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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 01 September 2006

Cabinet Decisions taken on 01 September 2006

1. Cabinet has taken note that the Prime Minister had a meeting with all the “victims” of Sale by Levy and that the relevant legislation would be reviewed shortly.

2. Cabinet has taken note of the first Five Year Strategic Plan of the Mauritius Shipping Corporation (MSC) Ltd for the period 2006-2010. The MSC Ltd which was established in 1986, provides maritime services to/from Port Louis, in particular regular shipping services between Mauritius and Rodrigues, and a dedicated weekly liner service covering Mauritius, Réunion and Madagascar. The Strategic Plan has been prepared with a view to charting out the development and growth of MSC Ltd and enhancing the company's competitiveness as a regional shipping liner. The plan is action-oriented and is based on the examination of internal and external factors and effective resource allocation so as to achieve meaningful results.
The main highlights of the Strategic Plan are -
(a) the expansion and growth of MSCL through alliances with major shipping lines and charter/acquisition of product tanker and feeder vessels;
(b) ensuring professional capacity building through training needs analysis, training forums and increased use of ICT;
(c) adopting best management practices through the implementation of ISO and Quality Management, and review of Performance Management;
(d) building up strong organization through partnerships and collaborative networks with external stakeholders and establish close working relationships with port and airport institutions to generate joint projects; and
(e) enhancing the diversification of the business portfolio of the MSCL by identifying new business opportunities, designing and implementing a market research framework, carrying out a comparative analysis of the marketing and business development through information available on the internet, publications and reports of major shipping liners and cruise vessels.

3. Cabinet has taken note of the report of the Committee set up to investigate into whether the net proceeds generated from the sale of land by Sugar Estates under the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) were commensurate with the VRS costs assessed by the Mauritius Sugar Authority, in consultation with the Government Valuation Office and the Mauritius Sugar Producers Association. Cabinet has further taken note that, in certain cases, the sale of land far exceeds the corresponding monetary value of VRS payable.

4. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications is organizing "La Semaine de la Patrimoine" from 2 to 10 September 2006. In this context, various heritage/historical sites and buildings, such as Château du Réduit, Clarisse House, Château Mon Plaisir, Martello Tower, La Citadelle and Ile aux Aigrettes, would be opened to the public.

5. Cabinet has taken note of the fruitful mission of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance & Economic Development to India where he had meetings, inter alia, with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Commerce and Industry and the Minister of Finance of the Republic of India on issues pertaining to Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement, the conclusion of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA), and line of credit .

6. Following Government’s decision to close down the Development Works Corporation, Cabinet has –
(a) taken cognizance of arrangements made for the completion of all works undertaken by the DWC;
(b) taken note of the report on the assets and liabilities of the Corporation; and
(c) agreed to the Ministerial Committee having further consultations with all stakeholders.

7. Cabinet has taken note of the recommendations contained in the Action Plan aimed at improving the functioning of the Rehabilitation Youth Centre following serious incidents which occurred there in October and November last. Recommendations include, inter alia -
(a) provision of adequate stall;
(b) establishment of a proper programme to rehabilitate the inmates, including daily schooling;
(c) the setting up of parenting classes to encourage parents to play an important role in the upbringing of their children; and
(d) the setting up of a Ministerial Committee to review the juvenile legal system in Mauritius with a view to bringing it in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

8. With a view to reinforcing cultural exchange in the region, Cabinet has taken note that an Exchange Programme on Arts and Culture would be signed between the Government of the Republic of Mauritius and the Government of the Republic of Mozambique, providing for, inter alia, visits of cultural troupes, exchange of exhibition of objects of art, creation of an Amicale Mauritius Mozambique and exchange of documentation and research in the field of slavery and heritage.
Cabinet has further taken note that an Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Mauritius and the Government of the Republic of South Africa on Cooperation in the fields of Arts and Culture would also be signed.

9. Cabinet has agreed to the setting up of a Ministerial Committee under the chairmanship of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation to monitor the implementation of projects in the region of Grand'Baie, inter alia, for the rehabilitation of the beach, the provision of infrastructure and the development of socio-economic environment of the locality.

10. Cabinet has taken note of the promulgation of the National Pensions (Amendment to Schedules) Regulations 2006, the National Pensions (Collection of Contributions) Regulations 2006, the National Savings Fund (Amendment to Schedules) Regulations 2006 and the National Savings Fund (Collection of Contributions) (Amendment) Regulations 2006, to provide for an increase in the minimum and maximum salaries on which contributions are payable to the National Pensions Fund (NPF) and the National Solidarity Fund. The exercise is an inflation-proof process aimed at maintaining a reasonable pension level for contributors at time of retirement.

11. Cabinet has taken note that the first meeting of the Working Group, set up under the Bilateral Labour Service Cooperation Agreement between the Republic of Mauritius and the People's Republic of China, would be held in Mauritius on 7 and 8 September 2006.
The objective of the Agreement is to strengthen economic and trade cooperation, as well as, to develop bilateral labour service cooperation between China and Mauritius. The Agreement provides for, inter alia –
(i) the establishment of a Working Group under the framework of the Sino-Mauritian Economic and Trade Joint Committee to exchange views on a regular basis and for the review of employment situation of Chinese workers in Mauritius; and
(ii) the recruitment of workers from China through Chinese recruiting agencies approved by the Chinese Government.
During the two days, the Chinese delegation, headed by the Deputy Director of the Department of Foreign Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Commerce of China, would have discussions with Mauritian authorities and also visit a few enterprises employing Chinese workers.

12. Cabinet has taken note that the Tenth Meeting of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Tenth Meeting of the Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General of the COMESA would be held at Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel on 5 and 6 September and 7 September 2006, respectively.
The Meeting is a follow-up on the Extra-Ordinary Meeting held in Lusaka, Zambia in November 2005 where the draft revised rules of the COMESA Court of Justice was discussed. The operations of the Court would be reviewed and discussions would be held on how best the COMESA Court of Justice could be strengthened. Focus would also be on strengthening the relationship between investors and COMESA Member States by marketing the region as a “single investment destination”.

13. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the 36th Session of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women held in New York from 8 to 12 August 2006 where the Minister of Women’s Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection presented the Mauritius’ Combined Third, Fourth and Fifth Periodic Reports in line with the Convention. The Committee monitors progress made in implementation of national measures for the protection and empowerment of women in countries party to the Convention. The periodic reports cover action taken at national level to improve the situation of women.
During the meeting, the Minister renewed the commitment of Government to the goals and principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals especially in regard to poverty reduction, education, maternal health and gender equality. The Minister gave the assurance that despite the difficult economic situation, Government has embarked on a series of measures aimed at promoting social and economic reforms and that its objective is to achieve economic success through equity, ethics and social justice regardless of gender, creed, ethnic origin or class.