CABINET DECISIONS - 10 AUGUST 2007
1. Cabinet has taken note that improvement in transshipment business in the port had a significant impact on the financial situation of the Cargo Handling Corporation Ltd which has registered a net profit of Rs2.9m at the close of financial year 2006/2007, as compared to a net loss of Rs 47.5m for financial year 2005/2006.
Cabinet has further taken note that transshipment of container traffic has increased by 46.6% in July 2007, as compared to the same period last year, that is, from 8,608 TEU's to 12,625 TEU's. The number of container vessels calling at the port has increased by 21% over the same period. Transshipment of empty containers has also risen over 30%, from 21,751 TEU's in financial year 2005/2006 to 28,363 TEU's in financial year 2006/2007.
2. Cabinet has taken note that following structural defects noted at Mutteeputh Fowdur Government School, Camp de Masque Pavé, the Ministry of Education & Human Resources, in consultation with the PTA, has made arrangements for students to be temporarily diverted to Camp de Masque State College as from Monday 13 August 2007. The Ministry of Education & Human Resources would provide for free transport facilities.
3. After taking note of the case of a foreign national who, in full knowledge of her being HIV positive, proposed to marry a Mauritian, Cabinet has agreed to re-examine the Civil Status Act to remove all forms of discrimination.
4. Cabinet has taken note of the National Multisectoral HIV and AIDS Strategic Framework 2007 – 2011 prepared by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life to respond to the findings of the Biennial United Nations General Assembly Special Session Report 2005 and international conventions.
The overall goal of the Strategic Framework is to prevent new HIV infection and provide a continuum of comprehensive care to people living with HIV and AIDS so as to mitigate the impact of the epidemic on individuals, families, communities and the society at large. Defined strategic objectives have been geared to address identified constraints, emerging epidemic drivers and unmet needs of groups with high-risk behaviours. A National AIDS Coordinating Authority, having a broad-based multisectoral mandate, has been set up at the Prime Minister’s Office to ensure the implementation of projects, programmes and activities of the strategic plan.
5. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life proposes to make regulations under the HIV and AIDS Act to provide for HIV testing, Centres for treatment of HIV positive persons and implementation of the Needle Exchange Programme.
Cabinet has further taken note that the following guidelines have been prepared –
(i) Guidelines on HIV testing provided by the National Reference Laboratory;
(ii) Guidelines for Pre-Test Counselling;
(iii) Administrative Guidelines for Post-Test Counselling; and
(iv) Guidelines on the measures for ensuring the confidentiality of information in respect of HIV tests or related medical assessment of any person.
6. Cabinet has taken note that, after considering the specificities of the Field Crop and Orchard Industry and its prospects, the National Remuneration Board has made, inter alia, the following main recommendations -
(a) a wage increase varying between 15 to 29% to the different categories of workers;
(b) an increase in maternity allowance to female workers from Rs500 to Rs2000;
(c) the grant of either 2 weeks’ or 12 weeks’ leave on full pay to an employee suffering still birth, the second leave being deductible from the entitlement of the first 3 confinements;
(d) the grant of all appropriate working facilities as recommended by a medical practitioner to a female employee who has entered the seventh month of pregnancy;
(e) the entitlement to a female worker who is nursing her unweaned child of a break of one hour daily or half an hour twice daily with pay; and
(f) the funeral expenses to be increased from Rs2000 to Rs3500.
7. Cabinet has agreed to the proposal of the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment to make a Remuneration Order in respect of salary and hours of work for workers employed by travel agents and tour operators.
8. Cabinet has taken note of the programme of activities to mark the 107th Birth Anniversary of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, viz.-
(a) Wreath-laying Ceremony in front of the statue of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam at Esplanade Prof Basdeo Bissoondoyal, Port-Louis, his Samadhi at the SSR Botanical Garden, Pamplemousses and his statue at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Memorial Park, Kewal Nagar, Belle Rive.
(b) A Prize Giving Ceremony for the Painting, Essay Writing and Poetry Competitions on Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam organized for Secondary Schools by the Mauritius Museums Council, followed by an exhibition of the paintings of the winners.
(c) A cultural programme at SSR Memorial Park, Kewal Nagar, Belle Rive.
(d) A Memorial Lecture on Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam by the Mahatma Gandhi Institute/Rabindranath Tagore Institute.
