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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 14 December 2007

Cabinet Decisions taken on 14 December 2007

1. Cabinet has taken note of activities that would be organised to mark the 173rd Anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery in Mauritius on 1 February 2008. The activities, which would be held at national and regional levels, would comprise, inter alia, –

(i) launching of the Slave Route Project;

(ii) wreath laying;

(iii) cultural items with the participation of local and foreign artists;

(iv) an International Conference on the theme “Diaspora and Créolité : Convergences and Divergences”;

(v) sensitization campaigns in primary and secondary schools on slavery and its abolition; and

(vi) an exhibition of main documents, photos and lithographs related to slavery and its abolition.

Cabinet has further taken note that Mr Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yai, Chairman of UNESCO Executive Board, would be the Chief Guest on the occasion.

2. Cabinet has taken note that the EPZ Sector has been more performant during the period January to September 2007 as compared to the same period in 2006. The main features of the sector are –

(i) total exports increased from Rs 24.05 bn to Rs 27.96 bn, i.e., by Rs 3.91bn;

(ii) exports for Pullovers and Cardigans, T-Shirts, Shirts and Trousers registered an increase of Rs 688 m in value terms;

(iii) the volume of exports for Textile Yarns and Fabrics increased from 8,365 tons to 8,786 tons, i.e., by 5%; and

(iv) exports of Watches and Clocks; Precious & Semi Precious Stones; and Jewellery sub-sectors registered an increase of 32%, 4% and 14% respectively.

Cabinet has further taken note that the United Kingdom, France and USA still remain the main export markets registering an increase of 22%, 2% and 4% respectively.

3. Cabinet has taken note that 48 e-services, for use in the Public Sector, would be presented to the relevant Ministries and Departments in January 2008. The 48 online e-services would provide a gamut of services to businessmen, employees of the public and private sectors, as well as teenagers, and Mauritian citizens established abroad.

The main objective of e-Government is to make government services available electronically 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to the business community and to the public at large. One of the components of the Government web portal is the Citizen Portal whereby the public is able, inter alia, to submit online applications, receive online acknowledgements and have online tracking of applications.

4. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the implementation of the reform programme for public enterprises as announced in the 2007-2008 Budget Speech. The programme, to be implemented over the next five years, is meant to re-engineer the parastatal sector within the following implementation framework –
(a) setting up of key performance indicators, including general indicators for all parastatals on financial performance;

(b) where deemed viable, public sector monopolies would be liberalized so as to increase competition;

(c) where possible, parastatals would outsource some activities, in particular to small and medium enterprises;

(d) where the need is identified, Government will support rationalizations and mergers, and ensure that all resources of parastatals are productively employed; and

(e) reviewing the role and functions of those parastatals where there is still a business case for ongoing operations but no longer a need for government intervention.

The programme would, in the first instance, focus on agro-industry, public utilities, commerce and industry, social services and local authorities.

5. Cabinet has agreed to the ratification of the African Youth Charter, adopted by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, which, inter alia, provides –

(a) Governments, youth, civil societies and international partners with a framework to underline the rights, duties and freedom of youth and also pave the way for the development of national programmes and strategic plans for their empowerment; and

(b) important guidelines for the empowerment of Youth in key strategic areas, namely Education and Skills Development, Poverty Eradication and Socio-economic Integration of Youth, Sustainable Livelihood and Youth Employment, Health, Peace and Security, Law Enforcement, Sustainable Development and Protection of the Environment.

6. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, in collaboration with the Blood Donors Association, would hold a Mega Blood Donation on 18 December 2007 from 0730 hours to 1830 hours on the Esplanade of Emmanuel Anquetil Building, Port Louis with a view to maintaining an adequate stock level of blood during the end-of-year festive period, as well as strengthening the culture to donate blood.

7. Cabinet has taken note of the Health Statistics Annual Report for the Island of Mauritius and that for Rodrigues for 2006.

The salient features of the Report for Island of Mauritius are –

(i) the Crude Birth Rate in 2006 was 13.8 per thousand mid-year resident population as compared to 14.9 in 2005;

(ii) Maternal Mortality Rate was 0.18 per 1000 live births as compared to 0.22 per live births in 2005;
(iii) the number of inpatients treated in Government hospitals was 194,022 against 190,674 in 2005;

(iv) the total number of attendances for the treatment of diseases and injuries at outpatient departments of hospitals, mediclinics, area health centres and community health centres was 6,858,680 as compared to 6,400,848 in 2005; and

(v) the analysis of the trends in the underlying causes of death indicates a slow increase in the percentages of death due to heart diseases, i.e., from 17.2% in 1975 to 21.7% in 2006 whereas a more rapid increase has been noted with regards to diabetes mellitus, i.e., from 2.7% to 22.6% during the same period.

The Report for Rodrigues indicates that –

(i) the Crude Birth Rate was 23.8 per 1,000 mid-year resident population;

(ii) the number of inpatients treated in the Government Hospital and the two health centres was 13,695. The number of attendances for the treatment of diseases and injuries at the outpatient departments of the hospital and health centres, and at the community health centres was 225,054 (201,226 in 2005); and

(iii) in 2006, heart disease and diabetes were the first two principal causes of death with 20.4% and 18.4% of deaths respectively.

8. Cabinet has taken note that Government would donate 60 tons of Dichloro Diphenyl Trichloroethane (DDT) Wettable Powder to the Government of Zimbabwe and 8 tons to the “Union des Comores” in the context of the programme for the elimination of Malaria in the region.

9. Cabinet has taken note that the National Pensions (Amendment of Schedules) Regulations and the National Pensions (Collection of Contributions) Regulations would be amended with a view to increasing the minimum and maximum salaries on which contributions are payable to the National Pensions Fund.

The increase in ceiling is effected on a yearly basis in order to keep up with earnings and to ensure that the contributor will, at the time of retirement, receive a contributory retirement pension more in line with the prevailing cost of living.

10. Cabinet has taken note that the Social Aid Regulations 1984 would be amended to cater for increase in rates of Social Aid and Unemployment Hardship Relief and to implement the measures announced in the Budget 2007/2008, viz., –

(a) payment of an additional allowance of Rs 300 to children whose families are in receipt of Social Aid and who:

(i) suffer from a severe disability;

(ii) suffer from incontinence (children between 2 and 15 years);

(iii) are bedridden (children between 6 months and 15 years); and

(b) a one-off payment of Rs 400 at the start of the school year to children/students, aged between 3 years and 20 years, whose parents are in receipt of Social Aid or Unemployment Hardship Relief to enable them to meet school-related expenses.

11. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Health and Quality of Life to India where he participated in the International Ministerial Conference on Avian and Pandemic Influenza.

The objectives of the Conference were, inter-alia, to discuss on :

(i) progress and impact of efforts to control Avian Influenza and the Preparedness Plan for Pandemic;

(ii) development of a Road Map for the control and prevention of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza – surveillance system, vaccination and other interventions for risk reduction; and

(iii) public health crises caused by emerging diseases and pandemics.

12. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the National Transport Authority Board with Mr Zaredin M.N.S. Jaunbaccus, Bar-at-Law, as Chairperson.

13. Cabinet has taken note that, following the proclamation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act on 1 September 2007, a new Advisory Council for Occupational Safety and Health has been set up under the chairmanship of Mr S. Balgobin, Director, Occupational Safety and Health.