CABINET DECISIONS – 25 JULY 2008
1. Cabinet has taken note that, following the inscription of Le Morne Cultural Landscape on the World Heritage List, the Ministry of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the National Heritage Fund and Le Morne Heritage Trust Fund, is making arrangements to implement the recommendations and guidelines of ICOMOS, viz., -
(a) increase the management system of the property to include professional staff with conservation and other appropriate disciplines and through capacity building programmes;
(b) improve the Management Plan through the development of sub-plans which identify actions and resources, particularly relating to protection of the Buffer Zone;
(c) include the monitoring of views, sight axis of the property, appropriate awareness of and respect for oral traditions, and the marine environment in the monitoring programme;
(d) enforce the Planning Policy Guidance for development in the Buffer Zone and refrain from approving any development in the property; and
(e) develop a comprehensive analysis on the implication of building heights in the Buffer Zone and the villages of Coteau Raffin and La Gaulette on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.
Cabinet has also taken note that the handing over of the Certificate of inscription by the World Heritage Centre and the unveiling of a monument of the Slave Route project at Le Morne Public Beach would be effected on 1 February 2009.
2. Cabinet has taken note of the final recommendations of a study on the “Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination in the Existing National Mauritian Law” conducted by a team of Consultants led by Prof V.P. Torul, Chairperson of the Industrial Relations Commission, and has agreed to the release of the report. The study aimed at identifying discriminatory statutes and provisions in the existing national legislation using the ILO Convention No. 111 on Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) as benchmark. It has also taken into account other international instruments advocating equality of opportunity and non-discrimination, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on Civil and Political Rights. The outcome of the study is meant to form part of the integral process of domesticating ILO Convention No. 111.
3. Cabinet has taken note that, with a view to boosting the potential of the tuna fisheries sector, the following projects would be implemented -
(i) provision of appropriate infrastructure at four fish landing sites to encourage tuna landing, viz. Grand Gaube, Trou D’Eau Douce, La Preneuse and Baie du Tombeau; and
(ii) improvement at Port Louis Harbour to extend and develop available berthing and other facilities to fishing vessels.
The upgrading and upliftment of the fish landing sites would include, inter alia, the following components:-
(i) construction of jetties;
(ii) dredging works to accommodate vessels for berthing; and
(iii) provision of cold room, fish processing and marketing facilities.
The overall benefits of the projects include diversification of fishing effort from over-exploited lagoons towards the off-lagoon resources with the redeployment of about 35% of lagoon fishermen into the FAD Fishery, fish quality improvements, growth of the domestic fishery industry arising from an increase of tuna catch from the present 650 tonnes to 8,000 tonnes over a period of 15 years from the off-lagoon fishing grounds, and increased employment and alternative income opportunities.
4. Cabinet has taken note that a National Committee has been set up to prepare the report on the review of Mauritius to be effected by the Human Rights Council under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism during the Fourth Session of the UPR Working Group in Geneva from 2 to 13 February 2009.
The objectives of the review are, inter alia, to –
(a) improve the human rights situation on the ground;
(b) fulfill the State's human rights obligations and commitments and assessment of positive developments and challenges faced by the State;
(c) share best practice among States and other stakeholders; and
(d) support cooperation in the promotion and protection of human rights.
5. In view of problems encountered to obtain the relevant permits for the incineration or burial of a dead body, particularly during weekends, Cabinet has agreed to a Committee being set up under the Chairmanship of the Attorney General, Minister of Justice & Human Rights to look into how best the procedures could be simplified.
The Committee would comprise, inter alia, the Minister of Environment & National Development Unit, the Minister of Local Government and the Minister of Health and Quality of Life.
6. Cabinet has taken note of the activities to be organized by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life in the context of the World Breastfeeding Week commemorated during the first week of August. The theme chosen this year by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is “Mother Support: Going for the Gold”. The highest standard for breastfeeding, known as the Gold Standard, is to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months and continue breastfeeding together with feeding other appropriate complementary foods, up to two years and beyond. On this occasion, the WABA is promoting the slogan “Support a Mother to Provide a Golden Start For Her Child ! With Breastfeeding, Everyone Wins !”.
