CABINET DECISIONS – 07 November 2008
1. Cabinet has taken note that the President of the Republic, on the advice of the Prime Minister given after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition, has appointed Mr John Davies as Executive Director of the Competition Commission of Mauritius on a contract basis for a period of two years. Mr John Davies, presently Chief Economist at the Competition Commission of the United Kingdom, has accepted the offer of appointment. Mr Davies proposes to start work on 26 January 2009.
2. Cabinet has taken note that, following discussions that the Prime Minister had with President Sarkozy on the Tromelin issue during his recent visit to France, a meeting of Officials would be convened shortly in Mauritius to discuss the models of “co-gestion” of the Tromelin Island and its surrounding waters without prejudice to the position of Mauritius on the sovereignty over the island.
3. Cabinet has agreed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade signing a Memorandum of Understanding on Economic Cooperation with the Republic of South Africa. The Memorandum of Understanding, which constitutes an essential framework for strengthening mutual economic ties, as well as promoting investment, industry and trade cooperation between Mauritius and South Africa, provides, inter alia, for -
(a) the sensitization of potential South African investors by the South African Department of Trade and Industry on the establishment, completion and/or rehabilitation of projects in sectors of energy, mining, transport and communications, agro-processing, tourism, commercial farming, processing of natural resources, financial services, ICT, marine and seafood, knowledge and health, fashion and textile, and manufacturing;
(b) the identification of potential South African investors in the ICT sector;
(c) the promotion of tariff reduction and the gradual elimination of non-tariff barriers and removal of possible technical barriers to trade by both countries in line with the provisions of the SADC Trade Protocol; and
(d) the development of industrial and technological cooperation between private sector enterprises and organizations of both countries in various fields.
4. Cabinet has agreed to the implementation of the Cyclone and Other Natural Disasters Schemes for 2008-2009, prepared in collaboration with all stakeholders and setting out the role and responsibilities of Ministries/Departments/organisations, in terms of general preparedness, and action to be taken during and in the aftermath of a cyclone, a torrential rain, a landslide and a Tsunami.
Cabinet has further taken note that the interim recommendations of the Fact Finding Committee, chaired by the Hon Judge S. Domah of the Supreme Court, to enquire and report, inter alia, on the warning and other public sensitization systems in place in Mauritius in relation to extreme weather conditions and their adequacy and appropriateness as well as on the existing preventive or relief measures relating to such weather conditions, have been incorporated in the Torrential Rain Emergency Scheme. These relate to, inter alia, effective and timely flood warnings, vesting of some discretion to head of educational institutions to close schools, adoption of an orderly and disciplined system for commuters in times of flood.
Cabinet has also taken note that, following the intervention of the Prime Minister, a Consortium of international agencies has released funds, inter alia, for the installation of Ocean Monitoring Equipment in Agalega and St. Brandon and the provision of radio equipment to fishers for early warning at sea.
Cabinet has also taken note that the Ministry of Local Government, Rodrigues and Outer Islands, and the Ministry of Environment and National Development Unit, with the assistance of the Local Authorities, would review flood prone areas, establish the extent and causes of flooding and initiate remedial action accordingly. The Central Electricity Board and the Local Authorities would step up lopping of branches in order to avoid damage to electric lines and massive obstruction of roads resulting from the passage of a cyclone.
5. Cabinet has taken note that, in view of the high prevalence of Non-Communicable Diseases, and complications arising thereof, i.e., cardiovascular diseases, renal problems, eye-related diseases and lower limb amputations, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life is operating a Medical Clinic Service islandwide at community level and at a time convenient to the community. The Mobile Clinic targets to screen and sensitize about 100,000 persons each year, thus decrease the pressure at the Accident and Emergency Departments in hospitals. Moreover, about 500 community leaders would be trained to act as peer educators to further enhance the quality of health care delivery and the quality of life of the community.
6. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, in collaboration with other stakeholders, would organise the following activities to mark World Diabetes Day 2008 centred around the theme “Diabetes in Children and Adolescents”-
(a) a rally comprising fun run and march from Vacoas to the Municipal Council of Quatre Bornes;
(b) a Workshop on “Endocrinology and Childhood Diabetes”, facilitated by Dr (Mrs) Carol Singer-Granick, Professor in Endocrinology and Childhood Diabetes from the USA;
(c) a sensitization programme on television on the theme “Diabète et Les pieds”;
(d) Regional Workshops on Prevention and Control of Diabetes with focus on children and adolescents health;
(e) sensitization programmes at worksites with exhibitions and demonstrations;
(f) a workshop for food handlers on the preparation of diabetes-free snacks/food; and
(g) community-based activities throughout Mauritius including:
• talks in Area Health Centres, Community Health Centres and other community outlets with different target groups
• cooking demonstrations and healthy food display for housewives/women
• regional exhibitions
• special continuous medical education sessions for health personnel on diabetes treatment and control.
7. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Construction Industry Development Board Bill which aims at consolidating and improving the law relating to the regulation of the construction industry.
The main objects of the Bill are to -
(a) establish the Construction Industry Development Board as the regulatory body administered by a Council comprising representatives from different sectors of the construction industry; and
(b) provide for the mandatory registration of contractors and consultancy firms operating in the construction industry.
The registration exercise will match capability of consultancy firms and contractors with the type and complexity of works thereby reducing risk of poor quality works and ensuring improved performance, efficiency and competitiveness in the construction industry for the benefit of clients undertaking construction works.
Provision has been made for small contractors and individuals undertaking minor construction works and services to be exempted from the mandatory registration.
8. Cabinet has taken note of measures initiated to support operators in the Export-Oriented Enterprises Sector, viz.-
(a) The Manufacturing Adjustment and SME Development Fund has approved nine projects pertaining to export promotion and development amounting to Rs93 million and 19 projects relating to restructuring of manufacturing enterprises, including textiles and clothing amounting to Rs212.4 million.
