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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 20 August 1999

Cabinet Decisions taken on 20 August 1999

1. Cabinet has been apprised of the participation of the Mauritius delegation led by the Hon. Prime Minister in the SADC Summit held in Maputo, Mozambique, on the 17 and 18 August 1999. The meeting was attended by the Heads of State or Government of 13 Member States and was chaired by President Thabo Mbeki of the Republic of South Africa.
The Summit took note of progress achieved in the regional integration process and its contribution to the economic development of the SADC region. The Summit urged that all trade negotiations and other outstanding issues regarding the Trade Protocol should be completed in order that the Protocol could come into force in January 2000 as scheduled. The Mauritian delegation supported by Tanzania and Botswana emphasized the need to ensure implementation of the Protocol by the ratifying countries for the promotion of trade within the SADC region. The Hon. Prime Minister invited attention to the importance of convergence and complementarity with COMESA Trade Protocol and he was supported on that point by the President of Tanzania.
With regard to the Lomé Convention which is due to expire in February 2000, the Summit invited all member States to give full political support to the current negotiation process with EU and ensure the adoption of a strategy at the level of ACP for the negotiations on the Successor Agreement.
The Summit decided that the structures and operations of all SADC institutions are not working as efficiently as they should and that they should be reviewed by the Council of Ministers which will report to the Summit within six months. The Summit also agreed to a suggestion of the Mauritius delegation on the need to call for expert advice to assist the Council of Ministers with this overall review exercise on the SADC institutional framework.
The Summit considered a report of the Council of Ministers on the actions of the Executive Secretary of SADC and agreed that the Executive Secretary would leave by the end of this year. The summit also agreed to the proposal of the Prime Minister that Dr. P. Ramsamy, a Mauritian national holding the post of Deputy Executive Secretary should take charge of the administration of SADC after the departure of the Executive Secretary, pending the report of the Council of Ministers on the new structure.
President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique was unanimously elected as SADC Chairman for one year, and President Sam Nujoma of Namibia as Vice-Chairman. The Summit accepted the offer of the Republic of Namibia to host the next Summit in August 2000.
2. Cabinet has agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding being signed between the Government of Mauritius and SBEC SYSTEMS AB Sweden for the setting up of an integrated sugar refinery and power plant in the Freeport Zone. The project consists of refining raw sugar imported in bulk mainly from Brazil and after processing, its re-exportation to Europe and Arab countries. Electrical energy produced by the Power Plant will be sold to the CEB at competitive prices. The project will bring in Foreign Direct Investment to the tune of about Rs 3.8 billion and will generate employment opportunities to some 100 skilled persons.
3. Cabinet has agreed to the implementation of the Early Childhood Development Plan for Children aged up to 3 years.
The plan aims amongst others at improving child care services, setting norms for Day Care Centres and establishing a quality accreditation system.
The cost of implementation of the Plan is Rs 72 million phased over a period of five years.
4. Cabinet has agreed to the construction of a new road at a cost of Rs 50 million between Beau Vallon and Blue Bay by the Road Development Authority.
This new road will by-pass Mahebourg Village, on the one hand alleviating traffic congestion in the village and at the same time provide a direct access to the large volume of traffic travelling to and from the beaches of Blue Bay and Pte. d’Esny.
5. Cabinet has considered the recommendations in the Report of the Consultant from KPMG, appointed to conduct a study with a view to modernising the Postal Services, and has agreed in principle that the status of the postal services be changed into that of a company. In this connection, a Committee has been set up to look into all the implications to enable the change in status.
6. Cabinet has taken note of the progress achieved in the implementation of the Skills Development Programme which was launched in 1998 to provide training facilities to unemployed graduates and has decided to extend the programme to unemployed school leavers holders of HSC or GCE two ‘A’ levels.
A first batch of 100 HSC holders will be trained in the fields of Electronic Technical Assistant, Marketing Officer/Salesman, Personnel Assistant, Secretary and Stock Clerk.
A batch of 50 graduates will be trained initially in the fields of Accounting, Agriculture, Economics, Engineering, Finance, Management, Marketing and Science.
A monthly stipend will be paid to each trainee by Government as well as the enterprise where the trainee is attached on a fee sharing basis. A number of enterprises have already responded positively to the scheme.
7. Cabinet has agreed to the preparation of a Code of Practice on Employees participation in the context of the Labour Reform project with a view to promoting employees participation in both the management and capital of enterprises. This Code is conceived to be a voluntary initiative between employers and employees.
The draft Code will be submitted to all social partners for their views and will thereafter be submitted to the Labour Advisory Board for further study before taking a final decision.
8. Cabinet has agreed to the guidelines to be followed by all parties concerned at the level of Government, the UNDP and the African Manpower Services Company (AMSCO) with regard to the implementation of the technical assistance Programme under the African Training and Management Services (ATMS) project.
9. Cabinet has taken note that the CWA signed an Agreement with the Consortium Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux/Vivendi on the 16th August, 1999 for a management contract for a period of up to eight months.
At the end of that period consideration will be given to the signature of another Agreement for the establishment of a strategic partnership between the CWA and the Consortium.
10. Cabinet has taken note that a Committee has been set up under the chairmanship of Justice D. Seetulsing to review the Cane Planters and Millers Arbitration Control Act. He will be assisted by Mr. J. A. Lalouette, former Manager of Bel Ombre Sugar Estate and Mr. R. Jugurnath, Director, Management Audit Bureau.
11. The Minister of Education & Scientific Research is the current Mauritian Representative on the Executive Board of UNESCO with our Ambassador in Paris as alternate. The present membership will expire in October this year.
Cabinet has agreed to Mauritius again presenting its candidature for the election to be held during the 30th Session of UNESCO’s General Conference.
12. Cabinet has considered the case of the six Congolese nationals and has decided that they would be permitted to stay for a period of one month since date of arrival to allow the UNDP Office time to identify a country which would be prepared to accede to their request for asylum.