CABINET DECISIONS – 24 SEPTEMBER 2010
1. Cabinet has taken note that, at the invitation of Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore, Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam, GCSK, FRCP, Prime Minister, would, on 24 September 2010, proceed on an official visit to Singapore.
During his visit, the Prime Minister would have a tête-à-tête with Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister and Mr Sellapan Ramanathan, President of Singapore.
Strategic partnership on a number of issues would be finalized, including -
(a) free trade agreement between Mauritius and Singapore;
(b) security measures, particularly in the prisons;
(c) waste water management;
(d) tertiary education; and
(e) investment on infrastructural projects in Mauritius.
The Bilateral Air Services Agreement, finalized recently, would also be signed.
2. Cabinet has taken note that the Electoral Commissioner’s Office and the Election Commission of India would sign a Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in the Field of Electoral Management and Administration. The Memorandum of Understanding provides, inter alia, for -
(a) the promotion of initiatives designed to strengthen electoral systems and democratic institutions;
(b) the exchange of information, material, expertise and technical know-how relating to electoral processes and systems;
(c) organizational development and capacity building; and
(d) the production and dissemination of material pertaining to electoral systems, voting technology and education of voters.
3. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Conference on the Management of Cardiovascular and Related Diseases held in Mauritius in August 2010. Eminent Professors in the field of cardiology and diabetes from the U.K. and Australia, viz., Professor Paul Zimmet, Director of the International Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Australia and Professor D. Yellon, Director of the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute, University College London, discussed, amongst others, issues pertaining to Cardiovascular Rehabilitation in the Diabetic Patient, New Concepts in Protecting the Diabetic Heart, Lifestyle and the Metabolic Syndrome and Management of the Microalbuminuria and Proteinuria in Diabetes.
Cabinet has further taken note that, given the presence of most foreign members of the International Advisory Committee on the National Service Framework for Diabetes, a second meeting of the Committee was held to review the implementation of the National Framework for Diabetes. The Committee made a number of recommendations, including –
(a) strengthening of the prevention strategies to include primary care programmes directed at improving maternal and child health;
(b) development and conduct of a prevention study led by Prof Tuomilehto, Prof Zimmet, Prof Alberti and Prof Yellon and Dr Walker to establish the outcomes of an intensive intervention in a group at high risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease;
(c) capacity building for medical and allied health professional staff with respect to the management of diabetes and cardiovascular problems and their prevention;
(d) training of podiatrists in diabetic foot care, training of specialist nurses in diabetes and of persons involved in health promotion and prevention on a priority basis; and
(e) continuing efforts to establish a National Diabetes Register and to procure a diabetes management system for clinical purposes.
4. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Divorce and Judicial Separation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which –
(a) provides for divorce or judicial separation by mutual consent or acceptance in principle of the breakdown of a marriage;
(b) reduces, from five to three years, the period of separation required for a divorce or judicial separation on the ground of rupture de la vie commune;
(c) simplifies the process of divorce following the lodging of a petition; and
(d) provides for the automatic conversion of a provisional decree into a permanent decree 3 months after the provisional decree has been granted, unless one of the parties objects to same not later than 15 days before the expiry of the 3 months.
5. Cabinet has taken note that, in line with the measures announced in the Government Programme 2010-2015 for the promotion of social dialogue, the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment proposes to set up a National Tripartite Forum, as an apex body and comprising representatives of Government, the private sector and workers organizations, to make recommendations and to advise Government on labour and industrial issues; social and economic policies in the light of changes in the world of work; and productivity, competitiveness and efficiency at the workplace. Technical Committees would be set up to examine and make proposals on specific issues, including the determination of the annual salary compensation. The National Pay Council would, therefore, be phased out and replaced by the new tripartite mechanism.
6. Cabinet has taken note that the Gross Tertiary Enrolment Rate, i.e., the total number of Mauritian students enrolled in tertiary institutions, both locally and overseas, as a percentage of the population aged 20-24, was 46.9% (i.e., 46,012 students) as at 20 August 2010 as compared to 43.4% (i.e. 41,484 students) in December 2009. The total number of students enrolled at the University of Mauritius is 10,419 and at the University of Technology, Mauritius is 4,361. About 11,200 persons are following courses through distance learning.
7. Cabinet has taken note that the Centre for Parliamentary Studies, United Kingdom, in collaboration with the Electoral Commissioner’s Office, would hold the International Electoral Affairs Symposium in Mauritius on 8 and 9 November 2010 on the theme - The Role of Technology in Raising Standards. The Symposium would focus on the importance of technological development in the legal framework of the electoral process, from the registration of voters, through polling and counting systems, fraud management and transparency. Some 50 participants from various countries would attend the Symposium.
8. Cabinet has taken note of the Report of the Study for the Development of an Integrated Coastal Zone Management Framework for the Republic of Mauritius. The Study aimed at developing an action plan, together with the regulatory framework, to protect the natural environmental resources which are prone to degradation due to the rapid economic development. The main recommendations include measures to improve the management of coastal development through proper licensing, the imposition of penalties and the mechanism that should be put in place to monitor the implementation of the Action Plan.
9. Cabinet has taken note that, in line with Government’s objective to develop ICT into the fifth pillar of the economy, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, in collaboration with the National Computer Board, would set up a National ICT Export Portal to facilitate the development and promotion of ICT exports. The Portal will be the central national platform for local ICT companies to access market information and intelligence, news and events, particularly in the region, promote Mauritius as a Competitive Outsourcing Destination for ICT and Business Process Outsourcing/IT enabled Services (BPO/ITeS), market the Export Capability of the local ICT Industry and promote the expertise and services of export-oriented ICT companies.
10. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life in collaboration with other stakeholders, would organise a series of activities to mark the World Heart Day 2010 which would be observed on 26 September 2010, viz., health checks, talks, fitness sessions, workshops and exhibitions to mobilize and raise the awareness of people on the importance of a healthy heart. The theme of the Day is Workplace Wellness.
11. Cabinet has taken note that a delegation comprising 86 persons is leaving Mauritius on 29 September 2010 to participate in the XIX Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi, India from 3 to 14 October 2010. Mauritius would be represented in the following sports disciplines:- archery, athletics, badminton, boxing, cycling, swimming, table tennis, weightlifting and wrestling, as well as activities for athletes with disability.
12. Cabinet has taken note that the number of cases of children victims of violence registered during the period January to August 2010 was 4,085 as compared to about 3,800 in the year 2009. The Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare takes the responsibility of more than 400 children and places them in shelters or with foster families. The Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare has taken additional measures to reinforce the support services provided by her Ministry. Moreover, a Consolidated Children’s Bill is being prepared to harmonise all laws pertaining to children issues in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Community Child Watch Committees are also being set up throughout the country to assist the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare in detecting children at risk. The Child Mentoring Programme, which involves regular meetings and activities between the mentor and the child in respect of needs for caring and support, is also being reviewed.
13. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of a “reality check” carried out by the Ministry of Business, Enterprise, Cooperatives and Consumer Protection to ensure that the benefits of the depreciation of the Euro have been passed on to consumers. The survey has revealed that the price of certain commodities has decreased. Cabinet has further taken note that the Ministry is regularly monitoring the prices of basic commodities.
14. Cabinet has taken note of the activities that would be organized by the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions in the context of the United Nations International Day of the Elderly commemorated on 1 October 2010, viz.,- holding of a function at State House, Le Réduit, with the participation of some 2,500 Senior Citizens, organization of an Open Day at charitable institutions, a Recreation Day for Vulnerable Elderly Persons and other composite programmes for the benefit of the elderly.
15. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements made for the celebration of Divali. Cabinet has also taken note of arrangements made by the Central Water Authority and the Central Electricity Board for the regular supply of water and electricity respectively on that day.
16. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions has restructured the Reform Institution Division with a view to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the institutional care unit for juvenile offenders and enabling officers of the Probation Unit to better focus on their core functions.
17. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade to Swaziland where he participated in the COMESA Summit, which had as theme: Harnessing Science and Technology for Development. The Summit reviewed the Implementation of COMESA Programmes on Agriculture and Food Security, Climate Change Initiatives, Infrastructure, as well as the COMESA Free Trade Area.
In the margins of the Summit, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade had bilateral discussions with the Vice-President of the Seychelles, Mr Danny Faure, on their participation in the subsidiary company of a Regional Development Company which would be opened in Mozambique. The Minister also met Mr Pascal Lamy, Director of the WTO.
18. Cabinet has taken note that the Mauritius Standards Bureau, in collaboration with the International Standard Organization and the Association Française de Normalization, would hold a Regional Workshop on the draft International Standard ISO 50001 (Energy Management System) from 5 to 7 October 2010 for the benefit of Regional African French Speaking Countries. The main objectives of the Workshop are to -
(a) raise awareness on existing practices in the area of energy management and energy efficiency and the impact of the ISO 50001 Standard on energy management systems; and
(b) sensitize specialists from industry, Government and academia on the implementation of international standards in the areas of energy management and energy efficiency, as well as their impact on climate change.
Participants from Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Central African Republic, Madagascar, Rwanda, the Seychelles and Mauritius would attend the Workshop.
19. Cabinet has taken note that the SADC Veterinary Laboratory and Diagnostics Sub-Committee would hold its next meeting in Mauritius in October 2010. The Sub-Committee is a network of SADC national laboratories mandated to spearhead regional cooperation in building diagnostic capacities for the improvement of laboratory-based surveillance systems of zoonotic and trans-boundary animal diseases in the region.
20. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development to Vienna and Paris. In Vienna, the Minister participated in the First High Level Meeting of the Africa EU Energy Partnership. The objective of the Meeting was to endorse the targets identified in the road map to implement the partnership for the provision of access to modern energy services to 100 million Africans by 2020.
In Paris, the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development visited the wind farm Vergnet Eolien at Ormes, and the centre of waste management Verdi at Compiege which is involved, inter alia, on incineration of waste for the production of electricity, sale of the heat generated by the incinerator and the treatment of ash for landfill.
In the margins of the visit, the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development met Mr H. Ramenah, a Mauritian Lecturer at University Paul Verlaine, Metz, who has agreed to offer training facilities, as well as a one-year scholarship in the field of renewable energy and environment.
21. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Information and Communication Technology to Korea where he participated in the Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation Ministerial Conference. The main objective of the Conference was to discuss the Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) Action Plan 2011-2012, which aims at establishing collaboration amongst partners to improve the capability for the development of Africa in capacity building and IT through technical assistance and knowledge sharing.
22. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements made by the Attorney General's Office for the regular updating of an online version of the Revised Laws of Mauritius and the subsidiary legislations, which would be available, free of charge, to the public as from early 2011.
23. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of –
(a) the Commission for Conciliation and Mediation with Prof V.P. Torul as Chairperson; and
(b) the National Council for the Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons Board with the Principal Assistant Secretary of the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions as Chairperson.