(b) A Task Force has been set up to optimize on opportunities arising out of the AGOA derogation. A workshop was held on 21 October 2008 with operators already exporting on the US market to sensitize them on opportunities being generated under the AGOA derogation.
(c) An Export Manual to assist new companies to export to different markets is under preparation.
(d) In an attempt to support marketing efforts of companies, Enterprise Mauritius is now financing cost of stands in international fairs led by Enterprise Mauritius. Financial assistance would also be extended to medium-sized export-oriented companies for marketing trips with a maximum of 6 trips per year.
(e) Desk research is ongoing for prospection of new markets, such as Australia, Russia, Italy, and Scandinavian and Gulf countries.
9. Cabinet has agreed to Mauritius submitting its candidature for re-election to the Human Rights Council for the period 2009-2012. By seeking re-election to the Council, Mauritius has a unique opportunity to demonstrate, once again its commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights, both at national and international levels.
The Human Rights Council is responsible for promoting universal respect for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. It also addresses situations of violations of human rights and undertakes a universal periodic review of the fulfillment by each state of human rights obligations and commitments.
10. Cabinet has taken note that the new UNDP Mauritius Country Programme Document 2009 – 2011, approved by the UNDP Executive Board in September 2008, is anchored in the 10-year national economic reform programme with focus on capacity development in the following four strategic initiatives -
(a) Empowerment Programme;
(b) ‘Zone d’ Education Prioritaire’ (ZEP) School Educational Programme;
(c) Programme-Based Budgeting (PBB) and development of sector strategies; and
(d) Environment protection, energy and management of natural resources.
Under the new Programme, the UN agencies would provide technical and financial resources for the implementation of a number of projects, including those relating to human rights and good governance.
11. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of Sixth Senior Officials' Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in Egypt from 18 to 19 October 2008. The Meeting reviewed a report, presented by the Secretary General of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the Forum, on the implementation of follow-up actions of the Beijing Summit in November 2006 and discussed proposals for the development of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. China and African countries have conducted vigorous economic and trade cooperation and have carried out cooperation in the fields of social development, culture, sports, science and technology, civil aviation and tourism. The Meeting agreed to identify key areas to deepen the China-Africa strategic partnership with a view to improving the livelihood of Africa people.
12. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Industry, Science and Research from 26 to 28 October, 2008 to South Africa where he attended the meeting of the Conference of African Ministers of Industry. The main issue discussed at the Meeting was the Action Plan for the Accelerated Industrialisation of Africa, which focuses on seven clusters namely, Industrial Policy and Institutional Framework, Upgrading Trade Capacities, Promoting Infrastructure and Energy Development, Industrial Innovation Systems, Research and Development and Technological Development, Financing and Resource Mobilisation and Sustainable Development for responsible Industrialisation.
In the margins of the Conference, the Minister of Industry, Science and Research discussed bilateral matters with the Minister of Trade and Industry of South Africa, and delegations from Mozambique and Namibia.
13. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions from 27 to 31 October 2008 to Namibia where she attended the First Session of the African Union (AU) Conference of Ministers in Charge of Social Development held in Windhoek.
The main objectives of the Conference were to:
(a) review and adopt a Social Policy Framework for Africa;
(b) share and exchange good practices on social development in Member States; and
(c) adopt recommendations to enhance social development in Africa and promote the rights and welfare of the most vulnerable groups.
The Conference adopted the following main documents:
(i) The Social Policy Framework;
(ii) The Windhoek Declaration on Social Development; and
(iii) The African Common position on Social Integration to constitute Africa’s Contribution to the 47th UN Commission on Social development to be held in New York in February 2009.
14. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Education, Culture and Human Resources to Brussels, Belgium where he participated in the Second ACP Ministers of Education meeting from 22 to 23 October, 2008.
The objectives of the Meeting were to:
a) take stock of the needed interventions for the implementation of the 2006 Brussels Framework for Action on Education for Sustainable Development in ACP States;
(b) reflect on the progress made by ACP States in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals;
(c) examine the mechanisms for resource mobilisation required to implement strategies that could be effectively utilised;
(d) re-affirm intra-ACP cooperation at the political level, in support of regional collaboration in key areas of education as a vehicle for sustainable development in ACP States and regions; and
(e) propose new initiatives for intra-ACP cooperation in the education sector.
The Meeting laid emphasis, inter alia, on the following issues –
(a) the promotion of pre-primary education as well as education for vulnerable groups, including children with special education needs;
(b) mobility of skills through intra-ACP and South South Cooperation Programmes; and
(c) development of framework to facilitate recognition and equivalence of qualifications across ACP States and internationally.
15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Civil Service and Administrative Reforms to South Africa where he attended the 6th Pan-African Conference of Ministers for Public/Civil Service held from 13 to 15 October 2008.
The main objectives of the Conference, which had as theme, "Capacity Building for the Future Capability of the African Public Service," were to –
(a) create a link between the African Development Agenda, Governance and Public Administration in the continent;
(b) tackle common concerns and capacity developmental challenges related to Governance and Public Administration;
(c) share knowledge and best practices amongst Member States; and
(d) identify developmental priority areas for intervention.
16. Cabinet has taken note that the Mauritius Film Development Corporation (MFDC) and the Mahatma Gandhi Institute organised a workshop on “Essentials of Documentary Film Making” from 31 October to 04 November 2008. The Workshop forms part of the Strategic Plan 2008-2013 of the MFDC which aims at creating a structured and well-organised Mauritian film industry. The workshop was carried out by Mrs Shundell Prasad-Jha, producer of short films with expertise in film and video production and editing.