. The Cabinet has taken cognizance of the official visit of Shri A.B. Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India. Besides cementing further the bonds of cooperation and friendship between Mauritius and India, this visit has been accompanied by substantial benefits to Mauritius arising from the various Agreements signed viz:
(i) The financing of a radar system to ensure surveillance of our coasts and our Exclusive Economic Zone
(ii) a cooperation Agreement in the field of information technology and other hi-tech areas
(iii) an Agreement to facilitate commercial and business exchanges between our two countries
(iv) an Agreement to help Mauritius develop its oceanic research capabilities through the newly created Institute of Oceanography.
At the time of the visit, two important decisions have been reached namely, to enable Air Mauritius and Air India to operate a flight to Chennai, in addition to the flights to Mumbai and New Delhi. The second decision is to enable Indian Oil Corporation as well as Engen (S. Africa) to operate and invest in critical petroleum product storage infrastructure in Mauritius.
2. Cabinet has agreed, in principle, to the rehabilitation of Sewerage Infrastructure on some 15 to 20 major CHA Estates being undertaken as a concession project in accordance with the provisions of the Concession Projects Act 1997.
3. Cabinet has approved the arrangements being made by the Ministry of Economic Development, Productivity and Regional Development for hosting the Policy Organs Meetings of COMESA in Mauritius between 8 and 19 May 2000, and to hold a Mini Economic Forum on 16 May 2000 entitled: COMESA Free Trade Area: Enhancing Investment and Competitiveness. The COMESA Summit will be held on 18th and 19th May.
4. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the following Bills:
(a) The Mauritius Museums Council Bill which will provide for the establishment of a Mauritius Museums Council for the formulation of policies pertaining to national or specialised museums; development, promotion and maintenance of national or specialised museums; and organisation of activities in the field of museology.
(b) The African Cultural Centre Trust Fund (Amendment) Bill, the object of which is to rename the African Cultural Centre Trust Fund as the Nelson Mandela Centre for African Culture Trust Fund and to amend the objects of the Fund by making specific provisions for Creole arts and culture.
(c) the Veterinary Services (Duties and Powers) Bill to rationalise the control and regulation of animals and by products, animal feed, food of animal origin and veterinary drugs and to make better provision regarding the duties and powers of the Veterinary Services of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Technology & Natural Resources.
5. Cabinet has approved the grant of the following Industrial Investment Certificates under the Industrial Expansion Act, 1993:
(i) 2 Export Enterprise Certificates and
(ii) 3 Pioneer Status Enterprise Certificates.
The implementation of the five (5) projects would create some 47 job opportunities and would entail investment amounting to around Rs 34.5 million.
6. Cabinet has agreed that following considerable damage caused by cyclones Eline and Gloria and in a spirit of solidarity and in view of our special relationship with Madagascar, to make a contribution of US $50,000 and a donation of food and medicines to the Government of Madagascar.
7. Cabinet has taken note of the organisation of the Télédon Mozambique on 17 and 18 March. Some 60 telephone lines are available for this purpose and the call number is 155. The bank account for financial contribution is 144444000 at any Commercial Bank. The Solidarite Mozambique Day will be 18 March, 2000. In addition, the STC has agreed to offer 100 bags each of rice and flour, i.e. 10 tons of products as donation to Mozambique.
8. Cabinet has agreed to the issue of Housing Development Certificates (HDC) for the construction of 139 housing units at La Caverne, Vacoas; and the construction of 67 housing units at Trois Bras, Reunion Maurel, Petit Raffray.
9. Cabinet has agreed that the Licence fees levied on Non-European tuna longline foreign fishing vessels be raised from US$2,000 per vessel for a licence period of one year to US$3,000 per vessel for a minimum licence period of 90 days and a fee of US$ 1,000 for any additional period of thirty days or part thereof, in line with the Federation of Japan Tuna Fisheries Co-operative Association Agreement. They should also pay a deposit of US$500 along with the licence fee to ensure proper entries in their log books failing which the deposit will be forfeited.
10. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the study tour of a tripartite delegation, headed by the Minister of Finance to Singapore from 2 to 4 March 2000. The aim of the mission was to study the Singapore’s experience in the management of industrial relations in a competitive economy especially in the context of determining the future wages and salaries policy in Mauritius. The Minister of Finance also signed an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement between Mauritius and Singapore which aims at promoting the flow of private investments between our two countries and reassuring investors by providing fair and equitable protection to investments.
Cabinet also took note of the mission of the Minister of Finance to India from 24 to 29 February 2000.
11. Cabinet has also taken note of –
(i) the outcome of the tenth session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) which was held in Bangkok, Thailand from 12 to 19 February, 2000. The Mauritius delegation to the Conference was led by the Deputy Prime Minister;
(ii) Mission of the Minister of Industry, Commerce, Corporate Affairs & Financial Services to the Republic of Madagascar from 11 to 16 February, 2000;
(iii) Mission of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Minister of Reform Institutions to Egypt where he participated in the 39th Session of the Asian African Legal Consultative Committee, from 19 to 23 February, 2000;
(iv) Mission of the Minister of Local Government, Outer Islands Development and Small Medium Enterprises and Handicraft in Cargados Carajos (St. Brandon Islands) on 28 February 2000;
(v) First Regional Economic Conference of the COMESA which was held from 28 to 29 February, 2000 in Cairo. The Mauritian delegation was led by the Minister of Economic Development, Productivity & Regional Development. The theme of the Conference was COMESA – the Emerging African Market;
(vi) Mission of the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare to London where he participated in the Conference on "European Pensions 2000" organised by the Royal Institute of International Affairs, on 28 and 29 February, 2000.
12. Cabinet has taken note that Mauritius will host the Fifth Session of the Editorial Board of the International Bathymetric (sea-bed) Chart of the Western Indian Ocean (IBCWIO) in July 2000 with the participation of fifteen overseas participants from East Africa and the Islands and from the International Hydrographic Organisation, the International Maritime Organisation and the International Oceanographic Commission.
13. Cabinet has taken note of the programme of activities to be organised this year in the context of World Water Day to be celebrated on 22 March. This year’s theme proclaimed by the UNESCO is "Water for the 21st Century".
14. Cabinet has been apprised of the proposal of the Minister of Finance to make Regulations under the Income Tax Act 1995 relating to the termination of income tax exemptions in respect of debentures.
15. Cabinet has taken note of the activities of the Flying Squad set up by the Ministry of Environment, Urban & Rural Development to address problems relating to pollution and illegal dumping.
16. Cabinet has taken note of the progress regarding the implementation of the second phase of the project for the elimination of the Sugar Estate Camps.
17. Cabinet has agreed to a request from the Minister of Public Infrastructure to appoint a Committee of top officials to review the Reports submitted by the Evaluation Committee regarding the construction of the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre, prior to their submission to the Central Tender Board.
The Committee will comprise officials from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Finance, the State Law Office, the Ministry of Public Utilities, the Ministry of Economic Development, Productivity & Regional Development and may co-opt independent professionals for technical advice.
18. Cabinet has approved 19 applications for registration as Small and Medium Enterprises. The projects will involve investment to the tune of about Rs 5M and will create some 47 job opportunities.