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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 16 November 2007

Cabinet Decisions taken on 16 November 2007

1. Consequent to the meeting that Dr the Hon N. Ramgoolam, Prime Minister, had with some parents of the pupils of Chitrakoot Government School on 15 November 2007, Cabinet has taken note that it has been decided that –

(a) the pupils would not be transferred;

(b) as a temporary measure, the existing building would be repaired and that works would start on Monday 19 November and are expected to be completed by the end of December 2007;

(c) a plot of land outside the risk zone would be identified for the construction of a new school; and

(d) a mechanism would be put in place to monitor any landslide in the area.

2. Cabinet has taken note that, following the outbreak of swine fever, a Solidarity Fund, with a seed capital of Rs 1m from the Prime Minister’s Solidarity Fund, has been created under the aegis of the Ministry of Agro Industry & Fisheries to cater for livestock breeders, victims of natural calamities and for animal disease/epidemic/pandemic.

3. Cabinet has taken note that, according to the last statistical bulletin –

(a) 81,244 tourists visited Mauritius in the month of October 2007, i.e., an increase of 7.7% as compared to October 2006;

(b) France, our leading market in Europe, continues to register positive growth with an increase of 25.5%;

(c) South Africa and Reunion Island, the two major markets of the region continue to perform well with an increase of 15.8% and 4.8% respectively; and

(d) total tourist arrivals during the period January to October 2007 reached 726,065 representing an increase of 16.8% as compared to the corresponding period in 2006.

Based on this trend, it is expected that the target of 900,000 tourists by the end of 2007 would be achieved.

4. Cabinet has taken note that, under the Assistance Scheme put in place by Government for the supply of electricity to the poorest segment of the population whose premises are located far from existing electricity network, 252 cases have been approved for a total project value of about Rs 8.5 million. Works in respect of 217 cases have already been completed.

The criteria for implementing the Scheme, which is applicable to a domestic customer only, are, inter alia, -

(i) applicant should be a first-time-owner of a house;

(ii) application for assistance should be submitted to the CEB on the prescribed form, available at any CEB regional sub-office; and

(iii) the applicant should have the appropriate Building Permit/Development Permit in his/her name.

5. Cabinet has agreed to the setting up of a Confucius Institute (CI) in Mauritius with the collaboration of the People's Republic of China. The Institute, a non-profit organization, has as objectives to -

(a) teach Chinese language;

(b) train teachers in Chinese language and provide teaching resources required in the language instruction;
(c) provide consultancy services on Chinese culture, economy and social aspects; and

(d) conduct research on contemporary China.

The Institute would temporarily be based at the University of Mauritius.

6. Cabinet has taken note that the Pre-School Trust Fund would, in accordance with the provisions of the Industrial Relations Act, regularise the situation of the 114 persons who have been working as cleaners in pre-primary units for a long time.

7. With a view to combating domestic violence in a more systematic, consolidated and broad manner, Cabinet has agreed to the adoption of a National Action Plan to Combat Domestic Violence which reflects the following five strategic objectives –

(a) improvement in legislation on domestic violence and strengthening of the justice system and the response of other agencies;

(b) provision of appropriate, accessible, timely and coordinated multi-agency responses and support to victims, abusers and children who need it;

(c) sensitize and change attitudes to prevent domestic violence from happening in the first place;

(d) promote responsible reporting, advocacy and sensitization and provision of a forum by media specialists to encourage the community at large to discuss domestic violence; and

(e) undertake research and studies on domestic violence, strengthen capacity building and set appropriate mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation of the National Action Plan for the promotion of best practices.

8. Cabinet has taken note of activities organised by the Ministry of Women’s Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection to commemorate the International Day Against Violence Against Women (IDAVAW) on 25 November 2007, viz. –

(a) a mass gathering at the National Women Development Centre in Phoenix to pay homage to victims of violence who have passed away as a result of violence perpetrated on them;

(b) launching of a National Action Plan to Combat Domestic Violence;

(c) launching of a website on Domestic Violence, in collaboration with UNDP; and

(d) launching of Information Education & Communication Materials with a view to sensitizing the public at large on issues pertaining to domestic violence.

