1. With a view to reducing Government expenditure on the purchase and maintenance of official cars and also to ensuring an efficient management of the fleet of cars in the Police Car Pool, Cabinet has agreed to a few cars presently available in the car pool being sold to public sector organizations and about 30 of them being auctioned out. Each of these cars would be assessed to determine a base price before the auction.
2. Following the concern expressed by the Prime Minister, in his address in the context of the 19th International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, regarding the potential risk and damage that the promotion of alcohol and tobacco may have on our youth population, Cabinet has agreed to the setting up of a National Committee comprising all stakeholders to examine the various aspects and implications of alcohol and tobacco advertisements to youth and sports activities/events and make recommendations. Meanwhile, all the 247 advertisements on alcoholic drinks that are on billboards would be removed as from 7 July 2006.
3. In compliance with the Convention for the International Trade of Endangered Species, to which Mauritius is a signatory, and with a view to protecting the tropical marine environment around Mauritius, Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries would make regulations under the Fisheries and Marine Resources Act 1998, to regulate the removal of corals and shells from the maritime zones of Mauritius. Henceforth no person shall be allowed to remove coral from any maritime zone of Mauritius or to have in his possession for sale any sea-shell unless he holds a permit.
4. As announced by the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance & Economic Development in his Statement made in the National Assembly on "Setting the Stage for Robust Economic Growth" in August 2005, Cabinet has taken note that the Empowerment Fund has been incorporated in May 2006 with a view to providing equity, quasi-equity and guarantee to SME's that have viable business proposals for which banks have approved credit financing for business start-ups, expansions and restructuring or new lines of activities. Cabinet has agreed to Government participating in the Share Capital of the Fund which will be of an amount of Rs200 million to be contributed by Government, SIC, DBM Ltd and commercial banks. The Fund will be operational as from July 2006.
5. Cabinet has taken note that the International Trade Centre is proposing to organize a meeting on “Business for Development – Empowering Business to play a pro-active Role in the WTO Negotiations” in Mauritius on 3 and 4 August 2006 for some 14 Sub-Saharan African countries so as to analyze the impact of negotiations on erosion of preference margins on agricultural and manufactured goods and to come up with forward looking strategies to cope with the emerging situation.
6. Cabinet has taken note that, following a request from the Commonwealth of Learning, the Ministry of Education & Human Resources, in collaboration with the University of Mauritius and the Virtual Centre for Innovation Learning Technologies, will host the Courseware Creation Workshop.
The Workshop which would bring together courseware development specialists from some 15 countries, would provide a showcase for Mauritian expertise and also give a high profile to its development expertise on the international scene, especially in the network of the Small States of the Commonwealth. The course materials worked out during the workshop, would, on completion, be presented at the Fourth Pan African Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning to be held in Jamaica from 30 October to 3 November 2006. The results would also be shared with Commonwealth Ministers of Education at the Commonwealth Conference of Education Ministers to be held in Cape Town in December 2006.
7. Cabinet has taken note of the proposed bilateral air services talks to be held in due course with the Pakistani Authorities in order to review the existing air services arrangements between the two countries.
8. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Civil Service Family Protection Scheme (Amendment) Bill which makes provision for the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and members of the Civil Service Family Protection Scheme Board to hold office for a period of three years, instead of one year. The amendment to the term of office of the Board would bring it in line with what prevails in other similar legislation.
9. In line with Government Programme 2005-2010 to create a more inclusive society where there is equality of treatment before the law and by all agencies whether public or private, Cabinet has agreed to a study on "Poverty, Gender and Social Exclusion in Mauritius" being undertaken. The study which would be a useful basis in the formulation of a comprehensive Master Plan for Poverty Alleviation, would incorporate a National Strategy on the Millennium Development Goals and propose measures to fight poverty and promote social justice and integration, gender equity and human development.
10. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent Session of the International Labour Conference held in Geneva, during which inter alia the following instruments were adopted -
(i) a new Promotional Framework Convention on Occupational Safety and Health and on accompanying Recommendation both of which aim at promoting the development of a preventive safety and health culture;
(ii) a Recommendation on the Employment Relationship which proposes the formulation and adoption by Member States, in consultation with workers and employers, of national policies on effectively establishing the existence of an employment relationship and on the distinction between employed and self-employment workers, combating disguised employment relationships and ensuring standards applicable to all forms of contractual arrangements; and
(iii) two Resolutions, the first concerning exposure to asbestos and elimination of its future use and the second on the need for technical assistance from ILO for the formulation of national policies regarding employment relationship.
In the margin of the Session, the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment met Mr Juan Somavia, the Director-General of the International Labour Office, and the Heads of Sectors/Departments of that Organisation to discuss issues of interest to Mauritius and to see also how Mauritius could benefit from the experience and expertise of ILO in the implementation of the various projects and initiatives of the Ministry.
11. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Conference on Higher Education for Francophone Africa’s Development held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, which focused on three themes pertaining to Higher Education, viz. Diversification of Higher Education, Enhancing Quality in Higher Education and Promoting a common Approach to Higher Education through Regionalisation. The Conference provided a unique platform for Francophone Countries to consider issues pertaining to improving higher education provision in Francophone African Countries, and to explore possibilities to address important concerns in the sector, namely the need to –
(a) improve management at all levels in Higher Education Institutions;
(b) diversify the programme portfolio to better meet the country’s requirements; and
(c) combine regional resources and harmonize programmes in an effort to encourage and strengthen mobility of human resources and promote recognition of qualifications at both regional and international levels.