CABINET DECISIONS - 23 FEBRUARY 2007
1. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister, to France where he attended the 24th Africa-France Summit held in Cannes on 15 and 16 February 2007.
The main theme of the Summit was "Africa and Global Balance". The Summit delved, inter alia, on -
(a) Raw Materials in Africa;
(b) Africa's Position and Influence in the World; and
(c) Africa and the Information Society.
The Prime Minister intervened on the theme – "Raw Materials in Africa", a session which was jointly presided by President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso and Mr Thierry Breton, French Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry.
The Prime Minister thanked Commissioner Mr Louis Michel of the European Union for the increase in the ceiling of funds for Accompanying Measures from 15% to 19.4% for Mauritius for the period 2007-2013, i.e., Mauritius would now benefit from an additional amount of Rs2.5 billion.
The Prime Minister had a very fruitful tête-à-tête with President Chirac with whom he raised issues of mutual interest. He also thanked President Chirac for his intervention in favour of Mauritius for the increase in the Accompanying Measures and for his assistance in the re-opening of "Agence Française de Développement" in Mauritius.
He also discussed bilateral issues with other Heads of State and Government including the President of the Malagasy Republic, Mr Marc Ravalomanana.
In the context of the Summit, on an invitation of the French Government, Mauritius, together with 17 other pioneering countries, signed the Memorandum of Understanding on UNITAID.
In London, the Prime Minister had discussions with –
(a) Dr Dave Werrett, Chief Executive Officer of the UK Forensic Science Service and his close collaborators; and
(b) Lord Anderson of Swansea of the House of Lords and Member of the EU Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and International Development.
2. Subsequent to the talks the Prime Minister had with President Chirac during his visit to France last year, Cabinet has taken note that the “Agence Française de Développement” (AFD), formerly known as “La Caisse Centrale de Coopération Economique”, has re-opened its office in Mauritius since December 2006. Mr Michel Gauthey has been appointed Director of the AFD Office. The AFD normally provides fund support to countries for social development projects, as well as for infrastructure and job creation projects.
3. In line with Government's stated policy for the provision of World Class Quality Education, Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Education & Human Resources is launching the "Excellence Award for Education 2007" with a view to promoting and sustaining the culture of quality in the education system. The Scheme would be open to all Government, Government-Aided and Private pre-primary, Primary and Secondary Schools in Mauritius, Rodrigues and Agalega.
In order to give due recognition to meritorious endeavours and achievements, the Ministry proposes to award shields and prizes in the following categories:
(i) Award for Best School
(ii) Award for Best Rector/Principal
(iii) Award for Best Head Teacher
(iv) Award for Best Teacher
(v) Award for Best Parent Teachers' Association
(vi) Award for Best Students' Council
(vii) Award for Best Creative Pre-School
The Scheme would be launched on 27 February 2007.
4. Cabinet has taken note that one of the outcome of the International Seafood Conference held in Mauritius in March 2006, was the signature of a Bilateral Cooperation Agreement between the Government of Greece and the Republic of Mauritius in the fisheries sector. Cabinet has further taken note that the Government of Greece has subsequently agreed to provide financial assistance to the tune of
EUR 611,072, for the implementation of two projects in the fisheries sector, viz.,
(i) the setting up of a Fish Auction Market at Trou Fanfaron Fishing
(ii) the culture of Sea Bream in Floating Cages.
The Fish Auction Market which would be managed by the Agricultural Marketing Board, would support the development of the seafood hub by providing a more conducive environment for the efficient marketing of fish. It would be constructed in compliance with international norms and standards relating to fish handling, quality and storage, namely HACCP, Codex Alimentarius and EU norms.
5. Cabinet has agreed to Government signing the Minutes of Negotiations and the Project Agreement with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development for the participation of Mauritius in the South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Project. The main object of the project is to provide a platform to the nine coastal and island states of the South West Indian Ocean region, namely Mauritius, Seychelles, Comoros, Madagascar, Reunion Island (France), Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa, to collectively assess and sustainably use the region’s common key fisheries resources according to an ecosystem approach.
Mauritius would participate in five components of the Project, viz. -
(i) data atlas and information technology;
(ii) assessment and sustainable use of demersal and pelagic fishes;
(iii) fisheries impact on non-consumptive resources; and
(iv) strengthening national fisheries management capacity.
Mauritius would, inter alia, benefit from technical assistance in the assessment and management of fisheries resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone, capacity building and cooperation among regional fisheries research institutions.
6. With a view to further motivating Mauritian athletes, Cabinet has agreed to a revision of the Cash Prize Scheme for rewarding athletes, who obtain a medal at major international and regional sports events, taking into account their performance in sports competitions and to the reclassification of the sports events into six groups in accordance with the level of competition. The maximum cash prize proposed under the new scheme is Rs600,000 compared to Rs300,000 presently for a gold medal at the Olympic Games.
Cabinet has further taken note that the new Scheme would also reward team sports and coaches, which is not the case under the present scheme.
7. In line with Government’s vision to target two million tourists by the year 2015 and to train the required manpower, Cabinet has reviewed the training programme and the training capacity of “Ecole Hotelière Sir Gaëtan Duval”.
