1. Cabinet has taken note of the report of a study carried out by Consultant International Development Partners Ltd on Mare Chicose Landfill and its social impact. Taking into consideration that landfilling will remain the ultimate disposal requirement whatever alternative waste treatment technology is introduced in the future, Cabinet has agreed to Mare Chicose site being developed into a mega landfill as advised by the Consultant to cater for disposal of waste beyond 2030 and to the residents of Mare Chicose being relocated to another suitable place as expressed by most of them in view of the nuisance and odour associated with the landfill. A Committee under the chairmanship of the Minister of Local Government has been set up to drive and oversee the project including the resettlement of the inhabitants of Mare Chicose.
2.Cabinet has taken note that, in accordance with the provisions of the National Heritage Act, the Minister of Arts and Culture will designate ‘Le Morne’ as National Heritage with a view to paying homage to slaves and to facilitate the designation of the site as World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The area to be designated will be as recommended by Dr G. Abungu, UNESCO Expert, who visited Mauritius recently.
3.In line with Government’s policy to make the fishing industry a major player in the economy, Cabinet has agreed to the new policy in respect of bank fishing activities with a view to boosting up the sector, viz. –
(a) the extension of the moratorium on the supply of mogas to the fishing vessels to ensure that fishing activities on the banks continue;
(b) bank fishing operators using boats powered by inboard diesel engines instead of mogas;
(c) bank fishing operators appointing a Technical Superintendent to supervise all the repairs and maintenance on the fishing vessels to enable the issue of seaworthiness certificates in a smoother manner; and
(d) the setting up of a contributory scheme under the Fisherman Welfare Fund to assist bank fishers during the off-season period.
Cabinet has also agreed to Mauritius becoming a Member of the South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission, established under the FAO Constitution, which would further assist Mauritius in developing regional fishing. The objective of the Commission is to promote the sustainable utilization of living marine resources, with emphasis on fisheries targeted at non-tuna species, through proper management and development of fisheries and fishing operations.
4.Although there has been a substantial increase in the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) on the international market, Cabinet has decided not to pass on the burden to consumers and has agreed to an immediate increase in the price of autogas and LPG (non-domestic) by 43% and for domestic purpose by only 10%.
5.Following the talk the Prime Minister had with the British Prime Minister in the margin of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, Cabinet has taken note that the British Government has agreed to the Chagossians visiting Chagos Archipelago. Arrangements are being made, in collaboration with the British Authorities, for the proposed visit to take place in March/April 2006.
6.Following the record level of tourist arrivals in December 2005, i.e., 90,519 tourists and in order to maintain on that momentum, and with a view to making Mauritius the best island destination in the world as well as the leading tourist industry in the region, Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications would organize ‘Les Assises du Tourisme’ from 9 to 10 February 2006 at Swami Vivekananda Conference Centre, Les Pailles. This event is meant to be an appropriate forum where all stakeholders, both local and international, would have the opportunity to analyse in a critical manner the weaknesses, threats and problems facing our tourism sector and come forward with innovative and practical solutions which would take the shape of a clear set of actions/measures to be implemented over the short and medium term. Mr Francesco Frangialli, Secretary General of World Tourism Organization, would be the Chief Guest, and leading figures in the tourist field and of international renown have been invited to participate in the “Assises”, namely, Mr Kurt Eberhard, President of Swiss Travel Trade Association, and Mr M. Werner Sulberg, Vice-President, Corporate Development, Market Research of Germany.
7. In line with the policy of Government to diversify our tourism product portfolio, and to enhance the attractiveness of the destination, Cabinet has taken note that access to ‘La Citadelle’ would be opened to tourists and Mauritian public as from 1 February 2006 against payment of a fee of Rs 50 per person, excluding old age persons, students under 18 and Associations upon request. The fees collected would be used for the upgrading of ‘La Citadelle’.
8. Government being fully conscious that climate change plays a major role in sustainable development, Cabinet has agreed to Mauritius hosting the 25th Plenary Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from 26 to 28 April 2006. The IPCC, established jointly by the UNEP and the World Meteorological Organisation, aims at assessing factual information on the science and the impact of climate change and at providing guidance on scientific, technical and socio-economic matters to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The 25th Session of the IPCC which is expected to bring together some 500 experts from overseas, will focus on the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories and the impact of climate change on global economies.
9. Taking into consideration the importance of future Economic Partnership Agreement Negotiations and the possibility for Mauritius holding bilateral consultations at highest political level, Cabinet has taken note that the Second Eastern and Southern Africa/European Commission Joint Ministerial Meeting on Economic Partnership Agreement Negotiations would be held in February 2006. The Joint Ministerial Meeting which will be attended by the highest political level of the European Commission, is expected to provide the required momentum to the Economic Partnership Agreement Negotiations with a view to its timely completion in 2007. It will inter alia take stock of the Economic Partnership Agreement Negotiations, discuss specific issues, such as development and fisheries, as well as provide guidance on the structure, prioritization and speeding up of the Negotiations. The Joint Ministerial Meeting will be preceded by an Ambassadors/Senior Officials Negotiating Session and an Eastern and Southern Africa Council of Ministers’ Meeting.
