CABINET DECISIONS - 08 JUNE 2007
1. Cabinet has taken note that the Tourism Authority (Pleasure Craft Licence Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2007, and the Tourism Authority (Canvasser Permit Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 would be promulgated to, inter alia, review downwards the –
(a) fees payable by pleasure craft operators as follows –
(i) not more than 6 metres from Rs 8,000 to Rs 6,000
(ii) more than 6 metres but not more than 12 metres from Rs 12,000 to Rs 8,000.
The new rate would be applicable for a period of two years ending 30 April 2009.
(b) Canvasser permit fee payable by owners of pleasure crafts who wish to carry out their own canvassing to Rs 3,000.
2. Cabinet has taken note that, according to the last statistical bulletin, 65,301 tourists visited Mauritius in the month of May 2007 representing an increase of 28.6% over the same month in 2006. Tourist arrivals for the first five months of 2007 reached 379,529 as compared to 317,382 in the same period in 2006, i.e., an increase of 19.6%.
The market trend is as follows : France (+69.9%); Italy (+30.8%); South Africa (+23.7%); Spain (+26.6%); Australia (+19.9%); India (+12.4%); Switzerland (+35.1%) and Germany (+ 79.6%).
With 62,147 additional tourists visiting Mauritius in the first five months of this year, it is expected that at least 100,000 additional tourists would visit Mauritius before December 2007. The success is attributed to the air access liberalisation policy and to the excellent image of Mauritius, supported by visibility campaigns carried out by all industry players.
Statistics for Rodrigues has also shown an average increase of 15.7% in tourist arrivals for the first quarter of 2007. For the month of April 2007, Rodrigues recorded a remarkable performance in tourist arrivals with an increase of 23.9% in relation to the corresponding period of 2006.
3. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Vallée d’Osterlog Endemic Garden Foundation Bill, which provides for the establishment of a body corporate to be known as the Vallée d’Osterlog Endemic Garden Foundation, the main responsibilities of which would be to manage, administer, conserve, maintain, develop and promote visits to and knowledge about the Vallée d’Osterlog Endemic Garden.
4. Cabinet has taken note that the following agreements would be signed with the French Authorities -
(a) a “Convention de Partenariat” between Industrial and Vocational Training Board and the "Académie de la Réunion" which provides for exchanges in areas such as automotive engineering, hospitality and tourism management, textile production, air conditioning and refrigeration, building and maintenance, marketing and communication; and
(b) a Convention between the Mauritius Institute of Education and the "Institut Universitaire de Formation des Maîtres de la Réunion" providing for exchanges and/or collaborative arrangements in the domain of teacher training, training of Trainers and material development.
5. Cabinet has taken note of the finalisation of a Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Commission and Mauritius, which provides for, inter alia, scientific cooperation, and access to vessels of the European Community (EC) in Mauritius waters. The Agreement has significant importance to the fisheries sector since the tuna industry exports its products to the EC market on a preferential basis and the EC vessels supply raw materials to the canning and loining industries in Mauritius and contribute to the sustainable development of the Mauritius Seafood hub.
6. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the visit of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications to Rodrigues from 26 to 28 May 2007.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications met the Chief Commissioner of the Rodrigues Regional Assembly, the Island Chief Executive and other senior officials of the Rodrigues Administration and discussed, inter alia, the following issues –
(i) Promotional Strategy and New Branding for Rodrigues;
(ii) Arrangements being made by Air Mauritius in order to cope with the reduction in seat capacity as a result of the cessation of operation of Catovair on the Mauritius-Rodrigues route;
(iii) Status of Nature Trail Development Project at Trou D’Argent; and
(iv) Arrangements made at the SSR International Airport to facilitate passengers in transit to Rodrigues.
7. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries from 20 to 25 May 2007 to Brussels where he attended the Special Ministerial Consultations on Sugar, the ACP and ACP/EU Council of Ministers meetings.
The Ministerial Consultations on Sugar reviewed developments on, inter alia, -
(a) Implementation issues in regard to EU sugar regime;
(b) 2006/2007 ACP guaranteed price negotiations;
(c) EU Funding for ACP Multi-Annual Adaptation Strategies;
(d) Sugar Protocol in the context of EPA negotiations; and
(e) Intra-ACP Cooperation on Research and Development.
The Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries as Ministerial Spokesperson for Sugar, together with Ministers of Enlarged Bureau, i.e., Fiji, Guyana and Swaziland, had a fruitful meeting with Commissioner Mandelson regarding the joint review of the Sugar Protocol as stipulated under the Cotonou Agreement to safeguard the benefits of the longstanding trade and development instrument.
The ACP Council of Ministers Meetings considered, inter alia, the following items-
(i) Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria;
(ii) Report from the Ministers in charge of EPA negotiations;
(iii) Identification and mobilization of resources for the preparation and implementation of the EPA; and
(iv) Aid for Trade.
8. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the visit of Mr Bernard Gruson, Director General, and his medical teams from “Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève” (HUG) from 19 to 29 May, 2007. One team led by Prof Kalangos examined 19 patients and operated on 11 congenital paediatric cardiac cases, whilst the team led by Dr Tabatabay, Ophthalmic Surgeon, examined 300 patients, operated on 40 complex vitreo-retinal cases and carried three corneal grafts.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life and HUG have signed a Memorandum of Understanding providing for, inter alia, –
(i) support to the National Diabetes Framework;
(ii) financing the purchase of retinal cameras for screening diabetic patients at regional level;
(iii) assisting the Ministry in the setting up of an online National Register for recording cases of diabetes type I and II;
(iv) training to medical and para medical staff; and
(v) assisting patients inoperable in Mauritius.
9. Cabinet has taken note of the activities organized by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, in collaboration with the Blood Donors Association, to mark the World Blood Donor Day on 14 June 2007.
The World Blood Donor Day, celebrated for the first time on 14 June 2004, coincides with the birthday of Karl Landsteiner, a Nobel Prize winner, who discovered the ABO blood group system. World Blood Donor Day was introduced with a view to providing an opportunity to express the World’s gratitude towards voluntary non-remunerated blood donors. It also aims at creating a wider awareness on the importance of voluntary blood donation and at encouraging more people to become regular blood donors.
The programme of activities on the occasion of World Blood Donor Day 2007 would comprise –
(a) a march from Rose Hill Sports Complex to Plaza, Rose Hill;
(b) a debate competition among Form VI students of the region of Rose Hill, Belle Rose and Beau Bassin. The theme of the debate would be “Is there a place for altruism in blood donation”;
(c) Sketch and cultural programmes;
(d) Blood collection at Plaza; and
(e) Prize giving to colleges which have participated actively in blood donation.
10. Cabinet has taken note that the Sub-Regional-Green Customs Initiative Workshop would be held in Mauritius from 18 to 20 July 2007.
The Green Customs concept, developed in 2001 by the United Nations Environment Programme, brings on one platform several trade-related environmental conventions for integrated training to customs and other officers dealing with international trade control with a view to combating illegal trade.
The Workshop, the first of its kind organised for the Indian Ocean island countries, has as objectives to,
(i) create awareness among customs officers on their role in enforcing Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs);
(ii) encourage creation of links at the national level between key MEA enforcement stakeholders;
(iii) encourage bilateral, as well as regional dialogues, on trade-related issues; and
(iv) present available resources to customs administration on MEA enforcement issues, particularly among international organisations involved in these issues.
11. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Health and Quality of Life to Geneva from 12 to 19 May 2007, where he attended the –
(i) 45th Health Ministers’ Conference of the East Central and Southern African Community (ECSA);
(ii) Pre-WHA Meeting of Commonwealth Health Ministers; and
(iii) 60th World Health Assembly (WHA) Meeting.
The 45th ECSA Regional Health Ministers' Conference discussed and adopted the Performance Report for period 1 July 2006 to 30 April 2007, as well as costed Work Plans for 2007-2008 which included, inter alia, Family and Reproductive Health, Food and Nutrition, Health Systems Development and Capacity Building.
The Pre-WHA Meeting of Commonwealth Health Ministers met to –
• discuss lifestyle diseases: policies, practices and related challenges in Commonwealth Countries;
• review Commonwealth Secretariat action on health priorities, including the programme of work of the Health Section; and
• receive current updates on priority health issues in the Commonwealth.
The 60th World Health Assembly pursued its work through two Committees which dealt with health issues
(i) Draft Medium Term Strategic Plan 2008-2013;
(ii) Avian and Pandemic Influenza;
(iii) Poliomyelitis: mechanism for management of potential risks to eradication;
(iv) Evidence-based strategies and interventions to reduce alcohol related harm;
(v) Oral Health: Action Plan for Promotion and integrated disease Prevention.