The "Ecole” currently provides training in the hospitality and tourism industry and dispenses Diploma level courses in Hotel Management, Tourism Management and Hospitality Management as well as in Culinary Arts. The "Ecole" proposes to provide training in new fields, such as Cabin Crew, Event Management, Entertainment, Landscape Architecture, Information Technology for Tourism and Travel.
Taking into consideration the future labour requirement of the hospitality and tourism industry, the ‘Ecole’ proposes to implement various projects including an extension of the ‘Ecole’, participation of the private sector in its training programme and greater utilization of the e-learning.
8. Cabinet has taken note of the mechanism put in place by the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions for the payment of examination fees to eligible students who would sit for School Certificate and Higher School Certificate in 2007.
Government would meet the full cost of examination fees of students whose parents are beneficiaries of Social Aid and Unemployment Hardship Relief, beneficiaries of Basic Pensions who would have benefited from Social Aid in the absence of such basic pension and whose parents' aggregate income does not exceed Rs7,500.
Government would meet 50% of the cost of examination fees of students whose parents' aggregate income is between Rs7,500 and Rs10,000 and have more than one child taking part in the SC and/or HSC Examination 2007. The scheme also apply to first-time repeaters.
Cabinet has further taken note that many EPZ companies and parastatal organizations have come up with loan schemes to assist their employees in the payment of SC/HSC examination fees. On its part, Government has agreed to civil servants making use of their passage benefits to meet the payment of SC/HSC examination fees of their wards.
9. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Education & Human Resources would organize an International Workshop on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) from 19 to 25 April 2007 with a view to –
(a) discussing ways and means of achieving the Dakar Declaration on Education for All;
(b) responding to the recommendations formulated in Education for All Global Report of UNESCO – “Strong Foundations: ECCE”, published in October 2006; and
(c) providing an opportunity to position Mauritius as a Centre of Excellence in ECCE for the African Region.
Twenty-three countries, international organisations, international NGOs, as well as high officials and specialists from the Scandinavian countries would attend the workshop.
During the workshop, participants would be encouraged to develop, inter alia -
(a) policy dialogue and policy development in favour of the young child;
(b) integrated programming processes in favour of the young child;
(c) monitoring and evaluation tools, using key indicators and data banking; and
(d) information, communication and documentation strategies for resource mobilisation (human, material and financial).
10. Taking into consideration that the various shortcomings in the Medical Council Act affect medical professionals, patients as well as the quality of health services provided to the population, Cabinet has agreed to the Act being amended to address the shortcomings. The amendments relate to, inter alia, registration of general practitioners, recognition of Super Specialization training undergone and to a Specialist qualification and review of the membership of the Council.
11. Cabinet has taken note that Mauritius, together with South Africa and Algeria, has been selected to represent Africa on the Foundation Board of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for a period of three years.
WADA, an international independent organisation created in 1999, promotes, coordinates and monitors the fight against doping in sports in all its forms. Its key activities include scientific research, education, out-of-competition testing and development of anti-doping capacities.
Mauritius is an active member of the WADA and is involved in several of its activities and programs. An Anti-Doping Unit has been set up at the Ministry of Youth & Sports to implement the recommendations and guidelines issued by WADA and to carry out anti-doping controls during national and international competitions held locally as well as out-of-competition control on selected Mauritian athletes preparing for participation in sports events held locally or abroad.
12. Cabinet has taken note of the Report of the Lead Team Mission conducted by the Western Australian Land Information Authority in connection with the Land Administration Reform in Mauritius.
The main objectives of the Lead Team Mission were to reach a consensus understanding, based on potential solutions, of the reform of land management, develop a road map and establish the reform timeframes.
The mission had consultations with all stakeholders, and conducted various potential solution demonstrations, including Cadastral, Valuation and Access System.
13. Cabinet has taken note of the participation of the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions in the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission for Social Development convened, inter alia, to review the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing 2002.
The UN Working Sessions focussed on -
(i) “Discussions on the major Developments and Trends in Global Ageing”; and
(ii) an “Interactive Panel on the Implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action: Highlights of Progress”.
In the margin of the session of the UN Commission for Social Development, the Minister met, inter alia, the following personalities -
(i) Mr Sergei Zelenev, Chief, Social Integration Branch, Division for Social Policy and Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations;
(ii) Dr Tavengwa M. Nhongo, Regional Representative of Help Age International, (Africa);
(iii) Mr Xiao Lai Wei, Director General of the International Department of the Chinese National Committee on Ageing of the People’s Republic of China;
(iv) Dr Mary Ann Tsao, President of Tsao Foundation of Singapore; and
(v) Mr Jean Pierre Gonnot, Chief at the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
14. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of –
(a) the Board of the Training and Employment of Disabled Persons with Mrs Amreeta Nivault as Chairperson;
(b) the Board of Trustees of the Loïs Lagesse Trust Fund with Mr Retnon Pyneeandee as Chairperson; and
(c) the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Trust Fund Committee with Mr R.C. Gopee, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions, as Chairperson.