1. Cabinet has been apprised that the Kuwait Fund has agreed to part finance the Midlands Dam Project to the tune of 10 million US$. The loan carries an interest rate of 3.5% per annum. The repayment period is 25 years with a grace period of four years.
In this context a delegation from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development is expected in Mauritius on 14 February, 1999 for the signature of the Loan Agreement with Hon. V.K. Bunwaree, Minister of Finance in the presence of Hon. R. Beebeejaun, Minister of Public Utilities.
The delegation will be headed by Mr. Bader M.Al-Humadhi, Director-General of the Kuwait Fund.
The Central Tender will be awarding the contract for the Midlands Dam Project shortly.
2. Cabinet has agreed to the submission to the WTO Secretariat of the Draft Schedule of Commitments of Mauritius on Information Technology products. This step follows our official statement of willingness to join the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) made at WTO’s Committee of Participants on the Expansion of Trade in Information Technology Projects. This is a further step strengthening the status of Mauritius as a WTO-compliant member, thereby promoting transfer of Information Technology into our country.
3. Cabinet has noted the positive development regarding the safe return of the OAU delegation from Anjouan to Moroni. That delegation comprised two Mauritians namely Ambassador Koonjul and Mr. Rampersad of the Police Department.
Following a request of the Prime Minister the French Authorities have agreed to send a vessel to Anjouan for the transportation of the stranded delegation back to Moroni.
4. Cabinet has agreed to the Ministry of Finance finalising the Public Procurement Transparency and Equity Bill for introduction into the National Assembly. The Bill which has been prepared with the assistance of the UNIDO expertise provides for the reform and modernisation of the public procurement system of Mauritius. The views of the public will be sought before the Bill is finalised.
5. Cabinet has agreed as an exceptional measure, to finance 12 scholarships for undergraduate studies up to three years tenable in Australia from local funds. Up to last year these scholarships had been financed through proceeds from sale of Australian Aid, which had since been discontinued.
6. Cabinet has approved the grant of Certificates of Registration to 4 new small and medium enterprises as recommended by the Small and Medium Industries Development Committee. These new enterprises will be engaged in the manufacture of wooden furniture and joinery works, aluminium and UPVC openings and garments. It is expected that these projects will give rise to investment in production equipment of approximately Rs 656,000 and create around 17 new jobs.
7. Cabinet has agreed, in principle, to the conversion of two unutilised tea factories namely La Chartreuse and La Pipe into a Museum for sculpture and cinema studios with ancillary infrastructures for film production, respectively.
8. Cabinet has agreed to the Ministry of Arts and Culture providing a package of incentives in the form of financial and technical assistance in the areas of Arts and Culture to local artists, composers, writers, groups, socio-cultural organisations and clubs.
The aim is to promote arts and culture by enhancing the access of individual, small groups, associations and clubs to financial and logistic support.
9. Cabinet has taken note of the new strategies to be adopted by the newly constituted Board of the Mauritius Film Development Corporation (MFDC) for the development of a full fledged film industry in Mauritius. The MFDC will focuss mainly on the promotion of Mauritius as a prime film-making centre overseas, boost local production of film as well as provide adequate training for local artists.
10. Cabinet has been apprised of developments in the preparation of activities for the celebration of the 31st Independence Anniversary. This year the major evening celebrations will be held at Mahebourg.
11. Cabinet has taken note of –
(i) the outcome of the Prime Minister’s participation in the 29th Meeting of the World Economic Forum, held in Davos, Switzerland, from 28 January to 2 February, 1999.
(ii) the actions being initiated for the rehabilitation of the SSR Botanic Garden. A New Management Committee under the chairmanship of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Food Technology and Natural Resources has been set up with the main tasks of initiating and monitoring of action for the rehabilitation of the Garden.
(iii) the activities and realisations of the National Parks and Conservation Service (NPCS) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Technology and Natural Resources. The NPCS is inter-alia currently involved in the management of outer islets, the Black River Gorges National Park project; the Gerald Durell Wildlife Sanctuary, Black River; the Rivulet Terre Rouge Estuary Bird Sanctuary Project;
(iv) the outcome of mission of the Minister of Land Transport, Shipping & Port Development in Singapore from 22 to 30 January in connexion with the Mass Transit System Project, Shipping and Port Development;
(v) the outcome of mission of the Minister of Youth and Sports to India from 27 January to 5 February, 1999. In Delhi, a Memorandum of Understanding on Youth and Sports was signed. A donation of sports materials has also been received and more are expected in day to come. Furthermore, the Indian Authorities have agreed to depute an expert to assist us in the framing up of our National Youth Policy.