chain and reward companies that have adopted the inclusive business approach. The Award Ceremony would be held on 12 December 2014.

13.       Cabinet has taken note that a Mega Blood Donation would be held on Thursday 18 December 2014 at the Esplanade of Emmanuel Anquetil Building, Port Louis, to palliate any shortage of blood and ensure that an adequate stock is available during the months of December and January when few people donate Blood.
14.       Cabinet has taken note that the 60-day window period imposed on foreign nationals who have visited countries affected by the Ebola Virus Disease, has negatively affected the business activities of shipping agencies and the cruise business.
            Cabinet has, therefore, agreed to review the window period for both port and airport activities to 21 days in line with international practice and port operations of neighbouring countries and subject to further review in the light of the evolution of the Disease.

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