1.Cabinet has taken note that the Hon M. Choonee has submitted his resignation as Minister of Housing and Lands and arrangements have been made for the assignment of responsibilities for the administration of departments under the portfolio of the Minister of Housing and Lands to the Hon G.P. Lesjongard, Minister of Local Government and Rodrigues.
2.Cabinet has taken note that following the incident of food poisoning reported on 17 January 2003 at Emmanuel Anquetil Government School, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life has analysed samples of noodles consumed by the school children. Results obtained indicate that the noodles contained sodium hydroxide (Caustic Soda) which is a toxic, corrosive and non-permissible substance in food meant for human consumption. Contraventions have been established against the suppliers and the manufacturers and other appropriate legal action will be initiated against them.
3.Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the meeting that the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance chaired on the ?Taxi Marrons? issue and has decided:
(a) to initiate urgent action to rationalise the system of public transport by taxi;
(b) that no temporary taxi licence will be issued and that new licences will be granted to deserving applicants only. In that connection, licences issued to taxi operators will be cancelled if it is established that either vehicles are being utilised for personal use only and that the terms of the taxi licences are not being abided by;
(c) that Police action will be taken against any driver who will deliberately obstruct the free flow of traffic;
(d) that the relevant legislation will be amended to give more flexibility to the NTA in the grant and revocation of taxi licences; and
(e) that meetings will be held with all parties concerned, including taxi owners, bus companies, individual bus operators and trade unions in order to arrive at a satisfactory solution to the problem.
4.Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Local Government and Rodrigues will make regulations under the Local Government Act to provide inter alia for tougher penalties for illegal dumping and littering and increased liability on polluters.
5.Cabinet has agreed to the implementation of the recommendations of a Study on Environmental Risk Assessment in Grand Bay with a view to addressing the risks of flooding due to backfilling of marshy lands/wetlands particularly, in the regions of Camp Carol, Cité Lumière and Grand Bay International Conference Centre. The Ministry of Environment will also carry out rehabilitation and landscaping works near the Kali temple at Grand Bay with a view to making provision for seawave protection, uplifting the access road and drains and providing basic beach amenities. The report of the Study on Environmental Risk Assessment will be made public.
6.Cabinet has agreed to the organisation in Mauritius in 2004 of the International Meeting for the Comprehensive Review of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. About 2500 delegates are expected to attend the Meeting.
7.Cabinet has agreed to the ratification of the Protocol relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, which inter alia aims at promoting peace, security and stability, democratic practices, good governance, respect for the rule of law and fundamental human rights and freedoms.
8.Cabinet has taken note that, in Mauritius, –
(a) the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, in collaboration with Cipla Ltd of India, a well-known laboratory involved in the manufacture of a wide range of drugs, will organise a 2-day Residential Training Workshop for the benefit of medical, paramedical personnel as well as social workers involved in HIV/AIDS related issues;
(b) COMESA will hold a seminar on ?Marketing and Dissemination of External Trade Statistics’ in February 2003;
(c) the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), in collaboration with the Mauritius Telecom, will organise -
(i) a multilateral event on the “Future of Wireless Communications” from 24 to 28 February 2003; and
(ii) a Certificate in Telecommunications Management (CTM) course from 3 to 28 March 2003.
9.Cabinet has taken note that, the Hon Mrs S. Pool, Minister for Local Government, Sports and Culture of the Republic of Seychelles and the Minister of Culture of Mozambique will attend the celebrations marking the 168th Anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery.
10.Cabinet has agreed to the setting up of a Steering Committee to inter alia periodically assess and review the insolvency and creditor rights systems in Mauritius and act as counterpart to the World Bank in the preparation of the Report on the Assessment of Standards and Codes and the Action Plan.
11.Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the missions of :-
(i) the Prime Minister to India from 5 to 11 January 2003, where he had discussions with the Prime Minister of India on bilateral fronts and attended the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and the 2nd PIO Parliamentary Conference;
(ii) the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity & Senior Citizen Welfare and Reform Institutions to Reunion Island from 19 to 21 December 2002 in connection with the on-going Street Children Project;
(iii) the Minister of Labour & Industrial Relations to Saudi Arabia and Dubai from 21 to 23 December 2002, where he inter alia finalised arrangements in connection with the Haj pilgrimage; and
(iv) the Minister of Youth and Sports to Paris on 9 and 10 January 2003, where he attended the roundtable of Ministers of Physical Education and Sports.
12.Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of –
(i) the Board of the Food and Agricultural Research Council under the chairmanship of Dr Theeshan Bahorun;
(ii) the Statutory Bodies Family Protection Fund Board under the chairmanship of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government and Rodrigues (Local Government Division);
(iii) the Board of Management of Public Officers’ Welfare Council under the chairmanship of the Secretary for Public Service Affairs; and
(iv) the Board of Trustees of the St Andrew’s College Foundation.
13.Cabinet has taken note that Dr Serge Daniel Fok Kan has been reappointed Chairman of the Industrial Relations Commission.
14. Cabinet has taken note that a delegation led by the Chairman of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Board of the Republic of Uganda will visit Mauritius from 26 January to 1 February to learn the Mauritian experience in the management of the National Pensions Fund.
15. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Labour & Industrial Relations will amend the Occupational Safety, Health and Welfare (First Aid) Regulations 1989 with a view to enabling his Ministry to require an employer to include any additional item in first-aid boxes or travelling first-aid kits at the workplace and to amend the First Schedule to include ?Sterile Gauze medicated dressing for burns’.
16. Cabinet has taken note of the programme of activities organised by the Ministry of Arts and Culture in collaboration with the Federation of Chinese Societies for the celebration of Spring Festival at national level.
17. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Arts and Culture and the Minister of Culture of Mozambique will sign a Cultural Exchange Programme with a view to further promoting exchanges and cooperation in the fields of arts and culture between the two countries.
18. Cabinet has agreed to the liberalization of the price of edible oil sold in quart on the local market and the importation of refined edible oil and to the immediate reduction of customs duty on imported refined edible oil.
19. Cabinet has agreed to an increase in the retail price of locally manufactured iron bars as follows –
Size of iron bars From (Rs) To (Rs) % Increase
8 mm 54.20 58.00 7.01
10mm 82.50 87.20 5.70
12mm 118.50 125.50 5.91
16mm 212.00 224.20 5.75
20mm 330.00 348.75 5.68
25mm and above 512.00 541.00 5.66
It is recalled that the last revision of the price of locally manufactured iron bars dates to one year.