The activities to be organized by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life are, inter alia, -
(i) a Workshop to review the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, which is a WHO - UNICEF Initiative, introduced in Mauritius in 1993 to promote breastfeeding and the health of babies and mothers;
(ii) mounting of sensitization campaigns on advantages of breastfeeding;
(iii) production and projection of a film on breastfeeding to sensitize pregnant women, parents and the public; and
(iv) conduct of “Continuous Medical Education and Continuous Nursing Education" on breastfeeding at the level of each hospital.
7. Cabinet has taken note that the Ramayana Centre, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education & Human Resources and the Vishwa Sahitya Sanskriti Sansthan (India), would organise the 24th World Ramayana Conference in Mauritius from 8 to 10 August 2008. The theme of the Conference will be “Ramayana for Universal Harmony and Peace". Participants from India, USA, Trinidad, UK, Czech Republic, France, Thailand and South Africa, would discuss the socio-economic aspects of Ramayana and the relevance of its concepts to the modern community.
8. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the Mauritius Film Development Corporation and the Mauritius Marathi Mandali Federation, is organizing a Marathi Film Festival in Mauritius from 25 to 29 July, 2008. On the occasion, a 20-member delegation led by Mr Ajay Ambekar, Director, Cultural Affairs of the Government of Maharashtra and comprising, inter alia, Mrs Reema Lagoo, Mr Sanjay Patil and Mrs Neena Kulkarni, famous Maharastrian artists, would visit Mauritius. During that period, the Film ‘Tingya’, best International Marathi Film (Pune International Film Festival 2008), would be screened at the Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre, and about eight other Marathi films would be screened in three different locations of the island, namely Rose-Belle, La Gaulette and Bel Air.
9. In view of a number of cases where persons have used full face helmets to commit larceny with violence and assault, Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill, which makes it an offence for a person to wear a full face protective helmet, other than for -
(i) riding a motorcycle or an autocycle; or
(ii) riding as a pillion rider on a motorcycle or an autocycle.
10. Cabinet has taken note of the constitution of the Board of the Fashion and Design Institute set up under the Fashion and Design Act, with Mr François de Grivel as Chairperson, and also of the various arrangements being made to operationalise the Institute.
Cabinet has further taken note that the launching of the Fashion and Design Institute would take place during the holding of the Annual Conference of the International Textile Manufacturers’ Federation in Mauritius from 11 to 14 October 2008.
11. Cabinet has taken note that, based on measures announced in the Budget
2008 – 2009, the Ministry of Women’s Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection, in collaboration with other organisations, is organising a sensitization campaign for women with a view to creating an awareness of the various fiscal incentives and support offered, particularly to set up enterprises.
Cabinet has further taken note of the outcome of the “Semaine de L’Entrepreneuriat” organised in various localities since May 2008. The “Semaine de L’Entrepreneuriat” is a platform where representatives of support institutions disseminate the various facilities, schemes and services offered to existing and potential entrepreneurs. Information are also provided on new sectors which could be explored. It is an opportunity for potential, as well as existing entrepreneurs, to register themselves with the various support institutions, and more importantly to apply on-site for financing and other assistance.
Cabinet has also taken note that the “Semaine de L‘’Entrepreneuriat” is currently being held at the Municipal Council of Quatre Bornes and subsequent ones would be held at Port Louis Municipal Council and in Rodrigues.
So far, 3,958 visitors attended the events, 784 business certificates were granted by the Registrar of Companies and 557 registration certificates by the Small Enterprises and Handicraft Development Authority.
12. Cabinet has taken note that the Tourism Employees Welfare Fund (Collection of Contribution) Regulations 2003, would be amended to provide for -
(a) the contribution payable by employers of tourism enterprises, being increased from Rs 20 to Rs 30, in respect of each employee of the tourism enterprises. Employees’ contribution will, however, remain unchanged at Rs 10 per month.
