1. As announced in the Budget 2006/2007, Cabinet has taken note of the constitution of the Steering Committee under the chairmanship of Mr Jean Claude de l’Estrac and comprising representatives of the public and private sectors to concretize the objectives of the Empowerment Programme which would unlock opportunities for the unemployed, for people recycled from their jobs and would also undertake seven critical activities as follows –
(a) land for social housing;
(b) land for small entrepreneurs;
(c) a workfare programme emphasizing training and reskilling;
(d) special programmes for unemployed women;
(e) five tourist villages and nine SME villages;
(f) assistance for outsourcing; and
(g) support for development of new entrepreneurs and SMEs.
The members of the public and private sectors are as follows –
(a) Mr S.C. Seebaluck, Secretary to Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service;
(b) Mr K. Ruhee, Senior Adviser and Chief of Staff;
(c) Mr A. Mansoor, Financial Secretary Designate; and
(d) Mr K. Ponnusamy, Senior Chief Executive;
(e) Mr L. A. Darga, Chairperson, Enterprise Mauritius;
(f) Ms I. Pochun, Chairperson, SEHDA;
(g) Mr H. Couacaud (Hotel, Tourism & Hospitality Sector);
(h) Mr Ahmed Parker (EPZ Sector);
(i) Mr R. Makoond (Coordinator for private sector & training);
(j) Ms A. Wong (Small enterprise, women empowerment);
(k) Mr P. d’Arifat (Sugar/cane sector); and
(l) Mr Yusuf Sooklall.
2. In order to ensure a right balance between the long-term financial benefits derived from a sustainable seacucumber fishery (commonly known as “bambara”) and the conservation of the marine ecosystem, Cabinet has taken note that data would be collected and analysed in relation to stock potential of these species, including spawning as well as maturity and, based on the findings, appropriate policy would be formulated for the collection and export of seacucumbers and for defining the minimum sizes of such maritime invertebrates and the closing season.
3. Cabinet has agreed to Mauritius hosting, in September 2007, the 56th Session of the Executive Committee of Afro-Asian Rural Development Organisation, an autonomous inter-governmental institution comprising 28 members from the African and Asian continents, the main objectives of which are to -
(i) develop understanding among members for better appreciation of each other’s problems and to explore, collectively, opportunities to promote the welfare of the rural masses by eradicating poverty, disease, hunger and illiteracy;
(ii) collaborate, among others, with appropriate international and regional organizations, including the UN agencies, for the purpose of taking such actions that may accelerate the pace of rural development; and
(iii) assist member countries in obtaining financial and technical assistance for rural development programmes.
Mauritius, member of the organization since 1974, has been benefiting from the annual training programmes sponsored by that organization in diverse fields, including rural development, agriculture and industry.
4. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund (Amendment) Bill in order to make better provision to enable the Fund to –
(i) raise Aapravasi Ghat to the status of a regional and international heritage site;
(ii) administer, manage, promote and maintain Aapravasi Ghat;
(iii) set up interpretation centres; and
(iv) create capacity building and provide training in accordance with its objects.
5. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the following recent meetings:
(i) the WTO Consultative Ministerial Meeting held in Geneva, the main objective of which was to agree on modalities on Agriculture and Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) as a prerequisite for the conclusion of the overall Doha Round of negotiations by the end of 2006. These modalities are critical in defining, amongst others, the level of cuts (for the developed and developing countries) in trade distorting domestic support and tariffs in Agriculture and tariffs in NAMA which WTO members must undertake as part of final package of the Doha Round Agreement;
(ii) the 11th Meeting of the ACP Ministerial Trade Committee in Brussels which, inter alia, considered the state of progress in the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations, made a comprehensive review of negotiations under the Cotonou Agreement and reviewed progress on the WTO Doha Work Programme;
(iii) the inaugural meeting and High Level Segment of the Human Rights Council in Geneva during which HE Mr Luis Alfonse de Alba, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Mexico to the UN Office in Geneva, was unanimously elected as President of the Human Rights Council; and
(iv) the 6th Joint ACP-EC Ministerial Trade Committee in Brussels during which inter alia the state of progress of the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations and preference erosion were considered.