CABINET DECISIONS – 12 DECEMBER 2008
1. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Inter-Ministerial Committee chaired by the Prime Minister on the issue of the new National Identity Card with improved security features inhibiting the possibility of counterfeiting, tampering or duplication. The Committee decided that the Identity Card would be issued by April 2009 and used for the next General Elections. Some information would be visible on the card while others would be on microchips; hologram or kinegram would ensure authenticity of the card. The card would comply with ISO Standards. Appropriate legislations would be amended/proclaimed to give effect to the project.
2. Cabinet has taken note that, for the Republic of Mauritius, a pass rate of 67.43%, as compared to 66.17% for 2007 has been recorded for the CPE 2008 Examination. The percentage of passes for the island of Mauritius and the island of Rodrigues is 67.97% and 55.19% respectively. The pass rate for ZEP schools is 35.39%. Fourteen ZEP schools have performed better than last year though only four have obtained a pass rate above 50%.
Cabinet has further taken note that 19,487 seats are available in all secondary schools for January 2009 intake. 1945 candidates with grade aggregates ranging from 22 to 24 have been allocated seats in the 15 National Colleges.
3. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements being made by the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions for the payment of examination fees to eligible students who would sit for the School Certificate and the Higher School Certificate Examinations in 2009. The eligibility criteria would be the same as in previous years, i.e., -
(a) Eligibility for payment of 100% SC/HSC Examinations Fees
(i) beneficiaries of Social Aid and Unemployment Hardship Relief;
(ii) beneficiaries of Basic Pension who would have benefitted from Social Aid in the absence of such basic pension; and
(iii) parents whose aggregate income does not exceed Rs 7,500.
(b) Eligibility for payment of 50% of SC/HSC Examinations Fees for each child
Parents whose aggregate income is between Rs 7,501 and Rs 10,000 and have more than one child taking part in the SC/HSC Examinations 2009.
(c) First time repeaters in the above categories would also be eligible for payment of examinations fees, where applicable.
Cabinet has further taken note that, for the financial year 2007-2008, an amount of about Rs 62 m was disbursed for the payment of examinations fees in respect of 7,714 SC/HSC students.
4. Cabinet has agreed to the implementation of a 3-year Strategic Plan aiming at enhancing food sufficiency as announced in the Budget Speech 2008-2009. A sum of Rs 1 billion has been provided in the current estimates for the setting up of a Food Security Fund to finance actions that have been provided in the Plan. The Minister of Agro Industry, Food Production and Security would in a press conference give details on the Plan.
5. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements being made by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life for the development of a Diabetes Resource Centre at Souillac Hospital in line with the proposals contained in the National Service Framework for Diabetes and the recommendations made by the international Advisory Committee on Diabetes. In this connection, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life is availing of the services of Professor David Owens, Consultant Diabetologist of Llanddough Hospital, Cardiff and Member of the International Advisory Committee, to develop a model Diabetes Resource Centre. Professor Owens would also assist the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life in -
(a) carrying out an audit of the existing diabetes management services;
(b) extending the retinal screening and podiatry services;
(c) providing a basic structure for development of a multi-disciplinary training programme for health care professionals involved in diabetes care; and
(d) setting up a computer-based record system for diabetes to unify primary and secondary care.
6. Following the outbreak of cholera in Zimbabwe, Cabinet has taken note that surveillance measures have been reinforced by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, particularly at the airport and port. Passengers coming to Mauritius from endemic countries are screened and followed up daily for five days as from their date of arrival. Travellers to endemic countries are being advised to take basic precautions concerning consumption of food and drinks, namely to –
(a) avoid consuming raw vegetables and fruits;
(b) eat cooked food;
(c) avoid buying ready to eat food from street vendors; and
(d) drink only boiled or treated water.
7. Cabinet has taken note that, following the recent reports of the presence of chemical contaminants in certain food products, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life proposes to set up a Food Alert Unit to collect information on a daily basis from the International Food Safety Authorities’ Network and the World Health Organisation Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network and take prompt remedial action.
