1. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of Hon Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister, to New York where he participated in the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The Prime Minister attended the opening of the General Debate of the General Assembly on the theme “Making the United Nations relevant to all people: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies”. He addressed the General Assembly on issues such as the reform of the United Nations Development System including the reform of the United Nations Security Council, peace and security, terrorism, the situation in the Middle-East, climate change and its effects on Small Island Developing States like Mauritius, the challenges of Mauritius as a Middle Income Country, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the issue of sovereignty, including the ongoing International Court of Justice proceedings on the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965.
The Prime Minister also participated in –
(a) the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit organised in commemoration of the 100th birth anniversary of Nelson Mandela;
(b) the High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) where he delivered a statement and highlighted the measures being taken by Mauritius to address the scourge of NCDs; and
(c) the round table on “Building Resilient Economies and Preserving Marine Ecosystems in Coastal Nations” of the Bloomberg Global Business Forum.
The Prime Minister also had meetings with –
(a) Heads of State/Government of Cyprus, Ghana, Guatemala, Vanuatu, the Seychelles, Marshall Islands, Zambia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Brazil and Argentina; and
(b) the Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of India, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, the Secretary General of the United Nations and the President of the General Assembly.
The Prime Minister expressed Government’s appreciation to all the Member States and the African Union which have actively participated in the written and oral proceedings of the International Court of Justice. Mauritius also subscribed to the “Global call to action on the world drug problem” launched by the USA together with 31 other co-host countries.
2. Cabinet has taken note of the main findings and recommendations of the new Port Master Plan Report up to horizon 2040 prepared by Messrs Royal Haskoning DHV, a foreign international consultant. The new Port Master Plan has been drafted in accordance with the Ports Act 1998 which requires the Mauritius Port Authority to prepare and periodically update a Port Master Plan for formulating its policy for port development and land use. The consultants have also taken into consideration the potential growth of the National Economy and opportunities arising from the Ocean Economy initiative which focuses on an increased contribution of the maritime sector in the Mauritian economy. The Report covers, inter alia, −
(a) the Port Master Plan for Port Louis with focus on the traffic forecast, the bunkering and petroleum forecast, the infrastructure requirements and land use planning;
(b) the Master Plan Study for the Development of a Petroleum Hub at Albion; and
(c) the Port Master Plan for Port Mathurin including the infrastructure requirements.
3. Cabinet has taken note of an Opinion Paper of the Law Reform Commission on “Law on Social Media: Fake Profiles, Fake News, and other Harmful Practices”.
Cabinet has agreed to the implementation of the recommendations made by the Law Reform Commission in relation to identity theft and fake profiles and to appropriate legislative amendments being brought to the Criminal Code and other enactments.
4. Cabinet has taken note of the contents of an Opinion Paper by the Law Reform Commission on the “Mechanism for settlement of Land Disputes (including dispossession of land as highlighted in the Report of the Truth and Justice Commission)”. Cabinet has agreed to the setting up of an Inter-Ministerial Committee to advise on the way forward.
5. Cabinet has taken note that the Local Government (Amendment) Act 2018 would be proclaimed shortly. The Local Government (Amendment) Act 2018 makes provision for –
(a) the harmonisation and strengthening of legal provisions pertaining to illegal constructions and development, and giving more powers to local authorities;
(b) the increase of penalties for illegal constructions and development; and
(c) mandatory pulling down orders by District Courts for illegal constructions and development.
Cabinet has also taken note that the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Local Government and Outer Islands would make the Local Government (Prescribed Forms) Regulations regarding an occupation certificate, a compliance notice, an enforcement notice and a pulling down notice to be issued in accordance with prescribed forms.
6. Cabinet has taken note that the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Local Government and Outer Islands would make the Mauritius Fire and Rescue Service (Fire Safety Plan and Fire Certificate) Regulations under the Mauritius Fire and Rescue Service Act. The Regulations provide for –
(a) the prescribed premises;
(b) the application for a fire safety plan;
(c) the fees payable by an owner on approval of a fire safety plan;
(d) the application for a fire certificate;
(e) the issue of a fire certificate by the Chief Fire Officer; and
(f) the fees payable by an owner for a fire certificate.
7. Cabinet has taken note of the implementation of the Mer Rouge Oil Storage Terminal (MOST) project which consists of the construction of five tanks with a capacity of 25,000 metric tons of petroleum products and a new pipeline, costing around Rs575 M. The construction of the Storage Terminal has been completed in September 2018 and this would now allow the country to maintain a strategic buffer stock of Mogas (essence) for 30 days and Gasoil (diesel) for 27 days, as compared to only 3 days for Mogas and 10 days for Gasoil previously.