(b) A penalty of 10% being applied to employers who pay their contribution after the prescribed time limit;
(c) the exemption made in respect of trainees being waived; and
(d) the payment of full contribution in respect of an employee of a tourism enterprise, who is in employment even for less than a calendar month.
The Tourism Employees Welfare Fund, which caters for the social and economic welfare of employees of tourism enterprises and their families, has implemented various schemes, viz., Marriage Gift, CPE Grant, Death Grant to immediate members of the families, Computer Loan Scheme, Retirement Gift, Educational Loan, Tourism Employees Welfare Fund Scholarship, Multi-Purpose Loan and Maternity Gift.
13. Cabinet has taken note of the findings of the ‘Survey Report of Grand Baie Wetlands’ undertaken under the project ‘Study of Environmentally Sensitive Areas for Mauritius and Rodrigues’ with a view to providing adequate protection to key environmental areas and features.
The main findings of the Survey are, inter alia,: -
(i) 12 freshwater wetlands have been identified and delineated in Grand Baie;
(ii) Presently, approximately 15.4 ha of wetland exist in Grand Baie, along with 23.9 ha of associated buffer (based on 30-m regulatory buffers);
(iii) Backfilling of the Grand Baie wetlands has impacted and continues to impact wetland functions like hydrology; and
(iv) Function of all Grand Baie wetlands is impaired by wetland and buffer filling and degradation due to urbanization.
The Survey Report is accessible on the website of the Ministry of Environment & National Development Unit.
14. Cabinet has taken note that the National Savings Fund (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations, the National Savings Fund (Collection of Contributions) (Amendment) Regulations, the National Pensions (Amendment of Schedules) Regulations and the National Pensions (Collection of Contributions) Regulations would be amended to provide for an increase in the minimum and maximum salaries on which contributions are payable to the National Savings Fund and the National Pensions Fund respectively. The exercise undertaken is an inflation-proofing process aimed at maintaining an appropriate lump sum for those drawing salary close to the ceiling.
15. Cabinet has taken note that the Mauritius Accreditation Service has, over the last six months, awarded accreditation certificates to the Mauritius Turf Club Laboratory, the Assay Office Laboratory and Intertek (Mauritius) Ltd. Accreditation has become a necessity, to facilitate trade both at national and international levels, particularly as the World Trade Organisation recognises accreditation as a tool for minimising Technical Barriers to Trade. At the national level, Government bodies and regulators are constantly called upon to make decisions related to the protection of the health and welfare of the public and to the protection of the environment.
16. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, from 17 to 18 July 2008 where he attended the High Level Meeting on “Accelerating Regional Integration in Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean (ESA-IO)”. The Meeting was meant to exchange views between ESA-IO Member States and the European Commission and EU Member States on the Regional Strategy Paper/Regional Indicative Programme (RSP/RIP) covering the period 2008-2013 of the 10th EDF. The Meeting also discussed, inter alia, the Financing of the RSP/RIP and Food Security Facility Support for Agricultural Productivity Improvement Programmes.
17. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment to Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 29 June to 2 July 2008, where he attended the XVIII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work organized jointly by the International Labour Office, the International Social Security Association and the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency.
The main topics discussed during the Congress were -
(i) Strategies and Programmes of Safety and Health for the Future;
(ii) Impact of Changing Working Conditions on Worker’s Protection;
(iii) New Challenges and Opportunities in occupational safety and health; and
(iv) Safety and Health Management Systems.
18. Cabinet has taken note that COMESA, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation, would organise a 3-day National Workshop from 18 to 20 August 2008 in Mauritius to prepare the schedule of commitments in the context of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations.
The objectives of the Workshop are to -
(a) assist Government and private sector stakeholders to identify those services sectors where Mauritius could make an offer in the context of the EPA; and
(b) provide participants with skills and knowledge in the preparation of the schedule of commitments in trade in services in the context of the negotiations of the full EPA.
The workshop would be conducted by experts from international organizations, viz. WTO, UNCTAD and COMESA.