IDAVAW is an opportunity to increase the visibility of violence against women as a human rights violation, and as a platform to demand support services for survivors, enhance preventive efforts and press for legal and judicial reforms. The theme for this year, which is “Demanding Implementation, Challenging Obstacles: End Violence Against Women”, calls upon all parties concerned to step up efforts to combat the scourge of violence against women.

9. Cabinet has taken note that HE the Right Honourable Don McKinnon, Commonwealth Secretary General, would pay an official visit to Mauritius from 3 to 4 December 2007. During his visit, the Commonwealth Secretary General would call on the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation.

10. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Public Utilities would notify the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of the coming into force of the Additional Protocol for the application of safeguards in connection with the Treaty of the Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

The specific measures provided in the Additional Protocol include –

(a) information about and IAEA inspectors access to all aspects of States’ nuclear fuel cycle, from uranium mines to nuclear waste and any other location where nuclear material intended for non-nuclear uses is present;

(b) information about and inspection mechanisms for fuel cycle-related research and development; and

(c) information on the manufacture and export of sensitive nuclear-related technologies and inspection mechanisms for manufacturing and import locations.

11. In line with the vision of Government to transform the country into a knowledge-based intelligent society and to promote cultural understanding and life-long learning, Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Education & Human Resources would promote co-curricular and extra-curricular projects and activities right from the pre-primary throughout the upper secondary with a view to extending education beyond the formal curriculum. Co-curricular and extra-curricular activities are organized and offered to supplement what school syllabi do not or cannot provide.

12. Cabinet has taken note that the China, India, Brazil and Africa (CIBA) Business Forum 2008 would be held in Mauritius early next year. The main objective of the Forum would be to address issues relating to strengthening South-South cooperation. Discussion would centre on topics, such as mobilization of resources, renewable energy, need for infrastructure, information communication technology, tourism and hospitality, financial services, mining and natural resources, etc. The event would provide an ideal platform for our local industrialists to network and discuss joint venture collaboration with carefully selected foreign potential investors. Some 200 foreign delegates and an equal number of local captains of the industry are expected to participate in the Forum.

13. Cabinet has taken note that the Regional Symposium on “Integration of Gender into the formal and non-formal Education Systems” would be held in Mauritius, from 26 to 30 November 2007.

The objectives of the Symposium are, inter alia, to:

(a) make an appraisal of the current situation and to propose practical solutions for Francophone countries currently encountering difficulties to eliminate gender disparities;

(b) provide an opportunity to share best practices and to explain the plan of action of the “Organisation Internationale de La Francophonie” that aims at promoting gender parity within the formal and non-formal sectors;

(c) build up a synergy between successful Francophone countries and those which are encountering difficulties in the implementation phase; and

(d) assist countries in developing action plans adaptable to their specific education system.

Delegates from Djibouti, Comoros, Madagascar, Seychelles would attend the Symposium.

14. Cabinet has taken note of activities organised by the Ministry of Women’s Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection in the context of the Universal Children’s Day on 20 November, 2007. The theme which has been chosen this year by the Ministry of Women’s Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection to celebrate the Universal Children’s Day is “Nos Enfants, Nos Responsabilités”. In this context, it is proposed to organise several recreational activities, such as sketches, live performances, jumping castles and magic shows, at Gymkhana, Vacoas from 09 00 hours to 14 30 hours.

15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Women’s Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection to Cairo, Egypt, where she participated in the Second Pan-African Forum on Children – Mid-Term Review held from 29 October to 02 November 2007 and had as theme “Review of Progress and Call for Accelerated Action Towards Achieving the African Common Position on Africa Fit for Children”.

