CABINET DECISIONS - 07 DECEMBER 2007
1. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of a workshop aimed at reviewing the different pieces of legislation governing community sentencing, i.e., the Community Service Order Act, the Probation of Offenders Act, the Juvenile Offenders Act and the Reform Institutions Act, with a view to bringing them in line with the requirements of a modern society, as well as ensuring compliance with the Conventions of the Rights of the Child.
2. Cabinet has taken note of the findings and recommendations of the Technical Committee set up to -
(a) look into all aspects of marketing of molasses;
(b) advise whether the present marketing arrangements ensure that the best prices are obtained; and
(c) advise on any option that would yield higher prices.
In the context of the sugar reform, the Committee has, inter alia, proposed:-
(i) optimal use of molasses to produce ethanol which would increase the revenue of planters;
(ii) the commissioning of a study to ensure that planters obtain a fair share of revenues generated by the sugar cane industry (special sugar, electricity from bagasse and ethanol from molasses); and
(iii) the participation of planters in equity share capital of flexi factories.
3. Cabinet has reviewed the current situation regarding the prevalence of African Swine Fever, and taken note of measures taken to alleviate the hardship of pig breeders, viz. -
(a) as at 3 December 2007, about 53 tons of feed have been distributed free of charge, and on a priority basis, to breeders in low risk areas. Breeders in high risk areas are being supplied feed on a pro rata basis;
(b) payment of a monthly direct income support to the 496 registered pig breeders are being effected since the month of October;
(c) protective equipment (one pair of boots and two pairs of gloves per breeder) has already been distributed to all breeders by the Agricultural Research and Extension Unit;
(d) a Solidarity Fund would be launched on 12 December to cater for livestock breeders, victims of natural calamities and animal disease epidemic and pandemic;
(e) the Pig Section of the Abattoir, which was closed in October last would be opened as soon as it is considered safe to authorise the transportation/movement of pigs to the Abattoir;
(f) the Empowerment Programme would extend facilities to breeders wishing to move to new economic activities; and
(g) 6,000 chicks and 500 ducklings have already been distributed to pig breeders with a view to enabling them to start poultry rearing to earn their living in the short run.
Cabinet has further taken note that the African Swine Fever has not affected the porcine population in Rodrigues.
4. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements being made by the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions for the payment of Examination Fees to eligible students who would sit for the School Certificate and Higher School Certificate Examinations in 2008. The eligibility criteria would be the same as for the year 2007, i.e., -
(a) Eligibility for payment of 100% SC/HSC Examinations Fees
(i) beneficiaries of Social Aid & Unemployment Hardship Relief;
(ii) beneficiaries of Basic Pension who would have benefitted from Social Aid in the absence of such basic pension; and
(iii) parents whose aggregate income does not exceed Rs 7 500.
(b) Eligibility for payment of 50% of SC/HSC Examinations Fees for each child
parents whose aggregate income is between Rs 7501 and Rs 10 000 and having more than one child taking part in the SC/HSC Examinations 2008.
(c) first time repeaters in the above categories would also be eligible for payment of examinations fees, where applicable.
Cabinet has further taken note that, for the financial year 2006-2007, an amount of Rs 79,601,006.50 was disbursed for the payment of examinations fees in respect of 9329 students.
5. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Education & Human Resources would have consultations with the main stakeholders on the setting up of the different “Instituts de Formation et d’Enseignement Technique” under the proposed Mauritius Industrial Training and Technical Education Council. This project, which forms part of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training reform, aims at responding to the new challenges for skilled manpower in different sectors of our economy, both existing and emerging, and at achieving World Class Quality Education and Training in order to be competitive on the global labour market.
6. Cabinet has taken note that the Wastewater Management Authority and the “Institut Universitaire de Technologie” of Limoges, France would sign a Memorandum of Understanding which would provide for training in the field of wastewater and sanitation for the technical staff of the Operation and Maintenance Division, as well as the laboratory personnel of the Authority.
7. Cabinet has taken note of the drastic water situation in the reservoirs and aquifers and that the CWA has taken all measures to ensure, as far as possible, a regular water supply during the dry season.
8. Cabinet has taken note that on a proposal of the Village Council of New Grove, the Grand Port/Savanne District Council has approved the naming of Gros Billot Football Ground in New Grove after late Sir Satcam Boolell, GCSK.
9. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Information Technology & Telecommunications to Johannesburg, South Africa, in the context of the 9th Annual African ICT Achievers Awards Competition, organised by ForgeAhead of South Africa and the Ministry of Communications of South Africa. The theme for this year’s award was “Making the African Century a Reality”.
The Minister of Information Technology & Telecommunications received the awards of the Top Minister in Africa with ICT Portfolio and the Top ICT Individual in Africa for 2007.
10. Cabinet has taken note of the promulgation of Regulations under the Medical Council Act and the Dental Council Act with a view to including the following medical/ dental institutions in the schedule of recognized institutions -
(i) Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences of Pakistan;
(ii) Nizhny Novgorod State Medical University of Russia; and
(iii) Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China.
(i) Moscow State University of Medicine and Dentistry of Russia; and
(ii) Lugansk State Medical University of Ukraine.
11. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Acting Prime Minister to London where he participated in the 25th Assembly of the International Maritime Organisation from 19 to 30 November 2007. The Assembly, inter alia, –
(a) presented, for the first time, an award to seafarers who had risked their lives to save others’;
(b) approved the theme for the World Maritime Day 2008 – “IMO – 60 years in the service of shipping”;
(c) took cognizance of the report of the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme. A proposal would be made to the IMO to carry out the audit in Mauritius; and
(d) encouraged members to develop, update or review their national strategies for trading piracy and armed robbery against ships.
