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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 20 October 2006

Cabinet Decisions taken on 20 October 2006

1.Cabinet has taken note that pig breeding activities in Roche Bois region would be relocated to St. Martin. Government has agreed to release Rs 3 m for the provision of common infrastructure, such as roads, electricity and water supply. All facilities and privileges would be extended to pig breeders to put up their farms. The Ministry of Environment & National Development Unit, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life and the AREU would monitor the relocation process with a view to ensuring that nuisances caused by the pig breeding activities are minimised.

2. In line with Government policy to democratize and widen access to Tertiary Education and with a view to increasing the Gross Tertiary Enrolment Rate from the current 28% to 45% at an average rate of 5.38% per annum over the next ten years, Cabinet has taken note of the setting up of the Open University of Mauritius (OUM). The objective of the project is to remove barriers for access to post-secondary and tertiary education in Mauritius, through the emergence of a flexible, accessible and cost effective educational system that would tap on existing resources at technical, vocational and university education levels. The proposed OUM would encourage the emergence of a culture of life-long learning in all sectors and produce highly qualified human resources at diploma, graduate and post-graduate levels, crucial for the implementation of the new economic trajectory of the country. The proposed University would be called upon to become the focal point and be responsible for setting standards for the provision of open and distance learning.

3. Cabinet has taken note of the finalization of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunications and Cisco Systems Inc., an American Company based in California.
Cisco Systems Inc. which was founded in 1984 by a group of computer scientists from Stanford University, is a worldwide leader in the ICT networking comprising a total of 70 offices, including four in the African region, namely Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa.
The following avenues of collaboration have been agreed upon -
(i) the setting up of a Research and Development Unit to investigate the deployment of Internet Protocol (IP) Telephony-based applications;
(ii) the facilitation of discussions with ‘Close the Gap’, an NGO specialising in refurbishing of PCs;
(iii) the review of the Networking Academies to encompass the professional training dispensed by Cisco Systems Inc. Mauritius would be the second African country (South Africa is the first) to provide such a distinctive set up;
(iv) the championing of IP technology in the hospitality sector; and
(v) the possibility of setting up a Cisco Office in Mauritius.

4. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the structural survey of all Government Primary and Secondary schools and that the Ministry of Education & Human Resources, in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping, would put up a comprehensive plan of action for urgent maintenance works.

5. Cabinet has taken note of the calendar for primary and secondary schools for the academic year 2007 which would be as follows:
Primary School Secondary School
From To From To
1st Term 11.01.07 06.04.07 11.01.07 06.04.07
2nd Term 23.04.07 13.07.07 23.04.07 20.07.07
3rd Term 13.08.07 08.11.07 13.08.07 26.10.07
Admission to Standard I in primary schools and to Form I in secondary schools would be on 10 January 2007.

6. Cabinet has taken note of the Report on the implementation of Methadone as a substitute treatment for drug opiates submitted by Professor Marta Torrens, Psychiatrist, Head of the Drug Abuse Unit in Hospital Del Mar and Associate Professor of Psychiatry in the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.
The main recommendations contained in the Report are, inter alia,:
(i) Methadone as substitute treatment has to be harm-reduction-oriented and has to be provided as a long-term maintenance treatment in the health system.
(ii) Methadone has to be administered daily and ingested under direct supervision of a team comprising a medical practitioner, nurses, administrative staff and a social worker.
(iii) Methadone has to be provided to the patient only in the dispensing centre where the patient is following treatment and where he/she can be temporarily admitted.
(iv) A Needle Exchange Programme and a special education and monitoring of hepatitis C infection among drug users should be introduced.

7. In order not to unduly penalize owners of prime movers used mostly during the sugar crop season, Cabinet has taken note of amendments to the First Schedule to the Road Traffic Act with a view to allowing owners of such vehicles to pay road tax for either 3 months, 6 months or 12 months.

8. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Road Traffic (Amendment No. 2) Bill which -
(i) provides for a one-stop shop for the registration of motor vehicles and trailers by the Road Transport Commissioner;
(ii) updates existing procedures regarding the sale and registration of motor vehicles and trailers; and
(iii) empowers the National Transport Authority to grant, in the public interest, a road service licence in respect of a school bus service on any route.

