1. Cabinet has taken note that the ICT Authority has approved a considerable decrease in the tariffs of International Private Leased Circuits (IPLC), fixed line services, international calls and local calls as a further step to make Mauritius more competitive in the ICT and ICT-related fields. There will be -
(a) a reduction in International Private Leased Circuits (IPLC) rates applicable, with immediate effect, by Mauritius Telecom Ltd on the SAFE undersea cable ranging from 17% to 31% with an overall average of around 22% over the existing rates;
(b) an overall decrease of an average of 19.8% on current tariffs in respect of International Direct Dialling (IDD) services applicable, with immediate effect, by Mauritius Telecom;
(c) an overall decrease ranging from 5% to 15% on current tariffs in respect of International Direct Dialling (IDD) services applicable, with immediate effect, by Emtel, Mahanagar Telephone (Mauritius) Ltd, City Call Ltd and Data Communications Ltd; and
(d) an overall decrease ranging from 5% to 50% for Internet Telephony services applicable, with immediate effect, by City Call Ltd and Data Communications Ltd. , for diverse destinations.
The ICT Authority has also approved tariffs for new services, namely 3G for Emtel and wireless Internet Services for Network Plus (Africa Digital Bridges Network Ltd.).
2.Cabinet has taken note of the remarkable performance recorded in tourist arrivals for the month of December 2005. Some 90,519 tourists visited Mauritius in the month of December 2005 as compared to 77,814 for the corresponding period of last year, representing a double digit increase of 16.3%. This performance is a record for the last four years.
The total number of tourists that visited the island in 2005 has reached 761,063 as compared to 718,861 recorded in 2004, representing an annual increase of 5.9%, which is beyond the targeted growth rate of 5%. Cabinet has further noted that –
(i) arrivals from the leading market France went up by 9.5% to reach 25,313;
(ii) growth was registered in arrivals from the main generating markets , i.e., Italy (+70.1%), Germany (+18.4%) and United Kingdom (+4.5%);
(iii) among the other European countries, the following trends were observed: CIS (+44.3%) and Spain (+19.2%);
(iv) from the regional countries, an increase of +29.6% was recorded from the Republic of South Africa and +3.7% from the Reunion Island; and
(v) India has also recorded a significant growth rate of +40.3%, whilst arrivals from the People's Republic of China grew by 12.6% and Australia grew by +44.7%.
The MTPA has been requested to devise ways and means to build on that momentum and to tap to the full the emerging opportunities to consolidate and sustain growth in tourist arrivals in 2006 through more aggressive marketing and promotional campaigns.
3.In view of the precarious financial situation of the Business Parks of Mauritius Ltd (BPML) and its subsidiaries, Cabinet has agreed to a Fact Finding Committee being instituted to situate responsibilities in the gross mismanagement of the affairs of the BPML and its subsidiaries.
4.Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life proposes to introduce 'Methadone' in the detoxification of drug addicts as recommended by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Methadone which has proved to be a more effective drug replacement, is being internationally used by many countries, including France, Australia, USA and Switzerland. WHO has in September last included Methadone in its list of essential medicines in recognition to the important role it played in the treatment of opiate addiction and prevention of HIV transmission.
5.Cabinet has taken note that 146 Secondary Schools have, in December 2005, been provided with free high speed internet connections (ADSL) in Mauritius to facilitate access to knowledge. Five Secondary Schools in Rodrigues, which had no internet connection, have now been provided with connections.
6.In line with Government's policy to give all children equal opportunities for quality education, Cabinet has agreed to the implementation of the Policy and Strategy Document on the Special Education Needs and Inclusive Education, which focuses on special educational needs of children with disabilities or major learning difficulties and provides for the inclusion of those children into our educational system through appropriate services, in partnership with relevant Ministries and Non-Governmental Institutions.
7. Following the energy saving campaign launched by Government, Cabinet has taken note of a preliminary assessment of its impact in Government buildings. In the Treasury Building, for example, the energy consumption has decreased by 33% to 82,610 kwh in October 2005 as compared to 125,060 kwh in the same period in 2004.
8. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the setting up of a Food Technology Laboratory which will serve as a national reference laboratory and will provide analytical services to various Divisions of the Ministry of Agro Industry & Fisheries, as well as the agro-business sector, in order to ensure compliance with phytosanitary norms and food quality standards in the context of the WTO and EU Trade Regulations. The Food Technology Laboratory is expected to be commissioned by the end of May 2006.
9.Cabinet has taken note that the State Land Development Co. Ltd. proposes to develop, under the Public Private Partnership, a plot of land at Highlands, which is strategically located along the Port Louis/Curepipe corridor and which offers numerous possibilities of development, particularly for the setting up of projects of national importance.
10.Cabinet has taken note that a number of medical and dental institutions, already recognized by the relevant Councils in Mauritius, have changed their names and that the Medical Council (Medical Institutions) Regulations 2004 and the Dental Council (Medical Institutions) Regulations 2004 would be amended so that the following institutions might be registered under their respective new appellations –
(i) Grodno State Medical University;
(ii) Université de Franche Comté – Faculté de Médecine et de Pharmacie de Besançon;
(iii) University of Nice – Sophia Antipolis;
(iv) 'IULIU HATIEGANU' University of Medicine and Pharmacy;
(v) Tver State Medical Academy of the Federal Agency for Community Health and Social Development;
(vi) Peoples' Friendship University of Russia;
(vii) I.M. Sechenov Moscow Medical Academy;
(viii) Russian State Medical University;
(ix) Saint Petersburg State Medical Academy (named after I.I. Mechnikov); and
(x) O.O. Bogomolets National Medical University;
11.Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Women's Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection proposes to relocate, as a temporary measure, children, victims of abuse and neglect, from the shelter at Albion to the Creativity Centre at Pointe au Sables, pending the construction of a fully-fledged shelter at Bambous.
12.Cabinet has taken note of the increasing prevalence of Non-Communicable Diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, which is becoming a major cause of concern and that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, in the collaboration of the WHO, proposes to launch a campaign from 26 January to 5 February 2006 with a view to –
(i) raising the awareness of the population of the growing problem of non- communicable diseases in the country;
(ii) informing them of the risk factors associated with non-communicable diseases; and
(iii) encouraging the population to adopt a healthy life style.
In the same vein, the National Trust Fund for Community Health is being reorganized to enable it to better promote primary health care with the participation of the community with a view to preventing chronic diseases, in particular non-communicable diseases.
13.Cabinet has taken note of the activities organized by the Ministry of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders, for the celebration of the Spring Festival at National level this year. Activities would include a cultural show at the Auditorium of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Indian Culture with the participation of a 23-member Arts Ensemble of the People's Republic of China, a picture exhibition "Dynamic Beijing" at the National History Museum of the Mauritius Institute, and a Cultural Show at the Auditorium of the India Gandhi Institute to mark the Lantern Festival.
14.Cabinet has taken note that with a view to further developing the friendly relations as well as economic and technical co-operation between China and Mauritius, the Government of the Republic of China would provide to the Government of Mauritius an interest-free loan of about Rs 76m repayable over a period of 10 years.
15.Cabinet has taken note that, prior to the forthcoming IOC Council of Ministers' Meeting to be held in Madagascar on 16 and 17 March 2006, a meeting of 'Comité des Officiers Permanents de Liaison' of the Indian Ocean Commission would be held from 16 to 18 January 2006 to –
(i) review progress of implementation of a number of on-going projects, including regional security, revival of the "Association des Parlementaires de la Commission de l'Ocean Indien", WTO and EPA negotiations as well as budget proposals for 2006; and
(ii) address other programmes, including fisheries, coastal and marine resources for sustainable development, ICT as well as the functioning of the Secretariat.
16.Cabinet has taken note that recommendations would be made for appointment as follows-
(a) Mr Neewrajlall Burtun as Chairperson of Multi Carrier Ltd;
(b) Mr Joydeep Beeharry as Chairperson and Mr Bullipersad Suraj Bali as Chief Executive of the Independent Broadcasting Authority; and
(c) Mr Hervé Aimée as Chairperson of both the Agalega Island Council and the Outer Islands Development Corporation and Mr Piaraylal Sharma Dwarka Davay as General Manager, Outer Islands Development Corporation.
17.Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the Executive Committee of the National Women Enterpreneur Council with Mrs Nivedita Nathoo as Chairperson.