10.Cabinet has also taken note that a high level national workshop on Trade in Services organized by the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on 16 and 17 February 2006. The purpose of the workshop is to sensitize and build awareness among stakeholders on the services negotiations at regional, intra-regional and multilateral levels.
11.Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Fourth Pravasi Bhartiya Divas Conference held in Hyderabad, India from 7 to 9 January 2006. A delegation led by the Minister of Environment & National Development Unit and comprising the Minister of Arts and Culture and the Minister of Housing & Lands attended the Conference which served as a global forum for the social, economic and cultural interaction between India and its Diaspora.
12.Cabinet has taken note that, in line with its strategy to diversify the industrial base and attract new investors, Enterprise Mauritius had organized meetings with relevant stakeholders, including public institutions, medical practitioners and private researchers on the development of economic activities in Mauritius around clinical research insourcing, clinical research data processing and data translation, as well as the development of export-oriented phyto-pharmaceuticals and phyto-well-being products. In the light of the above consultations and discussions, Enterprise Mauritius is –
(i) drawing up a roadmap for the concretization of the economic potential of clinical research insourcing, as well as the clinical research data processing and translation activities; and
(ii) setting up a Business Development Task Force to determine the market feasibility of a short list of potential phyto-pharmaceutical and phyto-well-being products.
13.Cabinet has taken note that, in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Government of the Republic of India and that of Mauritius during the visit of the Prime Minister to India, the Indo-Mauritian Joint Committee on Hydrography met from 9 to 12 January 2006 and approved the program of work of the Indian Vessel, INS Sharvekshak, which has been designated by the Indian Authorities to conduct hydrographic surveys in the Mauritian seas, including –
(i) Deep Water Sampling for the purpose of the Land-based Oceanic Industry;
(ii) a survey of the Grand River North West for the development of a fishing harbour; and
(iii) a survey of the approaches to Port Louis Harbour.
14.Cabinet has taken note that a Forum on the ‘State of the Mauritius Textile and Clothing Sector and the Way Forward’ would be organized by Enterprise Mauritius, in collaboration with the Mauritius Export Processing Zone Association on 2 and 3 February 2006 with a view to devising a 3-year re-engineering plan for the textile and Clothing Sector. Four International Experts, viz. Mr David Birnbaun, American Consultant and Expert in Country Strategy for Government Sector, Mr Rughav Gupta and Mr Harminder Sahni of KSA Technopak India, and Mr Neil Golderg from South Africa, would attend the Forum.
15.Cabinet took note that for the first time treated water from St Martin Treatment Plant had been released for irrigation purposes. The water was normally disposed of in the sea outfall.
16.Cabinet has taken note of the existing process and procedures for the payment of social aid which is prone to fraudulent practices and has agreed -
(i) as a short term measure, to the existing mechanism being reinforced at the level of local Social Security Offices so that only deserving cases benefit from social aid; and
(ii) as a long term measure, to the Management Audit Bureau studying the system of payment of Social Aid with a view to identifying loopholes and proposing practical solutions.
17.Cabinet has taken note of the programme of activities organised to mark the 171st Anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery, namely -
(a) an official function on 1 February 2006 at Point Canon, Mahebourg, which would include a Wreath Laying Ceremony at the ‘Monument aux Esclaves’;
(b) a Cultural Show on 4 February 2006 organised by the Nelson Mandela Centre for African Culture, in collaboration with the Ministry of Arts and Culture, the Black River District Council and other relevant organisations;
(c) the organization of a Miniature Sculpture Competition on the theme ‘Abolition of Slavery’ to be followed by an exhibition at Mauritius Institute from 31 January to 15 February 2006; and
(d) the organization of an exhibition of posters on slavery at Malcolm de Chazal Arts Gallery, Curepipe from 31 January to 3 February 2006.
The Hon Mrs Christiane Taubira, Member of the French National Assembly would be the Chief Guest on the occasion.
18.Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the following Boards/Committees:
(a) the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden Trust with Mr Ashvin Mooneeram as Chairperson.
(b) the Industrial Property Tribunal with Ms Preety Sharmila Bhima as Chairperson;
(c) the Local Government Finance Board with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government as Chairperson.
Cabinet has taken note that recommendations would be made for the following appointments:
(i) Prof Lucien Finette as Director of the Mauritius Examination Syndicate; and
(ii) Mr S. Jeelall as Trade Adviser.