CABINET DECISIONS - 11 MAY 2007
1. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the setting up of the first Tourist Village at Belle Mare under the Empowerment Programme as announced in the 2006-2007 Budget Speech. The Tourist Villages would cater for the development of Small and Medium Enterprises for the tourist market. A Government-owned company would own and manage the Tourist Villages.
2. In line with Government Programme 2005-2010 to promote and facilitate employment creation, Cabinet has agreed to the setting up of an "Espace des Métiers", along the lines of what exists in Paris, to, inter alia, -
(i) support the Empowerment Programme and, more particularly, the workfare programme which focuses on training and re-skilling, the special programme for unemployed women and the initiatives relating to SMEs and the development of new entrepreneurs; and
(ii) reinforce the operation of existing services, such as the Employment Information Centres, the Small Enterprises and Handicraft Development Authority, and the Careers Guidance Service.
In line with Government's philosophy to move services towards people, a mobile unit offering core services would shortly be introduced to ensure greater outreach. It is also proposed to set up IT corners in Employment Information Centres to facilitate access to jobseekers and the general public to the website of the "Espace des Métiers".
3. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Gambling Regulatory Authority Bill which aims at amending and consolidating into one legislation all laws relating to gaming and betting and at providing for –
(a) one single regulator for better synergy, coordination and enforcement of gambling regulations;
(b) the setting up of an Inspectorate Division with necessary inspection and investigation powers to combat malpractices in gambling, lottery games, sweepstakes and lotteries. The existing "Police des Jeux" under the Horse Racing Board Act would, however, be maintained;
(c) a legal framework for the control and regulation of betting on foreign horse-races, football matches, other sporting events and of interactive gambling; and
(d) the fostering of responsible gambling in order to minimise harm caused by gambling.
4. Cabinet has taken note that the National Women Entrepreneur Council has, on 7 May 2007, launched the Women Entrepreneurship Development Programme which aims at providing the necessary skills to potential women entrepreneurs for start-ups, business growth and employment creation. The programme covers areas, such as Access to Finance, Marketing, Human Resource Management, Legal issues related to the setting up of an enterprise, Sectoral Opportunities as well as skills to cope with Family and Work responsibilities. Some 70 potential women entrepreneurs of the region of Vacoas/Phoenix attended the first programme. Such development programmes would be held islandwide. The next programmes are scheduled to be held in the regions of Triolet, Bel Air, Saint Pierre, Bambous, Goodlands, Flacq, Rose Belle, Plaine Verte/Roche Bois and Rivière des Anguilles.
5. Cabinet has taken note that the National Pay Council, constituted on 4 May 2007 under the Chairmanship of Mr Sen Ramsamy, held its first meeting on 10 May 2007 and that a second meeting has been scheduled for 16 May 2007.
Cabinet has agreed to a proposal of Workers' Representatives on the Council to the effect that the Director, Central Statistics Office, should not participate as Government Representative in the deliberations of the Council. Cabinet has decided that another representative of Government would be nominated shortly.
6. Cabinet has taken note that, according to the last statistical bulletin, some 70,297 tourists visited Mauritius in the month of April 2007 as compared to 57,361 for April 2006, i.e., an increase of 22.6%. The French market has also recorded a remarkable performance by registering an increase of 85.7% in tourist arrivals.
Cabinet has further taken note that the first quarter of 2007 has registered an additional 47,619 tourist arrivals representing an increase of 17.9% compared to the first quarter of 2006.
7. In order to clarify the financial situation at the University of Mauritius and to ensure that the financial management system and practices are efficient and effective, Cabinet has agreed to the Management Audit Bureau carrying out a thorough review of the financial management system of the University of Mauritius with a view to assessing –
(i) whether funds received from Government or from other sources are applied and used for the purposes for which they were originally allocated;
(ii) whether the University of Mauritius is making efficient and effective use of financial and human resources at its disposal; and
(iii) the financial sustainability of the University within the existing policy framework.
8. Cabinet has taken note that the Eleventh Session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) would be held in Mauritius from 13 to 18 May 2007.
The IOTC was set up in 1994 as a statutory body under Article XIV of the FAO Constitution. It is mandated to manage tuna and tuna-like species in the Indian Ocean and adjacent seas taking into consideration conservation objectives. To date, the IOTC has 25 members, including members of the Indian Ocean Commission, the United Kingdom, the European Community and France. Mauritius became member of the IOTC, along with Eritrea and Sri Lanka at the time of its establishment.
