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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 04 May 2007

Cabinet Decisions taken on 04 May 2007

1. Cabinet has taken note that, taking into consideration the good economic performance of Mauritius, the European Commission has agreed to allocate an additional amount of Euros 8.742 million, i.e. around Rs 382m, under the 9th EDF to support the implementation of our reform programme.

2. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Sugar Insurance Fund (Amendment) Bill which -
(a) makes better provision relating to the determination of insurable sugar of planters and metayers by lowering the band for selection of normal years of highest yield from 12 years to 8 years;
(b) streamlines procedures in order to enable the Board to make timely investment decisions;
(c) encourages regroupment of small planters into larger production units by providing a one-time 25% increase on the average ranking of re-grouped planters of the units; and
(d) makes provision to empower the metayer to have direct dealings with the Fund instead of being represented by planters.

3. Cabinet has taken note that a Memorandum of Understanding has been concluded with the aeronautical authorities of Pakistan, which provides for -
(a) the existing route being replaced by a new one with two points of access for each side and any intermediate and beyond points;
(b) the number of weekly frequencies being increased from two to four with provision for the designated airlines of Mauritius to be entitled to operate an unlimited number of frequencies to/from Gwadar in Pakistan;
(c) the designated airlines of each side operating an unlimited number of frequencies for pure cargo operations with full fifth freedom traffic rights; and
(d) a multiple airlines designation regime replacing the single designation.

4. Taking into consideration that events are used as tool to enhance visibility and attractiveness in overseas tourist markets, Cabinet has agreed to the setting up of a Government-owned company to identify, organise and promote national and international events in Mauritius with a view to further boosting up tourist arrivals. The company will organise at least one event monthly. In the near future, it is proposed to organise the following events – Festival du Prêt à Porter, International Sub-aquatic Photo Competition, Semaine du Patrimoine and Vintage Car Rallye.

5. Cabinet has taken note of the nomination of representatives of employers and employees on the National Pay Council, a tripartite committee on annual salary compensation, which would be chaired by Mr Sen Ramsamy.
Employers would be represented by –
Mr Mookeshwarsing Gopal President, Mauritius Employers’ Federation
Mr Azad Jeetun Director, Mauritius Employers’ Federation
Mr Patrice Legris Chief Executive,Association des Hôteliers et Restaurateurs de l’Ile Maurice
Mrs Danielle Wong Director,Mauritius Export Processing Zone Association
Mr Patrick Rivalland Senior Manager,Finance & Administration, Phoenix Beverages Group

Workers would be represented by -
Mr Radhakrishna Somanah Member of University of Mauritius Academic Staff Union
Mr Ramesh Maudhoo General Secretary of Sugar Industry Workers Association
Mr Yusuf Sooklall President of Free Democratic Unions Federation
Mr Fritz Thomas, MSK General Secretary of Electrical & Mechanical Workers Union
Mr Dewan Quedou President of Wastewater Management Authority Employees Union

Representatives of Government on the Council would be –
- the Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service
- the Financial Secretary
- the Senior Chief Executive, Ministry of Industry, Small & Medium Enterprises, Commerce & Cooperatives
- Director, Central Statistics Office
- the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment

6. Cabinet has taken note that a 10-member delegation led by HE Mr Abdul’ahat Abdulrixit, Vice-President of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and President of the Chinese-African People’s Friendship Association, would visit Mauritius in the month of July/August 2007. The visit aims at enhancing bilateral cooperation and exchanges between Mauritius and the People’s Republic of China.
Cabinet has further taken note that another Chinese delegation led by Mr Wu Dengchang, Vice-Governor of Shaanxi Province, would visit Mauritius in early June 2007 to investigate into areas of further cooperation between Mauritius and the Shaanxi Province.

7. Cabinet has taken note that, under the Cultural Agreement between Mauritius and the People's Republic of China, the Ministry of Arts and Culture would sign an Executive Programme for the years 2007 to 2009 in the fields of arts and culture, libraries, museums and archives, cultural heritage and cinema.

8. Following a proposal of the Prime Minister, the SADC Summit, held in Maseru, Lesotho, in August 2006, had agreed to the organisation of a Summit on Poverty and Development. Cabinet has taken note that a National Organising Committee under the chairmanship of the Secretary to Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service has been set up to organise the Summit.

9. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the implementation of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) process. APRM, a self-monitoring governance mechanism, voluntarily acceded to by Member States of the African Union, aims at fostering the adoption of policies, standards and practices which would lead to political stability, high economic growth, sustainable development and accelerated regional and continental integration.
The exercise would cover key areas under the APRM process, namely –
(a) Democracy and Good Political Governance;
(b) Economic Governance and Management;
(c) Corporate Governance; and
(d) Socio-Economic Development.

10. Cabinet has agreed to Mauritius signing a Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement with the Republic of Tanzania, which sets out the broad parameters for promoting trade and economic cooperation and aims at removing all barriers to trade and investment and at strengthening economic cooperation between the two countries. In the context of the agreement, several areas for bilateral cooperation in the fields of Cross Border Investment, Fisheries, Sugar and Tourism, have been identified.