The Forum focused, inter alia, on the review and assessment of progress made by Member States in the implementation of the commitments contained in the Declaration and Plan of Action of the African Common Position; the Review and adoption of a Call for Accelerated Action for Child Survival, Protection, Development and Partnership; and the Charting the way forward for 2012.

16. Cabinet has taken note of activities organised by the Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunications, in collaboration with the National Computer Board (NCB), to mark the Computer Security Day 2007 which would be celebrated on 30 November, viz –

(i) a one-day Cyber Security Conference on 30 November 2007; and

(ii) a five-day Master Class Workshop on Implementing Information Security Management Systems for ISO 27001 conducted by the Standardisation, Testing and Quality Certification Directorate of India.

Both the Conference and the Workshop aim at providing participants with an understanding and hands-on training in the implementation of an Information Security Management Systems focusing on -

(a) Current and emerging information security threats for businesses;

(b) Preparedness to deal with disasters;

(c) Managing regulatory compliance, policies and procedures;

(d) Critical infrastructure protection through effective intrusion prevention strategies;

(e) Maximise returns on information security investments; and

(f) Latest information security products and technologies.

17. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Special ACP Ministerial Consultations on Sugar held in Brussels on 7 November 2007, subsequent to the EC decision to unilaterally denounce the Sugar Protocol. The main issues raised during the meeting chaired by the Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries, in his capacity as ACP Spokesperson on Sugar, were as follows-

(a) Update on regional negotiations on EPAs regarding sugar;

(b) Unilateral decision taken by the EC to denounce the Sugar Protocol;

(c) Lobbying the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and the Commonwealth Heads of State and Government meeting; and

(d) 2006/2007 ACP Guaranteed Price Negotiations.

The Minister also made a statement at the meeting of the ACP Ministers responsible for Trade and EPA’s and sought their support on sugar in the context of EPA’s and on EU’s decision to unilaterally denounce the Sugar Protocol.

18. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Information Technology & Telecommunications to New York from 24 to 25 October 2007 where he participated in the OutsourceWorld 2007 Conference and Exhibition. The primary objective of the Conference was to enable commerce between buyers and sellers of sourcing services across diverse geographies. Participation in both the Conference and the Exhibition provided an opportunity to –

(a) create an awareness of Mauritius as an emerging BPO destination in the USA;

(b) enable local participants to take stock of and set up contacts with US BPO Clients, as well as learn from competitors on future trends;

(c) set up contacts with BPO brokers/intermediaries for collaboration; and

(d) meet with ICT Companies in the US in a bid to convince them of the relevance of Mauritius as a value proposition in the ICT sector.

19. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the visit of Hon Smt Meira Kumar, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, from 1 to 5 November 2007, during which she signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions in the field of social development covering persons with disabilities, victims of substance abuse and community development. Hon Smt Meira Kumar visited the Shradanand Infirmary and the Gayasingh Orphanage, the Recreation Centre for the Elderly and Disabled at Pointe-aux-Sables and Cheshire Home. Discussions were also held on collaboration and assistance in training and attachment of officers, joint research work and empowerment of resource persons in relevant fields and sharing of experience.

20. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Meeting of the Ministerial Task Force on Regional Economic Integration of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and that of the Extraordinary Council of Ministers held in Lusaka, Zambia, on 8 and 9 November 2007 respectively. The Council of Ministers discussed, inter alia, -

(a) Job Evaluation, as a follow up on the SADC restructuring exercise, as well as on the implementation of the SADC regional economic integration agenda;

(b) review of operations of the Integrated Committee of Ministers and the setting up of the Framework for the operationalisation of the Sectoral Committees of Ministers;

(c) Budget Outlook Paper 2008/9 –2010/11, setting the projections based on new priorities; and

(d) preparations for the SADC Summit Conference on Poverty and Development scheduled to be held in Mauritius from 18 to 20 April 2008.

Cabinet has further taken note of developments in the arrangements made for the holding of the SADC Conference on Poverty and Development. The theme of the Conference would be “Regional Economic Integration: A Strategy for Poverty Eradication towards sustainable Development”.