9. Cabinet took note that, following commitment taken by the Prime Minister during his recent visit to Rodrigues, the Caravane de L’Entrepreneuriat was organized in Rodrigues on 28 April 2007 in order to boost entrepreneurship development in the island. On that occasion, 816 registration certificates and 33 cheques, amounting to Rs736 000, were awarded by the SEHDA and DBM respectively for projects such as, mixed farming, bee keeping, garment making, food processing, handicraft, tinsmith, cow rearing, goat rearing, mobile canteen, vegetable cultivation and fishing. Three workshops were held to sensitize entrepreneurs of steps to be followed in order to start a small enterprise and of facilities and services offered by support institutions. More than 1300 persons attended the workshops out of which 1000 applied for registration with the SEHDA.
10. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Women's Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection would organise a sensitization programme on “Strengthening Family Ties” on 19 May 2007 to mark the International Day of Families.
The International Day of Families is observed on 15 May to highlight the importance of families as basic units of society. This year, the United Nations has retained the theme: “Families and Persons with Disabilities” for the International Day of Families with a view to raising public awareness about crucial issues concerning families and persons with disabilities.
11. In line with the provision of the Protection of Elderly Persons Act, Cabinet has taken note of the setting up of the Monitoring Committee under the chairmanship of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions, to -
(a) supervise the operations of the Welfare and Elderly Persons’ Protection Unit and of every Elderly Watch, and give to its officers such directions of a general character as it may deem necessary; and
(b) provide adequate resources and facilities for the proper operation of the Unit and of every Elderly Watch.
12. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping to Rodrigues from 4 to 6 May 2007 in the context of the organization of the UN Global Road Safety Week in Rodrigues. Activities organized on that occasion were, inter alia, –
(i) a public exhibition on roads safety measures;
(ii) a working session on the Free Travel Scheme in Rodrigues; and
(iii) the inauguration of the Access Road to Rivière Coco Village.
During his interventions, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping stressed the importance for road users of all ages to observe road safety measures and proposed the setting up of road safety clubs.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping, also, had a working session with the Chief Commissioner and surveyed the main economic activities in Rodrigues. He also discussed the expertise that his Ministry could put at the disposal of the Commission for Public Infrastructure, Environment, Housing, Transport and Marine Parks.
13. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications to the United States of America from 16 to 20 April 2007 in the context of the African Ministerial US West Coast Investment Promotion Mission organised by the US Chamber of Commerce and the Whitaker Group.
The objectives of the African Ministerial Trip were to:
(a) sensitize US corporations about investment and trade opportunities in participating countries;
(b) introduce the delegations to some of the leading US corporations interested in conducting business in Africa; and
(c) identify sourcing opportunities for the goods and services that US enterprises need.
The Mauritian delegation laid emphasis on issues such as Land-Based Oceanic Industry, sourcing in Mauritius of textile products, rum, special sugars, jewellery, renewable energy; and Information Technology/ICT.
14. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment to Addis Ababa where he attended the 5th Ordinary Session of the African Union Labour and Social Affairs Commission and the Eleventh ILO African Regional Meeting.
The mandate of the African Union Labour and Social Affairs Commission is to:
(i) develop cooperation between Member States of the African Union in the
field of labour and social affairs;
(ii) study the labour and social problems peculiar to these countries;
(iii) examine all questions related to ILO or other specialized agencies of UN whose activities have a bearing on labour and social questions; and
(iv) adopt an African Common Position to present a united front in defence of African interests, both at the International Labour Conference and any other international meetings dealing with social and labour matters.
The Eleventh ILO African Regional Meeting which was attended by 42 Member States including 31 Ministers, inter alia, considered the two reports of the Director General, viz, the ILO Activities Report in Africa - 2004-2006 and the Report on the Decent Work Agenda in Africa: 2007-2015. The first report reflected progress achieved on the implementation of the outcomes of the 10th African Regional Meeting and those of the Ouagadougou Summit 2004 which adopted a Declaration, Plan of Action and Follow-up Mechanism on Employment and Poverty Alleviation in Africa.
15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the 10th Special Ministerial Conference on Sugar on the theme "Managing the Challenges of Reform in the Sugar Sector", held in Fiji. The meeting examined developments, inter alia, on -
(a) the new EU Sugar Regime and the effects of its implementation so far;
(b) the 2005/2006 and 2006/2007 price negotiations;
(c) the allocation of complementary quantity;
(d) the study on preserving the benefits derived by 18 Sugar Protocol countries in the context of EPA negotiations; and
(e) intra-ACP reform projects on research and development.
The Meeting also discussed Sugar in the context of EPA negotiations, the ACP Action Plan on Accompanying Measures, the future outlook and opportunities in the Sugar Sector.
16. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the Residential Care Homes Board with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions as Chairperson.