11. Cabinet has taken note that the Caravane de l'Entrepreneuriat organized by SEHDA at Riche Mare Community Centre, Central Flacq on 18 April 2007 was a success. The villages covered were Central Flacq, Mare La Chaux, Palmar, Isidore Rose, Queen Victoria, Bonne Mère, Poste de Flacq and Argy.
On that occasion, 47 Certificates of Registration were issued for projects, such as pig breeding, handicraft, manufacture of ready-made garments, manufacture of food items, victualler, hydroponic, poultry and video club.
In its endeavour to promote an entrepreneurial culture among the youth, SEHDA is also organizing talks on Entrepreneurship Development in vocational secondary and tertiary institutions across the island.

12. With a view to consolidating and promoting the Consumer Cooperative Sector, Cabinet has taken note that the Mauritius Consumers Cooperative Federation Ltd in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Small & Medium Enterprises, Commerce & Cooperatives, would renovate 10 dormant Cooperative Store Societies and convert them into Fair Price Cooperative Shops. This project aims at re-engineering the Cooperative Consumer Sector, reinforcing the control and supervisory mechanism and more importantly offering fair price and ethical trading practices to consumers/members while in keeping with cooperative principles.
Cabinet has further taken note that, as at date, two such shops are operational at Plaine Lauzun and Mount Ory.

13. Cabinet has taken note of activities being organized to mark the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day on 17 May. The theme retained for this year is "Connecting the Young: the Opportunities of ICT."
Since 1973, the World Telecommunication Day is celebrated annually on 17 May to commemorate the anniversary of the signature of the first Telegraph Convention and the founding of the International Telecommunication Union, which is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology. In November 2005, given the increasing importance of ICT, the World Summit on the Information Society also declared 17 May as the World Information Society Day to be celebrated every year.
The programme of activities, would comprise, inter alia, –
(a) the award of ICS Certificates to 7,000 Form IV students of State and Private Secondary Schools, who have completed the course during the December 2006 and April 2007 vacations;
(b) the inauguration by the Mauritius Post Limited of the Community Empowerment Programme in 93 Post Offices islandwide; and
(c) the organisation of an open day where the whole gamut of services offered by the Mauritius Telecom, such as fixed and mobile services, Internet and convergent services, would be demonstrated. An ICT Quiz Competition on Audiotex, as well as Servihoo portal, would also be held.

14. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Eighth Meeting of the COMESA Ministers of Finance held in Mauritius on 26 April 2007. The Meeting agreed, inter alia, to –
(i) the early operationalisation of the COMESA Fund to ensure that resources that have been committed by the EU could be disbursed in time so that it could benefit from top-up funds that would be available after the End-of-Term Review of the 9th EDF;
(ii) getting the support of the COMESA membership to set an ambitious regional integration agenda that would make its FTA fully effective by removing the remaining restrictions to trade among its members; and
(iii) getting the support of COMESA for the ADB to be one of the vehicles to channel AFT and other resources for regional integration, in addition to the COMESA Fund.
On Aid for Trade, the Ministers of Finance have endorsed Government's strategy with a view to unlocking resources that the development community had pledged to developing countries to help them integrate their economies into the world economy. In this context, the Ministers have agreed to the setting of the COMAid Unit within the Secretariat to undertake technical analysis and prepare a coherent set of policies and programmes that are AFT-compatible to access available resources.

15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the International Workshop on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) held from 19 to 26 April 2007 in Mauritius. The objectives of the Workshop were, inter alia, to -
(a) discuss ways and means to achieve the Dakar Declaration on Education for All;
(b) respond to the recommendations formulated in Education for All Global Report of UNESCO – “Strong Foundations: ECCE”, published in October 2006; and
(c) provide an opportunity to position Mauritius as a Centre of Excellence in ECCE for the African Region.

16. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Women’s Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection visited Rodrigues on 15 April in the context of the International Women's Day 2007.
The programme of activities to mark the Day comprised, inter alia, -
(i) meetings with some 50 women entrepreneurs;
(ii) discussions on the Plan of Action on Teenage Pregnancy in Rodrigues;
(iii) inauguration of an Integrated Family Centre at Malabar;
(iv) handing over of grant to some 100 Women Associations;
(v) handing over of certificates to participants who had followed courses in Handicraft and Home Economics; and
(vi) launching of a Souvenir Magazine by the "Association Rodrigues Entreprendre au Féminin".

17. Cabinet has taken note of the mission of the Minister of Women's Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection to South Africa where she participated in the Pre-Congress Consultation and the Fourth World Congress of Rural Women.
The World Congress of Rural Women is a global event held every four years to focus on the challenges that rural women continue to face. The theme of the Fourth Congress was "United in our diversity: Working towards the total emancipation of rural women from poverty and hunger". The aim of the Pre-Congress Consultations was to seek consensus on development of priorities for rural women on the African Continent. The Congress discussed universal and wide-ranging issues confronting rural women today and share concrete experiences of successes in addressing the challenges.
The World Congress concluded with Resolutions on measures to, inter alia, -
(a) address the issue of rural poverty in a holistic and an integrated manner through mobilization of political, economic and social resources for sustained development;
(b) eradicate HIV/AIDS and other diseases;
(c) promote gender equality and eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against rural women and the girl child; and
(d) empower women through capacity building and skills development.