8. Cabinet has taken note of the setting up of a Steering Committee under the chair of the Vice-Chairperson of the Economic Development Board, to oversee and monitor the implementation of three business parks as announced in the Budget Speech 2018/2019, namely –
(a) a High-Tech Park at Côte D’Or;
(b) a Logistic Park at Riche Terre; and
(c) a Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Park at Rose Belle.
9. Cabinet has taken note that a Steering Committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of the Secretary to Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service to oversee the implementation of the budget measures relating to –
(a) the setting up of a Mauritius Artificial Intelligence Council;
(b) the digitisation of public-sector services ; and
(c) the recommendations of the Blueprint for Financial Services Sector.
Respective Working Groups have been constituted with relevant stakeholders to ensure the implementation of the three budget measures.
10. Cabinet has taken note that Hon Vijay Kumar Choudhary, Speaker of the Bihar Legislative Assembly and President of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Bihar Branch would be the Chief Guest for the commemoration of the 184th Anniversary of the Arrival of Indentured Labourers in Mauritius which is celebrated on 2 November.
11. Cabinet has taken note that the Southern African Social Protection Experts Network would organise, in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity, and Environment and Sustainable Development and the University of Mauritius, the “International Country Workshop on Social Protection in Mauritius: International Frameworks and National Policies” in Mauritius on 17 and 18 October 2018. The Workshop aims at facilitating national dialogue and debate, the appropriation of social protection discussion by social partners and civil society, international exchange and south-to-south learning. It would also provide a forum to exchange and engage with experts of the network and foster a public discourse on social protection with representatives of international and national bodies. Some 57 local and 13 foreign participants would attend the Workshop.
12. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Financial Services and Good Governance would organise a National Capacity-Building Workshop on Countering the Financing of Terrorism through Effective National and Regional Actions, from 29 to 31 October 2018 with the assistance of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre. The objective of the Workshop would be to train the local stakeholders on the requirements of United Nations Security Council Resolutions relating to the prevention and suppression of terrorism and terrorist financing. Participants would have an enhanced understanding of international sanctions objectives, strategic advantages, best practices on implementation and terrorist financing typologies that could be organised through better coordination and financial investigations. The Workshop would be facilitated by Resource Persons from the UN Office of Counter Terrorism.
13. Cabinet has taken note that the Mauritius Accreditation Service (MAURITAS), has been admitted as an Arrangement Member, that is a signatory to the Mutual Recognition Arrangement of the African Accreditation Cooperation (AFRAC). MAURITAS is now also internationally recognised by the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), two supreme authorities for accreditation which regroup national accreditation bodies around the world.
14. Cabinet has taken note that a Fishing Agreement had been signed in 2000 with the Federation of Japan Tuna Fisheries Cooperative Associations, which provides for fishing licences to Japanese fishing vessels solely for the fishing of tuna in the EEZ of Mauritius. Since 2017, no fishing licence has been issued to Japanese vessels.
Cabinet has also taken note that Mauritius is party to several international Conventions and Organisations dealing with the conservation and protection of whales which include, amongst others, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and the International Whaling Commission. The fishing of whales or any other marine mammals even for research and scientific purposes is not allowed in Mauritian waters. Several measures have been taken to ensure that the provisions and resolutions contained in the Conventions to which Mauritius is party, as well as the Fisheries and Marine Resources Act are strictly adhered to.
15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Tourism to India and France. In India, the Minister of Tourism attended the Zee TV Tourism Business Award in Delhi as special guest and participated in an interview panel along with the Minister of State for Tourism in India. Some 200 representatives of the top travel trade in India attended the event which was broadcast live on Zee Business TV channel around the world.
In France, the Minister of Tourism led a delegation to the International French Travel Market Top Resa, the leading French business-to-business event for the travel and tourism industry. The event was attended by 60 corporate travel agencies, over 70 tour operators, 75 airline companies, 22 major cruise companies and more than 2,000 exhibitors from around 150 countries. The Minister also had focused meetings, among others, with the representatives of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority in France, Thomas Cook, Corsair and Pierrefonds Airport.
16. Cabinet has taken note that Government has conveyed its condolences to the Government of the Republic of Indonesia following the tragic toll and devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami that hit the island of Sulawesi recently. Cabinet has agreed to making a contribution of USD100,000 to assist the Republic of Indonesia towards the reconstruction process.
17. Cabinet has taken note that Shree Baboo Chekitan Servansing, former Ambassador has been reappointed as Chair of the Commonwealth Foundation for a further period of two years.