In the margins of the Assembly, the Acting Prime Minister had bilateral meetings with the following personalities –
(i) Mr Raymond Lim, Minister of Transport of Singapore;
(ii) Mr Chan Kong Choy, Minister of Transport of Malaysia; and
(iii) Mr Efthimios Mitropoulou, Secretary General of IMO.
12. Cabinet has taken note of the mission of the Minister of Education & Human Resources to Reunion Island, where he signed an Avenant for the period 2008-2009 in the context of the “Convention-Cadre de Co-opération Educative” with the “Academie de La Reunion” and the French Embassy, which spells out the modalities for the implementation of programmes pertaining to education and training, ranging from pre-primary to tertiary levels, including the technical and vocational sector.
13. Cabinet has taken note of the mission of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance & Economic Development to South Africa, France and Switzerland. In South Africa, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance & Economic Development attended the U.S - Africa Summit and a Trade Exposition held to showcase African and U.S products, services and investment opportunities. Ten Mauritian companies which participated in the Expo, displayed quality products ranging from textiles and garments, seafood, leather products, ICT and financial services.
In Paris, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance & Economic Development had bilateral meetings/working sessions, among others, at the Office of the President, the Ministry of Finance and "L’Agence Française de Développement" on issues pertaining to Economic Partnership Agreement and Aid for Trade, renewable sources of energy, EASSy Cable and Capacity Building.
In Geneva, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance & Economic Development attended the first Global Review of Aid for Trade organized by the World Trade Organisation to -
(i) take stock of what is happening in the delivery of Aid for Trade;
(ii) agree on a road map for future work; and
(iii) discuss ways and means for better monitoring and evaluating progress.
14. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries to Rome where he attended the 34th Session of the FAO Conference, the theme of which was ‘State of Food and Agriculture’. In his speech, the Minister highlighted the measures that are being taken to promote agri-business, revive the livestock sector, further develop the crop sector and create a new enabled environment for the sustainable development of the marine and seafood sector.
In the margins of the Conference, the Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries participated in a high level event on “Aid for Trade and Food Security” and had bilateral meetings with a number of personalities, including –
(i) the Hon Paulo Di Castro, Minister of Agriculture of Italy;
(ii) the President and the Vice-President of IFAD;
(iii) the Director of the Eastern and Southern Africa Division;
(iv) the Director of the Fishery Policy and Planning Division of FAO;
(v) the President and Director of TERRA, an Italian company engaged in research and promotion of environmental resources.
15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Industry, Small & Medium Enterprises, Commerce & Cooperatives to India where he participated in the India Africa Hydrocarbon Conference organized jointly by the Indian Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry and UNCTAD. The Conference was meant to provide a unique platform to keyplayers in the hydrocarbon sector from Africa and India to forge partnership by way of joint ventures, technology transfer, supply of equipments, consultancy and advisory services, etc.
In the margins of the Conferences, the Minister of Industry, Small & Medium Enterprises, Commerce & Cooperatives had bilateral meetings with, inter alia, -
(i) the Hon M. Deora, Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas;
(ii) the Hon Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce & Industry;
(iii) the Hon Prem Chand Gupta, Minister of Corporate Affairs;
(iv) the Hon Erkki Nghimtina, Minister for Mines & Energy of Namibia; and
(v) the Hon Houmadi Abdallah, Minister of Energy, Mines, Industry and Handicrafts of Comoros;
16. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Industry, Small & Medium Enterprises, Commerce & Cooperatives to Madagascar, in the context of a Mauritian Fair organized by Enterprise Mauritius from 15 to 18 November 2007.
The objectives of the Fair were to –
(a) help Mauritian Small and Medium Enterprises explore business opportunities;
(b) enhance the visibility of Mauritian products;
(c) broaden our export base;
(d) enable Small and Medium Enterprises to explore sourcing and matchmaking possibilities; and
(e) enhance trade and economic cooperation between Mauritius and Madagascar.
A total of 60 companies/exhibitors, including six Mauritian firms based in Madagascar, participated in the Fair. More than 135 trial orders for a total value of Rs 11.7m were received. Over 62 additional new orders to the tune of Rs 21.7m are foreseen in the near future.
Cabinet has further taken note that, during a meeting, the Chef de Region of Analamanga, agreed to put at the disposal of Mauritian investors about 13,000 hectares of land. The Chef de Region of Diego-Diana-Antsiranana had also signified the interest for her region to develop agri-business and tourism in partnership with Mauritian investors.
17. Cabinet has taken note of the mission of the Minister of Youth & Sports to Madrid where he participated in the World Conference on Doping in Sports organized by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
The Conference reviewed the major advances in the fight against doping in sports at the international level and discussed the strategies that would be needed to face future challenges in the sector.
18. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the following Boards/Committees :-
(i) the Board of the National Agency for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Substance Abusers (NATReSA) with Mr Marie Jean Michel Gerard Lesage as Chairperson; and
(ii) the Sugar Industry Labour Welfare Fund Committee with Mr Anand Bhikoo, as Chairperson.
Cabinet has further taken note of the nomination of Dr Romesh Munbodh, Principal Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, as WHO Liaison Officer for the WHO Office in Mauritius.