9. Cabinet has taken note of progress in the African Peer Review Mechanism(APRM) exercise. So far, there have been consultations with NGO's and Civil Society with a view to preparing the Self-Assessment Report and the Programme of Action. A first round of consultative workshops was held around four core areas of governance, namely:
(a) Democracy and Good Political Governance;
(b) Economic Governance and Management;
(c) Corporate Governance; and
(d) Socio-Economic Development.
A second round of consultative workshops is currently being held with different interest groups, namely Women, Youth, NGOs, Senior Citizens, Trade Unions, District and Village Councils. Consultations are expected to be completed by November 2007 and the outcome of the consultations would be presented for validation by all stakeholders taking part in the exercise. The approved document would constitute the basis for the preparation of a proposed Programme of Action which would be incorporated in the Self-Assessment Report to be submitted to the APRM Secretariat.
10. Cabinet has taken note of the implementation of the project “Capacity Building for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women”. The aim of the project is to consolidate the National Gender Machinery into a fully fledged gender policy making body.
To date, through the project, institutional mechanisms of the National Gender Machinery have been strengthened and the following activities have been organized -
(a) revival of the Gender Focal Point (GFP) mechanism in line Ministries/ Departments;
(b) setting up of a Standing Committee of Gender Focal Point under the chairmanship of the Minister of Women's Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection;
(c) capacity building of GFPs and other stakeholders on gender mainstreaming, including training on the African Gender and Development Index and on gender analysis;
(d) development of gender sensitive indicators for the implementation of the National Gender Policy and its Action Plan;
(e) analysis of the Time Use Survey and dissemination of its finding; and
(f) general awareness initiatives on gender issues.
11. Cabinet has taken note that the following trade-related agreements and Memoranda of Understanding have been signed during the official visit of Mr Humayun Akhtar Khan, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Commerce on 30 July 2007-
(i) Agreement on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters for the proper application of Customs Laws and the prevention, investigation and combatting of customs offences;
(ii) Memorandum of Understanding between the Mauritius Standards Bureau and the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority for standardization, certification, conformity assessment and training;
(iii) Agreement between the Small Enterprises and Handicraft Development Authority of Mauritius and the Small Medium Enterprises Development Authority of Pakistan to encourage and facilitate the development and promotion of small and medium enterprises;
(iv) Memorandum of Understanding between the State Trading Corporation of Mauritius and the Trading Corporation of Pakistan to work closely to promote trade, cooperation and economic development for mutual benefit;
(v) Memorandum of Understanding on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures to provide for the most appropriate and cost-efficient approach to the removal and reduction of sanitary and phytosanitary barriers to trade in goods between the two countries; and
(vi) Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between the Enterprise Mauritius and The Islamic Republic of Pakistan through the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan to strengthen the relationship between the institutions and to develop and enlarge of trade links between the two countries.
12. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the participation of the Minister of Environment & National Development Unit at the High-Level Meeting on Forests and Climate from 23 to 25 July 2007 in Sydney. The object of this High-Level Meeting was to set out a coherent framework for addressing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and to promote sustainable forestry in order to mitigate global warming.
The High-Level Meeting observed that almost 20 % of global emissions currently come from clearing the world's forests and that some 13 million hectares of world’s forests are cleared annually representing the destruction of some 1.6 billion trees: almost 1 billion of these are not replaced. It was agreed that reducing deforestation, combined with planting new forests and encouraging sustainable forest management practices, is one of the best ways to reduce global emissions.
13. Cabinet has taken note of the new activities to be launched by the Mauritius Standards Bureau (MSB) in a bid to attaining self-sustainability over the next five years.
The Mauritius Standards Bureau, created in 1975, became a corporate body in 1993 for greater operational flexibility and financial autonomy and also to enable it to play a more dynamic and proactive role in the economic development of the country. The Bureau which has adopted an integrated approach to standardization, provides the following services -
(i) Testing of products;
(ii) Product Certification under the MAURICERT scheme;
(iii) ISO 9001 National Quality Management System Certification Scheme;
(iv) HACCP certification scheme for the management of food safety hazards;
(v) Calibration of weighing and measuring instruments; and
(vi) Sale of standards and training.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Mauritius Standards Bureau is currently working on a plan to become a world class self-sustained Standards Organization and proposes to offer its services in the region.