1. In line with the national strategy of transforming Mauritius into a Knowledge Hub and a Centre of Higher Learning with a view to broadening its economic base, Cabinet has agreed to the dissemination of the National Policy Framework for the establishment of tertiary institutions in Mauritius. The National Policy Framework which is consistent with international practices provides inter alia that:
(i) the institution wishing to set up a branch in Mauritius shall either be a recognized or an accredited university/deemed university in its country;
(ii) the branch campus shall be serviced inter alia by members of academic staff of the parent campus;
(iii) the institution shall ensure that the programme(s) run and the award(s) made at the branch campus are similar to those offered in its parent campus and have the same recognition status by the parent institution and the home country; and
(iv) the institution shall ensure that the same academic quality and standards are prevailing at the branch campus.
Accordingly, with a view to accelerating the process of making Mauritius a Knowledge Hub and Centre of Higher Learning, Cabinet has also agreed to the procedures for processing applications received from promoters being streamlined.
2. Cabinet has taken note of the deteriorating state of housing units in a number of ex-CHA Housing Estates and agreed to the owners of those housing units being advised on possible remedial measures including the possibility of taking advantage of housing loan schemes put up by the Mauritius Housing Corporation Ltd.
3. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Certificate of Morality Bill which provides for a statutory basis for the delivery of Certificates of Morality by the Director of Public Prosecutions. The Bill also provides that the Certificate of Morality shall cover a period of only 10 years preceding the date of issue.
4. In the context of the fight against mosquito-borne diseases, Cabinet has taken note that the distribution of anti-mosquito repellents throughout the island would continue on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 April 2006 from 1000 to 1100 hours at the various Social Welfare Centres, Village Halls and Community Centres.
5. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries proposes to make regulations under the Plants Act in order to release two new sugar cane varieties, viz., the M 2238/89 and the M 2593/92.
The M 2238/89 which is a high-yielding variety with medium sucrose content and fairly high fibre content, would be released in 2006 for middle and late harvest for the superhumid zone. The variety is resistant to yellow spot, smut and leaf scald. The M 2593/92 is also a high-yielding variety with, however, above average sucrose content for early and middle/late harvest for the subhumid zone. The variety is resistant to gumming, smut and leaf scald.
6. Cabinet has taken note that the UNDP of Mauritius has agreed to donate a sum of around Rs7 Million for the elaboration and implementation of a National Human Rights Strategy for Mauritius. As part of the National Human Rights Strategy, a National Action Plan which would be prepared, would –
(i) provide for a calendar of activities and target all stakeholders involved in the promotion and protection of Human Rights; and
(ii) ensure that the Human Rights Centre becomes operational and thus becomes a converging point for all the relevant stakeholders.
7. In line with the Government’s strategy to develop and promote the service sector and taking into account the vital importance of the maritime transport to the economy, Cabinet has agreed to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping undertaking a study on the maritime sector which would lead to the implementation of a project to :-
(i) enable the expansion and strengthening of the maritime transport sector;
(ii) ensure timely imports and exports of essential commodities;
(iii) reduce reliance/dependence on foreign shipping companies; and
(iv) alleviate the burden of increasing freight rates which have a negative impact on foreign trade.
8. Inasmuch as the disused wastewater treatment plant at La Brasserie represents a potential source of danger to the public and in particular to the inhabitants of that region, Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Public Utilities would arrange for the demolition of the wastewater treatment plant.
9. In line with the Government Programme 2005-2010 to develop a sports culture amongst the citizens of the country, Cabinet has agreed to the Ministry of Youth & Sports signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Education & Human Resources with a view to providing to the public and sports clubs greater access to and utilisation of sports infrastructure in State Secondary Schools. Members of the public and the sports clubs would have access to sports infrastructure in State Secondary Schools during weekends and on public holidays against payment of a nominal fee and a Coordinating Committee would be set up to monitor the project.
In the first instance, the project will be implemented on a pilot basis in 10 State Secondary Schools.
10. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Youth & Sports would, this year, organise a series of activities at both regional and national level to mark the 40th Anniversary of the National Youth Achievement Award in Mauritius. The activities which would be spread over a period of six months starting May 2006, would comprise inter alia the Gold Award Presentation, the launching of Website as well as the publication of commemorative magazine, a Mobile National Exhibition and the Presentation of Certificates of Recognition to Award Volunteers by His Royal Highness Prince Edward who is expected to be in Mauritius in October 2006.
The Award which was first introduced in 1956 in the United Kingdom by His Royal Highness Prince Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, is designed for young persons in the age group of 14 to 25 years with a view to providing them with the opportunity to learn about responsibility, self reliance, perseverance, discipline, challenge, personal achievement and community service.
11. Cabinet has taken note of the new Strategic Plan of the Export Processing Zone Labour Welfare Fund for the period 2006-2010. The strategies, which underscore the new Plan, focus inter alia on –
(i) consolidating and extending existing support services and introducing new services which would further improve the quality of life of EPZ workers;
(ii) enhancing skills development and capacity building of the workers to sustain productivity and employability;
(iii) extending, through additional scholarships, educational support and training to a larger number of children of EPZ workers; and
(iv) promoting greater awareness of health and safety issues.
12. In view of the increase in the number of squatters reported since 2001 on State lands, including those earmarked for various Government projects, Cabinet has agreed to the setting up of a multi-sectoral Committee under the Chairmanship of the Ministry of Housing & Lands to address this problem in a concerted manner and to submit clear recommendations for implementation.
13. Cabinet has agreed to the Central Statistics Office conducting a Census of Economic Activities in the Islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues from January 2007 to July 2009 with 2007 as reference year. The primary objective of the Census is to collect data on the operating characteristics and structure of all economic activities with a view to obtaining benchmark data for computing National Accounts estimates. It is an important exercise for updating the structure of National Accounting in the country and estimating the contribution of “small” establishments in the overall economy. The data collected are needed for sound economic policy decisions, particularly in a context where the country is facing the adverse effects of globalisation.
14. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent visit of the Minister of Public Utilities to Kuwait and Abu Dhabi. The aims of the visit to these two countries were to –
(i) establish contact with the authorities of the Utility Sector for future
co-operation between their respective utility organizations and the Ministry of Public Utilities; and
(ii) discuss the possibilities of securing funding for projects in the water and wastewater sectors.
Following the visit, representatives of the Kuwait Fund have expressed their willingness to provide funds for the implementation of a Rapid Gravity Filtration Plant Project at Pailles as well as for the extension of the Rapid Gravity Filtration Plant at La Nicolière.
15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent official visits of the Minister of Information Technology & Communications to -
(i) Oman from 1 to 3 April 2006 where he attended the First World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The objective of the meeting was to bring together corporate, government and civil society leaders from across the world to inter alia:
(a) discuss successful public/private partnerships to create global prosperity;
(b) explore how innovation can benefit humanity and improve social inclusion; and
(c) share reports from entrepreneurs on innovative clusters and successful pilots.
During his visit to Oman, the Minister of Information Technology & Communications met inter alia HE Maqbool Bin Ali Sultan, the Minister of Commerce and Industry as well as Mr Mohamed Nasser Al Khasibi, Chairman of the IT Executive Council in Oman and explored avenues of cooperation in the field of Information Technology and other sectors as well; and
(ii) Paris where he participated in ‘Le Salon Européen des Centres de Contacts et de la Relation Client’ from 4 to 6 April 2006 and had business meetings with CEOs and top officials from the public and private sector organisations in the ICT Sector on 6 and 7 April 2006.
The ‘Salon Européen des Centres de Contacts et de la Relation Client’ which is an annual major exhibition and conference that brings under the same roof countries and regions offering facilities for call centre and customer relation management, attracted more than 160 exhibitors and around 8,000 business visitors. The contacts and the presentations made by the Minister have aroused the awareness of potential investors on outsourcing possibilities that exist in Mauritius.
16. Cabinet has taken note of the appointment of Mrs Shakuntala Hawoldar as Chairperson and the reconstitution of the Board of the President's Fund for Creative Writing in English.
17. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the Board of Film Censors with Mr Jugdish Ramgutty Seebundhun as Chairperson.