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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 23 May 2008

Cabinet Decisions taken on 23 May 2008

1.Cabinet has taken note that Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam,G.C.S.K, Prime Minister, has, on behalf of Government, presented a cheque to the tune of US$300,000 to HE Mr Gao Yuchen, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China as a symbolic contribution to help in the reconstruction process following the massive earthquake which hit the Province of Sichuan recently. He also signed the book of condolences placed at the Chinese Embassy and sent a message of sympathy to the President of the People’s Republic of China, HE Mr Hu Jintao.

2. Cabinet has agreed to the recommendations of the National Pay Council for the payment of a salary compensation as follows :-

Monthly Wage/Salary Compensation Rate
Up to Rs 3,500 8.1%
Rs 3,501 - Rs 6,500 Rs 300
Rs 6,501 - Rs 8,000 Rs 350
Above Rs 8,000 Rs 400
Government, however, strongly urges performing sectors, which have the ability, to pay a rate of compensation higher than what has been decided by the Council.

3. Cabinet has taken note that the Certificate of Primary Education (CPE) Examinations would be held from Tuesday 21 to Friday 24 October 2008.
About 25,886 candidates have been registered in Mauritius, including Rodrigues and Agalega, out of which 24,065 are school-going candidates and 1,821 private candidates.
The CPE results would be released on Thursday 11 December 2008 and registration for admission in Form I and prevocational stream would be on Wednesday 17 December 2008.

4. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the implementation of Phase II of the Northern Plains Irrigation Project which covers a total area of 3500 hectares out of which 2100 hectares belong to small planters.

5. Cabinet has agreed to Mauritius endorsing the Statement of Principles of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism which aims at improving accounting, control and physical protection of nuclear and radioactive materials and substances; enhancing security of nuclear facilities; suppressing illicit trafficking in such materials; preventing safe haven to terrorists; strengthening national regulatory framework that would target criminal acts of terrorists; improving technological capabilities of participants in the Initiative as well as sharing of information on nuclear terrorism. The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, launched in July 2006, provides a forum where a member country can avail of cooperation to prevent its territory and financial system from being used for activities that may lead to nuclear terrorism.

6. Cabinet has agreed to the holding of a Legal Conference on "Working Together in a Democracy: The Executive, The Judiciary and The Legal Profession" from 19 to 26 September 2009 in Mauritius. The Conference will be attended by eminent Judges and Barristers from England, as well as from the SADC region of Africa. The Conference will progress further capacity building in the legal profession as a whole and judicial training for the Judges of the region.

7. Cabinet has taken note of the organisation in Mauritius of a seminar on International Commercial Arbitration from 2 to 4 June 2008. In view of the fact that Government is promoting regional and international trade, commercial dispute resolution mechanism is being put in place to enhance the confidence of the business community and investors and to facilitate the resolution of commercial disputes rapidly in a transparent and organized manner. Eminent judges, members of the Asia Pacific Jurist Association (APJA), comprising, inter alia, the Hon Chief Justice Vijender Jain of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana and the Hon Chief Justice S.S. Nijjar of the High Court of West Bengal, would attend the seminar. The principal role of APJA is to provide a forum to members of the legal profession and associated fields in the Asia Pacific Region to meet, interact to operate and share their experiences and provide insight into the different legal systems. The interaction between the Association and the legal Profession of Mauritius will be of mutual benefit to both countries and also present an opportunity to explore the topics on which discussions can be held between the members of the legal fraternity of both countries.

8. Cabinet has taken note that the first phase of the Mauritian Sign Language (MSL) Project has been completed in December 2007 with the following achievements –
(a) publication of the first volume of MSL Dictionary;
(b) introduction of MSL in pre-primary and primary schools for the deaf;
(c) production of a MSL version of National Anthem;
(d) launching of weekly news bulletin in MSL on TV; and
(e) training of interpreters/teachers, news presenters and parents in MSL.
Cabinet has further taken note that the World Federation of the Deaf has agreed to delegate two international resource persons to evaluate the first phase of the Project and advise on how to proceed with the second phase, viz. -
(i) Mr Ron Brouilette who has worked with a number of Governments (India, Angola, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Philippines, Nepal, etc.) in the elaboration of Sign Languages, the development of teacher – training courses and the production of hearing-aids; and
(ii) Dr Daniel D. Burch, PhD who has a wide experience in sign language interpretation.

9. Cabinet has taken note of the recommendations of the National Remuneration Board regarding the Blockmaking, Construction, Stone Crushing and Related Industries and that the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment would make new Remuneration Order Regulations incorporating those recommendations. The main recommendations of the National Remuneration Board are, inter alia,
(a) an average wage increase of 20% to the different categories of workers;
(b) 6 days’ leave, on full pay, on the occasion of the worker’s first civil or religious marriage;
(c) 3 days’ leave, on full pay, on the occasion of the marriage of a worker’s child or the death of his spouse, child, father, mother, brother or sister;
(d) 1 working day’s leave on the occasion of the birth of a child, limited to the first three children;
(e) increase in meal allowance from Rs35 to Rs50;
(f) increase in the eligibility period for gratuity at death or on retirement before the age of 60 on medical ground from 5 years to 10 years;
(g) optional retirement at the age of 55 with payment of severance allowance; and
(h) payment of wages of monthly paid workers being made not later than the last working day of the month.

