1.Cabinet has agreed to the Sugar Industry Efficiency (Amendment) Bill being introduced into the National Assembly. The objects of the Bill are inter alia to exempt a land owner from the need to apply for a land conversion permit where he was, on 30 September 2005, the owner of an agricultural land of an extent not exceeding one hectare (10,000 square metres) and from the payment of any morcellement fee, land transfer tax, capital gains tax and transcription fee. A Coordinating Committee would be set up at the Ministry of Agro Industry & Fisheries to look into the administrative arrangements for the implementation on the Bill. Moreover, all applications received from small land owners would be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Bill.
2. In line with Government's Programme 2005-2010, Cabinet has taken note of the setting up of a Design and Fashion Institute with a view to promoting creativity, talents, and expertise of Mauritian entrepreneurs for the production of fashionable and differentiated products. It is expected that the Design and Fashion Institute will help the textile and clothing sector develop new competitive edge on the basis of differentiated trendy products, creativity and innovation, greater variety of products, market intelligence and shorter timescales.
3. In line with the strategy of Government to enter into Latin America, Cabinet has agreed to diplomatic relations being established with the Republic of Peru, the third largest country in South America. The cooperation would enable the opening of avenues for strengthening the economic and political ties and keep abreast of and benefit from developments that might arise in the near future in the Association of South American countries and in COMESUR. Peru could also collaborate as a member of CCAMLR in the setting up of a seafood hub in Mauritius.
4. Cabinet has considered representations made by Mauritian parents whose children have pursued primary and secondary studies in Rodrigues and has agreed to the eligibility criteria governing the scholarship schemes in Rodrigues being reviewed so that henceforth, any student born of Mauritian or Rodriguan parents in Mauritius or in Rodrigues and who has studied at least from Form IV to Upper VI in Rodrigues, would be eligible for the scholarship.
5.Cabinet has agreed to the implementation of a 'Santé au Travail' project in line with the provisions of the Occupational Safety & Health Act, whereby all workers would have to undergo a once-yearly medical check-up at their workplace to enable the early detection of non-communicable diseases, and the timely treatment and follow up. Moreover, each worker would be issued with a health card.
6. With a view to exercising better control on unlicensed driving schools, Cabinet has taken note that the Road Traffic (Driving Schools and Instructors) Regulations 1966 would be amended to provide inter alia for a holder of a driving school licence to conspicuously display inside the school a copy of his driving school licence, his instructor's licence and the instructor's licence of any instructor employed by him and also for any driving instructor, while providing driving instruction to display inside his vehicle a copy of his driving instructor's licence. Any person who contravenes the regulations shall commit an offence and be liable to a fine not exceeding Rs 5,000.
7. Cabinet has taken note that the Seventh Session of the Seychelles – Mauritius Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation would be held in Mahé, Seychelles on 13 and 14 December 2005.
8. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the first meeting of the Pakistan-Mauritius Joint Working Group and that the Second Meeting would be held in Port Louis in December 2005. The Joint Working Group is expected to pursue discussions on inter alia identification of products of export interest, ways and means to facilitate trade in services and the utilization of Mauritius by Pakistani economic operators as warehousing and distribution hub for the African region.
9. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of –
(a) the Minister of Education & Human Resources to Paris from 6 to 8 October 2005 where he attended the 33rd General Conference of UNESCO. During his visit, the Minister met Mr Abdou Diouf, Secretary General of l'Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, Mr Koichiro Matsuura, Director General of UNESCO and established contacts with a number of personalities, including Ms Margaret Spellings, American Secretary of State for Education, Ministers of Education of African and European countries as well as Mr Peter Smith, the Assistant Director General for Education and Mr Bouchenaki, Assistant Director General for Culture at UNESCO; and
(b) the Minister of Women's Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection to Dakar, Senegal from 12 to 15 October 2005 where she attended the First African Union Conference of Ministers Responsible for Women and Gender. The theme of the Conference was “Realising Women’s Rights through the African Union Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa”
10. Cabinet has taken note of activities to be organized by the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions, in collaboration with the NGO Trust Fund and MACOSS, to mark the International Volunteer Day on 5 December 2005, viz.;
(a) on 4 December 2005, a rally from the Municipality of Quatre Bornes to the Municipality of Beau Bassin-Rose Hill to give a renewed dynamism to the latent spirit of voluntarism characterizing the Civil Society; and
(b) on 5 December 2005, launching of the Bank of Volunteers which aims at mobilizing community resources to support the various social programmes and activities of the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions and NGOs.
11. Cabinet has taken note of amendments to be brought to the National Savings Fund (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations, 2005 and the National Savings Fund (Collection of Contributions) (Amendment) Regulations 2005 which aim at providing an increase in the minimum and maximum salaries on which contributions are payable to the National Savings Fund. The ceiling is being raised from Rs 7175 to Rs 7990 monthly as from July 2005.
12. Cabinet has taken note of measures being taken for the control of importation of ammonium nitrate, a hazardous chemical.
13. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of Boards/Management Committees of -
(i) the Mauritius College of the Air with Dr Kaviraj Sharma Sukon as Chairperson;
(ii) the Mauritius Educational Development Company (MEDCO) Ltd with Mr R. Dawreeawoo, Barrister-at-Law, as Chairperson;
(iii) the Tertiary Education Commission with Professor Donald Ah Chuen as Chairperson;
(iv) the Fishermen Welfare Fund with Mr Jean Désiré Phillipe Etienne as Chairperson;
(v) the Food and Agricultural Research Council with Mr Alain Noël as Chairperson;
(vi) the National Savings Fund Technical Committee with Ms Marie Doucette Scarlet Marcel as Chairperson;
(vii) the Industrial Relations Commission with Professor V.P. Torul as Chairperson.
(viii) the National Remuneration Board with Mr Nathanael Marion Ryland Helene as Chairperson;
(ix) the National Youth Council with Mr Mohammad Ismaël Siddiq as Chairperson; and
(x) the National Agency for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Substance Abuse (NATRESA) with Mr Marie Jean-Michel Gérard Lesage as Chairperson.
14.Cabinet has taken note of representations made to the effect that diesel is being adulterated with kerosene and has agreed that tests be carried out, the colouring of kerosene considered and severe action initiated against contraveners.