8. Cabinet has taken note that Beach Soccer, one of the fastest growing professional sports in the world, would be launched in Mauritius on Sunday 14 December 2008, at Mon Choisy public beach by Mr Eric Cantona, renowned football player and founder of Beach Soccer. On the occasion, about 30 players from Reunion Island and France, as well as Mr Geremi Basquaise, Captain of France Beach Soccer Team, would participate in a Gala Beach Soccer Match. FIFA is supporting this initiative. The event will obtain wide international media coverage and will contribute to boost up the tourism sector.
9. Cabinet has agreed to reinforce measures to counter anti-piracy with a view to protecting further Mauritian artists/authors.
10. Cabinet has taken note that the Specialised Pre-Primary School for Visually Impaired Children, located at the seat of the Loïs Lagesse Trust Fund, which was inaugurated on 10 December 2008, has been named after Mrs Nadia Pyndia in recognition to her contribution for the welfare and employment of the blind in Mauritius. Mrs Pyndia became blind at the age of 13. She followed further studies at the Royal National Institute for the Blind in U.K. On her return to Mauritius in 1960, she joined the Loïs Lagesse Trust Fund, then known as Society for the Welfare of the Blind, as volunteer, where she initiated Braille and special education to the blind. She was later employed by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Human Resources as Braille Instructor. She also pioneered the introduction of white canes in Mauritius.
11. Cabinet has agreed to Mauritius signing the Notice of Acceptance to the amendments to the Convention establishing a Customs Cooperation Council, commonly known as World Customs Organisation, to enable any economic or customs union, including the European Community, to become a full-fledged member of the Council. The European Community has, since 2001, expressed its interest to accede to the World Customs Organisation. The accession of the European Community, as a full-fledged member, would not only be beneficial to the Organisation but also pave the way for other regional organisations, such as COMESA and SADC.
12. Cabinet has taken note of project proposals for the construction of two additional storage tanks of 5,000 MT capacity each for Liquefied Petroleum Gas with a view to increasing stock days to 54.
13. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat is organising a national workshop on Intellectual Property Rights from 12 to 14 January 2009. The objective of the Workshop is to enhance the skills and expertise of the staff of the Industrial Property Office, the International Trade Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, as well as other stakeholders involved with intellectual property rights protection in Mauritius, on matters relating to the implementation and enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights.
14. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade to Lusaka, Zambia, where he participated in the 25th Meeting of the COMESA Council of Ministers and the ESA Ministerial Meeting on the Economic Partnership Agreement Negotiations. The theme of the COMESA Council of Ministers Committee was "Consolidating Regional Economic Integration through Value Addition, Trade and Food Security".
The COMESA Council of Ministers, inter alia, -
(a) reviewed the implementation of the main areas of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme whose overall objective was to reduce poverty by half by the year 2015 in line with Millennium Development Goals;
(b) took note of the report on the setting up of COMESA Trading Houses; one of the trading houses would be set up in Mauritius;
(c) agreed to the proposal of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade for a programme to support the restructuring and modernisation of the textiles and clothing sector
in the COMESA Region aimed at increasing productivity and competitiveness; and
(d) endorsed that Mauritius would host the COMESA Fund.
The ESA Ministerial Meeting took note of the report of the mission which the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade led to several European Capitals in September 2008 to seek the support of EU Member States on the development dimension of the Economic Partnership Agreement and of progress made in the negotiations at technical levels.
15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment from 20 to 25 October 2008 to Senegal where he participated in the “International Symposium on the Formalisation of Informal Economy”. The object of the Symposium was to examine how best the good practices that have been emerging in the different regions could enable the transition of the informal sector to formalisation. The following issues, which are considered as the underlying causes of informality and barriers to the entry of the informal sector, were discussed -
(a) Decent Work;
(b) Legal Framework;
(e) Skills and Vocational Training; and
(f) Social Protection.
16. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of -
(a) the National Housing Development Company Ltd with Mr Chooramun Ashutosh Avinash Gunput as Chairperson; and
(b) the Export Processing Zone Labour Welfare Fund Board with the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment as Chairperson.
Cabinet has further taken note that the contracts of Mr Shamin Peerally as Managing Director of the National Housing Development Company Ltd and of Mr Harry Kissoon Booluck, CSK as General Manager of the Central Water Authority have been renewed.