10. Cabinet has taken note that the Mauritius Standards Bureau would launch -
(a) the National Information Security Management System Certification Scheme based on ISO/IEC 27001 which provides measures to manage risks and handle incidents that suit the business activities; and
(b) the National Environmental Management System Certification Scheme, based on ISO/14001, which specifies requirements for an organisation to develop and implement policies and objectives, taking into account legal and other requirements to which an organisation subscribes to reduce the impact of its activities on environment.
Cabinet has further taken note of the promulgation of the Mauritius Standards Bureau (National Systems Certification Scheme) Regulations which provide for the organizational structure, responsibilities, procedures, processes and resources for compliance with the appropriate National Management Systems Certification Schemes.

11. Cabinet has taken note that, as recommended in the National Curriculum Framework, the Ministry of Education & Human Resources would implement a Diagnostic Assessment in English and Mathematics for all pupils of Standard III from 26 to 30 May 2008. The Diagnostic Assessment is a novel pedagogical tool, essential for teachers to identify the learning difficulties, weaknesses as well as the strengths of pupils. It also gives the teacher indications as to the achievement of curricular objectives, and enables him to work out remedial strategies for students who lag behind. The Scheme would, at an initial stage, target two subjects, viz. English and Mathematics. The Diagnostic Assessment will gradually become an annual feature of our educational system upon which the Remedial Education Strategy project would be grafted to pave the way for ensuring the successful primary schooling of all pupils.

12. Cabinet has agreed to the transfer of the responsibility of the Pollution Control Laboratory from the Central Water Authority to the Ministry of Public Utilities to enable the Ministry to fulfill its obligations, as provided for in the Environment Protection Act 2002, of ensuring that effluents, which are discharged by organizations, comply with the standard specified in the Environment Protection (Effluent Discharge Permit) Regulations and do not pollute the scarce surface and groundwater resources.

13. Cabinet has agreed to Mauritius entering into a bilateral agreement on trade, economic and technical cooperation with Turkey to further strengthen the friendly relations and enhance the cooperation between the two countries on the basis of mutual advantage.

14. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions proposes to set up a Social Register for Mauritius with a view to –
(i) better targeting beneficiaries of social programmes;
(ii) managing social programmes in an integrated way;
(iii) better harmonising the criteria for the different social programmes run by different Ministries; and
(iv) analysing cyclical and structural poverty reduction policies.

15. Cabinet has taken note of the mission of the Attorney General, Minister of Justice & Human Rights in Addis Ababa where he attended the Meeting of the Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General of the African Union on Legal Matters. The meeting adopted the Draft Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights.

16. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries to Kenya on 15 May 2008 where he attended the Second Extraordinary Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
The Meeting, inter alia, -
(a) agreed to a core group of Eastern and Southern Africa Countries, comprising Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Uganda and Zambia, being constituted to negotiate with the European Commission to address the problems of trade emanating from the provision of automatic derogation and other contentious issues; and
(b) took note that the Secretariat of COMESA had signed a Contribution Agreement with the European Commission to support the economic integration process to the tune of Euro 78M which would be used to compensate Member States for losses incurred with the entry into force of their respective trade liberalisation programme.

17. Cabinet has taken note that the Government of the United Kingdom has, with effect from 1 April 2008, introduced new immigration rules providing for stricter sanctions against breach of Immigration Laws of the UK and giving migrants, who are residing the UK illegally, a clear incentive to return to their home country on their own accord.

18. Cabinet has taken note that, in view of the increasing number of cases of disputes received by the Motor Vehicle Insurance Arbitration Committee, one additional Division of the Committee, under the responsibility of Dr Dhananjay Ramful, Vice-Chairperson, has been created to determine outstanding cases. Under the provisions of the Road Traffic (Amendment No. 3) Act (Constat à L'Amiable), the Motor Vehicle Insurance Arbitration Committee determines disputes arising between two insurers or between a policy holder and an insurer regarding the respective liability or the amount of compensation to be paid in case of certain road accidents resulting in damages to vehicles only.

19. Cabinet has taken note of the mission of the Minister of Youth & Sports to Canada where he participated in the Foundation Board Meeting of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
The Meeting discussed issues relating to the promotion of doping-free sports, viz., -
(a) arrangements made with regard to the doping testing programme to be carried out by WADA in the context of the Olympic Games to be held in August 2008 in Beijing, China;
(b) reviewed the situation relating to legal matters concerning various cases of athletes involved with doping in several sports disciplines in member countries;
(c) reviewed the situation relating to the status of compliance of member countries with the World Anti-Doping Code; and
(d) considered the reports of progress made by member countries in implementing anti-doping measures and promoting education and prevention campaigns.
In the margins of the Meeting, the Minister of Youth & Sports discussed with Mr Mustapha Larfaouï, President of the International Swimming Federation concerning assistance to our National Swimming Federation.