9. Cabinet has taken note of the Report from Dr A.K. Subratty, Associate Professor of the University of Mauritius, who was appointed to act as Mediator in the wake of the problems which affected Aleemiah College in August 2006.
The main recommendations of the Mediator are, inter alia, -
(a) an appropriate mechanism should be set up for proper communication and interaction between the Management and the members of staff and for addressing grievances, representations and complaints; and
(b) a Student Advisory Committee should be set up to allow students to voice their opinion and make representations on matters relating to the school.

10. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the WTO General Council Meeting and of the EU Joint Council and Ministers of Trade and Development of EU.
The WTO General Council has adopted the report and the recommendations on the Task Force on Aid For Trade, as well as the report of the Committee on Trade and Development, in relation to measures that would assist small economies in meeting their obligations under Sanitary and Phytosannitary measures, Technical Barriers to Trade and Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreements.

11. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Workshop on Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa held at Le Maritim Hotel from 11 to 13 October 2006. Participants from 14 SADC Member States, as well as from Comoros, Seychelles, Morocco, Thailand, Costa Rica, and representatives of the African Union, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the United Nations Office on Drug Control, and the Director General of the International Organisation for Migration, attended the workshop. The theme of the Workshop was “Irregular Migration, including human smuggling and trafficking in person to, through and from South Africa”. The Workshop provided an opportunity to delegates to exchange views and best practices on how to deal with the issue of migration.

12. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the COMESA-India Bilateral Meeting held in New Delhi in October 2006.
Under the COMESA-India partnership, it had been agreed, inter alia, to:
(i) intensify efforts for the development of infrastructure in the COMESA region;
(ii) advance institutional capacity-building through twinning of COMESA Centres of Excellence in Member States;
(iii) cooperate in the production of agro-inputs, in agro-processing and in the area of small, medium and micro enterprises;
(iv) commence discussions towards the conclusion of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between COMESA and India;
(v) establish COMESA-India Joint Committees in different sectors that would review cooperation issues at Ministerial level bi-annually; and
(vi) establish a COMESA-India Business Council.
In the margins of the Meeting, a conclave on the Africa-India Project Partnership discussed issues in the field of agriculture and mineral products, infrastructure development, exchange of information, collaboration in strengthening the business community and development of small and medium enterprises.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation also had discussions with –
(i) the Hon Sharat Pawar, Minister of Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution on the potential for investment in biotechnology; and
(ii) Mr Shivshakar Menon, Foreign Secretary of the Republic of India, on the Double Taxation Agreement.

13. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the 175th Executive Board Meeting of UNESCO held from 2 to 6 October 2006. The main issues discussed were, inter alia, -
(a) the formulation of the next Medium Term Strategy for the period 2008 to 2013 directly aligning UNESCO’s work with the Millenium Development Goals and the 2005 World Summit Outcome document; and
(b) on Science and Technology, as well as access to education through greater utilization of IT and the particular problems affecting Africa.

14. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent visit of the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions to Reunion Island where she discussed cooperation in the field of training of Rehabilitation Youth Centre Officers and had a constat de visu of the French juvenile rehabilitation system. The Minister, also, had meetings with Officers-in-Charge of a number of institutions, including La Direction Départementale de la Protection Judiciaire de la Jeunesse, Pole Térritorial de Formation de la Protection Judiciaire de la Jeunesse, Foyer d’Action Educative and Institut Régional des Travailleurs Sociaux .

15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Second Meeting of the COMESA Ministers Responsible for Gender and Women's Affairs held on 12 and 13 October 2006 in Zambia. The issues discussed were, inter alia,–
(a) the report of the Third Meeting of the COMESA Technical Committee on Gender;
(b) creating Markets in COMESA Member States; and
(c) the establishment of Trading Houses in the COMESA Region.

16. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the following Boards –
(a) the Irrigation Authority with Mr Shivdut Bheechook as Chairperson;
(b) the State Informatics Ltd with Dr Ashveen Kumar Kissoonah as Chairperson.
(c) the Radiation Protection Council with Mr Y. Maudarbocus as Chairperson; and
(d) the National Art Gallery with Mrs Jagranee Senedhun as Chairperson.
Cabinet has also taken note of the appointment of Mr Gangaparsad Ramlaul as General Manager of Rose Belle Sugar Estate.

17. Cabinet has taken note of the composition of the Medical Council of Mauritius for the period 2006 to 2009.