1. In line with the Government's New Economic Agenda, Cabinet has taken note of the Framework for Empowerment Programme prepared by the Steering Committee on Empowerment Programme for the early realisation of the relevant projects to be submitted by individuals/organizations and for their speedy implementation. The framework provides guidelines for submission of projects and criteria for assessment.
The Empowerment Programme, launched recently, is undertaking the following critical activities:
• devising a workfare programme emphasizing training and reskilling;
• developing special programmes for unemployed women;
• setting up tourist villages;
• providing assistance for outsourcing;
• supporting development of new entrepreneurs and SME’s;
• providing land for social housing; and
• acquiring land for small entrepreneurs.
2. Cabinet has taken note of the draft 2008-2013 Country Strategy Paper and National Indicative Programme for the 10th European Development Fund, and of the World Bank Country Partnership Strategy which focus on fiscal consolidation, improving public sector efficiency, trade competitiveness, and the investment climate, and on democratising the economy through participation, social inclusion and sustainability.
The Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) provides the agreed framework for a collaborative programme with the World Bank over the years 2007-2013. The objective of the CPS is to assist Government in dealing with short-term trade shocks and transiting to a more competitive and diversified economy, while minimising the social impact.
3. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation had, during his mission to Washington, signed the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement which aims at strengthening and expanding trade ties between US and Mauritius. It, also, provides an opportunity to work more closely on a broad range of trade-related issues, including the WTO Doha Development Round and the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The Agreement, also, makes provisions for the establishment of a Bilateral Trade and Investment Council which would monitor trade and investment relations, identify opportunities for expanding trade and investment, as well as important issues and challenges that the two countries need to address.
4. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the ninth round of talks on the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) held recently with India. Discussions were held on Preferential Trade Agreement; Trade in Services, including Financial Services; General Economic Cooperation with focus on Information Technology and Telecommunications, as well as the CECPA Framework text.
It had been agreed that Mauritius would have, inter alia, –
(i) market access to 150,000 bulk litres of rum and would provide market access to Indian wine for 500,000 bulk litres at 50% preferential tariff;
(ii) duty free market access for three million pieces of garments; and
(iii) tariffs on some 29 tariff lines phased out in four years.
It was, also, agreed to –
(a) both parties cooperating in the implementation of programmes, such as Information Security, e-Governance and e-Business; promoting cooperation on different aspects of the information society; facilitating knowledge sharing, capacity building, research and private joint ventures;
(b) the setting up of an India-Mauritius Infrastructure Development Fund to promote cross-border investment between Mauritius and India, and their respective regions;
(c) undertaking collaborative ventures in the following priority areas: Infrastructure, Health Care and Pharmaceutical, Agriculture and Agro-Industry, Fisheries and Aqua-culture, Tourism, Information and Communication Technology, Industrial and SME development and Financial Services; and
(d) the Indian side engaging in the exploration of oil and gas and other resources in Mauritius and collaborating on the production of Bio-Diesel for energy independence.
5. Following the recent incident at Piton Government School, Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Education & Human Resources would carry out a structural survey of all Government primary and secondary schools with a view to making appropriate recommendations for security of students.
6. In line with the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol which enables developing countries having environment-friendly projects reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to sell their carbon credits to developed countries, Cabinet has taken note of proposals for the acquisition of Certified Emission Reductions generated from bagasse-based energy by “the Compagnie Thermique de Savannah Ltée”. The volume of electricity produced from bagasse would achieve about 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide emission reductions annually.
7. Cabinet has taken note of the energy component of the Multi-Annual Adaptation Strategy 2006 – 2015 and of the exigencies of the Power Sector Capacity Expansion Plan 2006 – 2013, i.e., the timing and sequencing for the setting up of new power plants using bagasse.
8. Cabinet has taken note of the establishment of a Political Consultation Mechanism between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation and the Russian Federation with a view to providing a new dimension and scope for future sectoral bilateral cooperation, including trade and economic issues.
9. Cabinet has taken note of the programme of activities to be organized on 2 November 2006 to commemorate the 172nd Anniversary of the Arrival Indentured Labourers in Mauritius and to mark the inscription of the Aapravasi Ghat as a World Heritage Site.
10. Cabinet has taken note of the activities organised to celebrate Eid-Ul-Fitr at National Level from 1 to 5 November. The activities would comprise inter alia:
(i) Eid gathering at Taher Bagh;
(ii) Naat and Quiraat recitals;
(iii) cultural shows;
(iv) a culinary competition; and
(v) a display of Muslim food.
11. Cabinet has taken note of the activities organized to mark the "Journée Internationale Créole 2006" on 28 October 2006. The programme would comprise, inter alia, –
(i) a Cultural Programme;
(ii) a Fashion Show;
(iii) Traditional Dance; and
(iv) a Carnival.
12. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the G-20 Ministerial Meeting held in September 2006 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The main purpose of the meeting was to exchange views on the state-of-play in the stalled Doha Development Agenda negotiations, to discuss ways and means to put the negotiations back on track while maintaining its central focus on development and to stand prepared technically to participate proactively once negotiations resume.
13. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Mission of the Minister of Arts and Culture to Mozambique and South Africa from 28 September to 5 October 2006 during which he signed Agreements providing for cultural exchanges with these countries.