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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 03 August 2007

Cabinet Decisions taken on 03 August 2007

1. Following the participation of the Prime Minister in the Clinton Initiative in September 2005, Cabinet has taken note that former President Clinton has written to the Prime Minister to inform him that a number of international agencies have come together to form a Consortium to assist countries in the Indian Ocean region in strengthening their capacity for Tsunami Early Warning and Response Systems and that Mauritius could take advantage of the financial assistance from the Consortium as it submitted an Action Plan to cope with the eventuality of a Tsunami.

Cabinet has further taken note that Mauritius which has submitted its Action Plan in due time, has been selected among the 10 out of the 28 countries in the Indian Ocean to benefit from a grant of US$ 300,000 for the acquisition of two wave riders, i.e., one for Mauritius and one for Rodrigues, and two tide gauges for St Brandon and Agalega. The assistance provided by former President Clinton is in addition to the facilities extended for the purchase of antiretroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS patients.

2. Cabinet has taken note that a Committee chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications had several meetings since 23 March 2007 to consider ways and means to deter theft of scrap metal. The Committee has submitted its report and the Consumer Protection (Scrap Metal) Regulations 2007 would accordingly be promulgated. The Regulation provides stricter control for the exportation, dealing and carrying of scrap metal and also for harsher penalties for offences committed under the Regulation. Scrap metal exporters, dealers and consumers would be issued with a licence under strict conditions and the upkeep of scrapyards would also be regulated.

3. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the review of the Labour Act 1975. Cabinet has further taken note that a flexi-security scheme, the Workfare Programme, would be introduced for the benefit of laid-off workers. The Programme would entitle a laid-off worker to –

(a) join any of the three windows of the Workfare Programme, namely:

• the employment window for placement for available jobs;

• the training window; or

• the SME window, where SEHDA would assist him/her in starting a small business; and

(b) a Transition Unemployment Benefit during the period of unemployment.

Cabinet has further taken note that the draft Labour Laws would be released to the public shortly.

4. Following a study carried out on the expansion and strengthening of the national shipping line and in line with the Five Year Strategic Plan of the Mauritius Shipping Corporation Ltd, Cabinet has taken note of a proposal to procure a product carrier/tanker. The acquisition of a container vessel would enable us to play an active role in the region, cater for transportation of our requirements in petroleum products, exercise a certain control over freight rates and reduce transportation costs.

5. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the setting up of the Dodo Gallery Project following the discovery of fossil remains of a dodo around Bois Cheri. A substantial excavation of fossil materials at Mare aux Songes undertaken under the Dodo Research Programme is scheduled to take place from 6 to 19 August 2007 by a team of British, Dutch and Egyptian Experts.

6. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the participation of the Minister of Local Government, in his capacity as Vice-Chairperson of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, in a Strategy Workshop on Gender held from 22 to 24 July 2007 in India. The main objectives of the Workshop were to identify the challenges affecting women’s effective representation and participation in local government and develop strategies for practical action to promote and support women in local government.

The following recommendations were made for the achievement of the objectives at local, national, regional and international levels:-

(i) enactment of appropriate legislation and framing of policies to enhance women’s participation in local government;

(ii) mainstreaming gender in local government;

(iii) building the capacity of local governments’ institutions to provide training to women; and

(iv) strengthening existing networks of women in local government.

7. Cabinet has taken note that following the meeting of the International Advisory Committee on the National Service Framework for Diabetes which comprises Eminent Professors and doctors in the field from abroad, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life is organising a Symposium on Diabetes on 4 August 2007 at the Sugar Beach Resort Hotel at 10.00 a.m. for the benefit of medical and para-medical personnel from both the public and private sectors.

8. Cabinet has taken note of the launching by the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions, in collaboration with the National Council for the Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons, of a Respite Care Programme for parents of children with severe disabilities with a view to providing them some breathing space and respite from time to time. Residential "Camp de Vacances", as well as recreational activities, such as visits to places of interest and lunch in hotels, would also be organized for children with disabilities.

9. Cabinet has taken note of the visit of the Deputy Minister of International Trade & Industry of Malaysia, HE Dato Haji Ahmad Husni Mohd. Hanadzlah, at the head of a Trade and Investment Mission to Mauritius from 5 to 7 August 2007.

The objectives of the Mission are to:

(i) enhance trade and investment relations between Mauritius and Malaysia;

(ii) scrutinize the Mauritius business community on trade and investment opportunities in Malaysia; and

(iii) explore potential business linkages between Mauritian and Malaysian enterprises.

10. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the preparatory mission undertaken by our external development partners, such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the Agence Française de Développement, from 27 June to 11 July 2007 for a second budget support operation of USD 70 m to be disbursed by December 2007. The main objectives of the mission were to review the Development Policy Loans indicated for financial year 2007-2008 and assess potential problems which might be encountered in fulfilling the conditions laid by them.

11. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the organisation of the SADC Summit on Poverty and Development in 2008 as decided at the SADC Summit held in Lesotho in 2006 following a proposal of Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister.

Cabinet has further taken note that the National Organising Committee, under the Chairmanship of the Secretary to Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service, is coordinating all activities related thereto.

12. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications to Egypt from 17 to 25 July 2007. The main objectives of his mission were to learn from the Egyptian experience and to further consolidate bilateral relations in the tourism sector.

Impressed by the success of the tourism sector, the Egyptian authorities propose to send a team to understudy the Mauritian experience, and people for training in Mauritius either at the Ecole Hôtelière Sir Gaëtan Duval or in the hotels of the country. The Egyptian authorities have also proposed that a Mauritian event – "Giving life to the Pyramids" – be held in front of the pyramids some time next year. Egypt would prepare the event, while Mauritius would provide Chefs, food and entertainment. The event would be sponsored by various promoters from Egypt and Mauritius.

13. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the official mission of the Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries to Japan from 18 to 20 July 2007, where he attended the Ninth Japan International Seafood and Technical Expo and had discussions with the Fisheries Agency of the Government of Japan and other organizations for further technical assistance in the fisheries sector.

In the margins of the Expo, the Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries had meetings with the following personalities with whom he discussed issues pertaining to bilateral and technical cooperation, viz –

(a) Hon M. Hamada, Vice-Parliamentary Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan;

(b) Mr K. Matsuoka, Vice-President, Japan International Cooperation Agency;

(c) Mr Michio Shimada, President, Overseas Fisheries Cooperation Foundation; and

(d) Mr Masahiro Ishikawa, President, Japan Tuna Fisheries Cooperative Association .

Cabinet has further taken note that the participation of Mauritius at the Expo has contributed to improve the visibility of the Mauritius Seafood Hub amongst the Japanese seafood operators, including Japanese aquaculture companies.