CABINET DECISIONS – 08 AUGUST 2008
1. Cabinet has taken note of the outstanding performance of the Mauritian team in the Sixth CJSOI (Commission de la Jeunesse et des Sports de l’Ocean Indien) Games held in the Seychelles from 27 July to 02 August 2008, where Mauritius came out first with a total of 65 medals, viz. 24 gold, 23 silver and 18 bronze. With the exception of basketball, the Mauritian team won medals in all disciplines of the Games.
2. Cabinet has agreed to a request of the Parent Teachers’ Association of Bambous “A” Government Primary School to rename the school after the legendary South African Leader, Nelson Mandela, as a sign of recognition to his contribution to the cause of humanity and democracy.
3. In view of the fact that both Mauritius and the Seychelles have overlapping claims on the Extended Continental Shelf on part of the Mascarene Plateau, Cabinet has, as an interim arrangement without prejudice to the final delimitation of the zone, agreed to the setting up of a Mauritius/Seychelles High-Level Joint Management Committee to co-manage the common area of the Extended Continental Shelf, which both States intend to claim through a joint submission to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. In the meantime, the services of three Consultants have been provided by the Commonwealth Secretariat to assist both Mauritius and the Seychelles in working out the joint submission to the Commission.
4. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the South Mauritius Water Supply Project. Following a feasibility study carried out, the Consultants have recommended the construction of a reservoir at Rivière des Anguilles which is the most suitable and most competitive site to harness additional water resources to meet water demand for both irrigation and potable uses up to the year 2050. An in-depth study of the selected site would shortly be carried out.
5. Cabinet has taken note that the National Pensions (Increase in Pensions) Regulations, the National Pensions (Pension Points) (Amendment) Regulations, the National Pensions (Industrial Injuries) (Amendment) Regulations and the National Pensions (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations would be promulgated to provide for the annual increase in Contributory Pensions, Disablement Pension & Survivor’s Pension to prevent erosion of the purchasing power of beneficiaries. The rate of increase is the same as that applied annually to wages and salaries in the public and private sectors.
6. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Eighth Session of the Seychelles-Mauritius Commission on Bilateral Cooperation held in Mauritius, on 10 July 2008. During the session, discussions centred on new avenues of cooperation that would enable the Seychelles and Mauritius to cope with the daunting challenges of globalisation and liberalisation in addition to continuing with capacity building programmes. Both sides have agreed to work together in the regional context and the international fora on the following issues:-
(i) early operationalisation of the Aid for Trade and the COMESA Fund to implement Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and unlock growth through the implementation of wider reforms and trade related infrastructure;
(ii) consolidation of the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles (CMMS) group to better respond to the common needs in the region, specifically in the context of the EPA with the EU with a focus of preserving the competitiveness of the tuna canning industry;
(iii) setting up of a Regional Multidisciplinary Centre of Excellence to build capacity for improved decision-making process in economic policy management; and
(iv) greater cooperation in the areas of environment protection and preservation, and surveillance of our Exclusive Economic Zones through the IOC regional programmes.
The Commission has also agreed to a new Exchange Programme, which would build capacity in core areas, such as regional security, port, higher education and vocational training, standards and quality, water resources management, agriculture, and fisheries cooperation.
7. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the missions of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance & Economic Development to the USA where he attended the 7th AGOA Forum.
The 7th AGOA Forum discussed, inter alia, -
(a) the extension of the provision of the third country fabric;
(b) measures to help alleviate the consequences of the food crisis; and
(c) the importance of investment climate reform as the main component of economic reform in African countries.
Following the lobbying efforts, the Mauritian derogation had been included in the Dominican Republic Bill which was adopted by the US House of Representatives and which makes Mauritius eligible to LDC status for a period of 4 years from 2008.
In the margins of the Meeting, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance & Economic Development had discussions, inter alia, with Mr Jim Swan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, on the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between Mauritius and the USA as well as on the rules of origin for exports of Mauritian tuna to the US.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance & Economic Development also attended the Mini Ministerial Meeting of the WTO. The main objective of the Mini Ministerial Meeting was to facilitate consensus-building on outstanding issues in Agriculture and NAMA modalities. The consultations focused on six key elements in agriculture (overall trade-distorting support, cotton, market access formula for developed countries, sensitive products, special products and special safeguard mechanism) and three key issues in NAMA (formula and flexibilities, anti-concentration clause and sectoral initiatives). In addition, consultations were also pursued on a number of other issues including preferences in agriculture, tropical products, in-quota rates, tariff capping, export competition, export restrictions and prohibitions, preference erosion in NAMA and problems of disproportionately affected countries.
8. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Information Technology & Telecommunications to South Africa from 27 to 30 July 2008 where he attended Govtech 2008, an annual event organized by the State Information Technology Agency in collaboration with a number of lead ICT stakeholders. The prime objective of Govtech is to promote a high level interactive forum for discussion with an audience of over 600 public sector decision makers involved in the use of information technology to improve service delivery.
In the margins of the meeting, the Minister of Information Technology & Telecommunications met, inter alia, -
(i) The Hon Ms Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Minister for Public Service and Administration of South Africa when he finalised the 3 particular IT solutions, namely e-health, e-justice and e-procurement. A Memorandum of Understanding on the IT solutions would be signed in October 2008.
(ii) Mr Abdool Rahman Al Thehaiban, Vice-President of Oracle Middle East and Africa and Mr Fadi Abdulkhalek, Vice-President of Oracle Systems Ltd (Public Service Industries) with whom he discussed, inter alia, the setting up of First African Regional Centre of Excellence, and the use of Mauritius as a training centre.
(iii) The representatives of AMD, the second manufacturer of computer processes in the world, with whom he finalised a Memorandum of Understanding to be signed shortly for the provision of the following –
(a) 100,000 PCs to the Mauritian population at a cost lower than Rs 10,000, inclusive of CPU, keyboard, screen and mouse;
(b) support in implementing a Partnership Technology Access (PTA) project; and
(c) provision of processors, chipset solution and graphic cards at a preferential price.
9. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Residential Regional Conference organized by NATReSA, in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions and the Indian Ocean Commission, in June 2008, in the context of the 21st International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Participants from Comoros, Madagascar, the Seychelles, Reunion Island as well as Rodrigues also attended the Conference.
The main objectives of the Conference were to:
(i) enhance regional cooperation;
(ii) share experiences and best practices;
(iii) create networks in the region to combat substance abuse and illicit trafficking; and
(iv) promote bilateral cooperation among member countries of the Indian Ocean.
The Conference recommended, inter alia, :
(i) the setting up of an “Observatoire pour combattre l’offre et la demande des drogues dans l’Océan Indien” under the aegis of the Indian Ocean Commission;
(ii) the setting up of a communication network at regional and national levels;
(iii) the setting up of a surveillance system at the level of police and customs in each member-country of the Indian Ocean Commission; and
(iv) the dissemination of information among different stakeholders.
10. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the Board of the Mauritius Film Development Corporation with Mr Christian Nayna as Chairperson.