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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 06 July 2007

Cabinet Decisions taken on 06 July 2007

1. Cabinet has taken note that the Prime Minister would proceed on a State visit to the People's Republic of China on 8 July 2007. He would be accompanied by the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance & Economic Development. During his visit, the Prime Minister would have meetings with HE Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China, and HE Wen Jiabao, Premier and participate in investment promotion campaigns in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

2. Cabinet has taken note of the terms of the Award delivered on 22 June 2007 by the Permanent Arbitration Tribunal on the introduction of the 40-hour week during crop season for both agricultural and non-agricultural workers of the Sugar Industry and has agreed to the Remuneration Orders applicable to agricultural and non-agricultural workers of the Sugar Industry being amended in order to -
(a) implement the 40-hour week on a six-day basis throughout the industry; and

(b) provide to agricultural workers such percentage of increase in the rates for cutting and loading as may be agreed upon between the Mauritius Sugar Producers’ Association and the trade unions concerned.

3. Cabinet has taken note of fraudulent practices in the payment of Basic Invalidity Pension by certain officers of the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions. Cabinet has further taken note that a thorough enquiry is being carried out and that appropriate action would be taken against all those incriminated.

4. Cabinet has taken note that, as a result of investments amounting to some Rs 1.4 billion, by the Mauritius Ports Authority (MPA) and the Cargo Handling Corporation Ltd since July 2005, activity in the Port is showing very positive signs. In Financial Year 2006/2007, transshipment container traffic soared by 28% from 80,720 TEU’s to 107,290 TEU’s. This upward trend is expected to continue during the current financial year. In June 2007, there has been a substantial increase of 63% in transshipment traffic compared to the same month last year, that is, an increase from 7,000 TEU’s to 11,390 TEU’s.

Cabinet has further taken note that, following consultations with all shipping lines, the MPA has, with effect from 21 June 2007, introduced a Fixed Window Berthing Scheme in order to –

(a) address the inherent congestion problem in the port; and

(b) help reduce the transit time for Mauritian exports to Europe.

At present, one shipping company which has availed of this facility, is proposing a new service with faster shipping time.

5. Cabinet has taken note that His Lordship Yeung Kam John (Bernard) Yeung Sik Yuen, GOSK, Chief Justice, has been elected Commissioner of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights during the 11th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union. He came out first ex-aequo with the candidate presented by Mozambique. The election of the Chief Justice represents a recognition of the importance which Mauritius attaches to Human Rights, both at local and international levels.

6. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the relocation of the inhabitants of Mare Chicose. Cabinet has further taken note that, following consultations with the Forces Vives of the locality, it has been, inter alia, agreed that –

(i) land would be allocated on a land-to-land swap basis to resident landowners with buildings and with vegetable/rose cultivation as means of living;
(ii) payment of compensation costs for buildings, as assessed by the Chief Government Valuer, would be effected to resident landowners;
(iii) tenants and extended families would be given the option to buy a plot of land; and
(iv) appropriate arrangements would be made for infrastructural works on site, i.e., construction of roads and drains, and the provision of utilities, i.e., water, electricity and telephone.

7. Cabinet has taken note that the National Women’s Council (NWC), in collaboration with the British High Commission and the University of Mauritius, would organize a Training of Trainers in Composting of Domestic Wastes with a view to reducing considerably costs associated with the collection, transport and disposal of household wastes while at the same time producing a material that would be beneficial for agriculture and reduce soil erosion. The programme consists of techniques of making, packing and marketing of compost, as well as utilization of compost in growing bio-fruits and vegetables.

One hundred trainers from Women’s Associations around the island have been targeted for the programme. They would, in turn, train women in their respective localities.

The National Women’s Council proposes to set up in the near future “Environmental Clubs” with a view to sustaining the involvement of women in projects relating to the protection of environment and sustainable development.

8. Cabinet has taken note that, in June 2007, bones belonging to a same Dodo were discovered in a cave in the region of Bois Cheri. In view of the historical importance of the discovery, it is proposed to set up a Dodo Gallery where the Dodo and its natural world would be recreated and, through iconography, models, audiovisuals and original specimens, the whole story of the Dodo, from its very discovery by man to its demise, narrated. The gallery, unique in the world, would be a major attraction for tourists as well as local visitors and unleash the potential for promoting the cultural and natural heritage of the country, so far under-exploited.

9. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of -

(i) the Financial Services Bill which amends and consolidates the law regulating financial services, other than banking, and global business and to provide for related matters;

(ii) the Securities (Amendment) Bill which amends the Securities Act 2005 to harmonise the provisions with those relating to other non-bank financial services; and

(iii) the Insurance (Amendment) Bill which amends the Insurance Act 2005 to harmonise the provisions with those relating to other non-bank financial services.

10. Cabinet has taken note that the Conservatoire de Musique Francois-Mitterrand Trust Fund Act would be amended in order that the Conservatoire could, in future, be known as the Conservatoire National de Musique Francois-Mitterrand and to take on board changes in its objects and scope of activity.

11. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Additional Remuneration Bill 2007 which provides for the payment of an additional remuneration to all employees of the private sector to compensate them for an increase in the cost of living.

12. In line with Government's objective to urgently set up a Land Management Administration, Cabinet has taken note that the Government of Western Australia (Landgate) and the Ministry of Housing & Lands would sign a Memorandum of Understanding during the forthcoming visit of the Hon Michelle Roberts, Minister for Employment Protection, Housing and Works, Indigenous Affairs, Heritage and Land Information of Australia.

The purpose of the Memorandum of Understanding is to establish the basis of cooperation to develop an effective and efficient Land Administration, Valuation and Information Management System through a programme of reform and modernisation, encompassing land registration, land management, land valuation, land use planning, surveying and mapping and involve a mutually beneficial exchange of information and staff.

The main areas of cooperation cover a broad scope of assistance which includes -

(i) technical and business management advice and training;
(ii) strategic planning and priority setting;

(iii) project management;

(iv) Quality Assurance processes, audits and reporting;

(v) education and training on Land Administration, systems analysis and database management;

(vi) developing and/or tuning procedures and documentation;

(vii) organisational development, structural reform and change management.

13. Cabinet has taken note that, taking into consideration the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence and desiring to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence, the United Nations General Assembly has unanimously adopted the resolution piloted by the Government of India and supported by the Government of Mauritius to annually observe and celebrate the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, i.e.,2 October, as the International Day of Non-Violence with effect from this year.

14. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the PTA Bank held in Mauritius on 27 June 2007. The PTA Bank was established in November 1985, pursuant to the Treaty establishing the Preferential Trade Area for the Eastern and Southern African States, later known COMESA.

The Board of Governors adopted, inter alia, the 4th Five Year Corporate Plan (2008-2012) which aims at –

(i) promoting rapid private sector development in its Member States through increased trade and project finance and attracting external capital flows;
(ii) fostering increase regional economic integration through trade and investments, and

(iii) promoting the development and deepening of local and regional financial markets by the issue of local currency bonds.

15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Workshop on Global Environment Facility (GEF) National Dialogue Initiative held in Mauritius on 25 and 26 June 2007.
The GEF which has been a major partner in implementing the country’s environment programme, provides grants to address critical challenges to global environment in areas of biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.

The workshop provided a forum for multi-stakeholder country level consultations to achieve the following objectives:

(a) promoting in-depth understanding of the GEF’s strategic directions, policies and procedures;

(b) achieving greater mainstreaming of GEF activities into national planning frameworks and coordination and synergies amongst the GEF focal area; and

(c) discussion on existing projects in Mauritius to outline opportunities and synergies that could lead to co- financing.