CABINET DECISIONS - 24 AUGUST 2007
1. Cabinet has taken note of the mission of Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister, to Lusaka, Zambia where he participated in the 27th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on 16 and 17 August 2007. He was accompanied, inter alia, by the Hon M.M. Dulloo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation.
Cabinet has further taken note that all the 14 Heads of State and Government of SADC Member States were present.
The Summit discussed, inter alia, the following:
(a) the consolidation of regional economic integration in the SADC region as set out in the SADC 15-year Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), i.e., Free Trade Area (2008), Customs Union (2010), Common Market (2015) and Monetary Union (2016). In the light of developments, it was proposed to launch the SADC Free Trade Area at its next session in South Africa in August 2008.
(b) SADC International Conference on Poverty and Development. The Prime Minister briefed the Summit on progress made in the preparations of the SADC International Conference on Poverty and Development scheduled for April 2008 in Mauritius. The International Conference at Summit level would be held on 20 April 2008. It will be preceded by a Ministerial Consultative Conference with International Cooperating Partners on 18 and 19 April 2008 having as theme “SADC FTA: A Regional Strategy for Poverty Eradication and Development”.
The Prime Minister also highlighted other points on the expected outcome of the Conference, namely:
(i) the definition of concrete and measurable activities in specific areas to ensure effective progress;
(ii) the need for a mechanism for the monitoring and evaluation of poverty; and
(iii) the drawing up of an action and result-oriented implementation plan, outlining a series of activities in the short, medium and long term with clear-cut targets.
(c) Infrastructure Development for Regional Economic Integration which is central to promoting intra-regional trade, strengthening manufacturing capacity and economic integration.
One of the points of particular interest to Mauritius which had been agreed is an Infrastructure Needs Assessment Study for both Madagascar and Mauritius, taking cognizance of their specificities and comparative advantages in areas, such as maritime transport, air transport, tourism, ICT and others.
(d) Economic and Social Situation in SADC Countries. The Summit noted that the average growth rate in the SADC region during 2006 was 5.7% as compared to 5.4% in 2005. It is expected to reach 7% in 2007.
The Prime Minister who was mandated from the last SADC Summit to have consultations with the President of the Republic of Seychelles so as to enable its eventual readmission to the Community, had again been requested to convince the Seychelles to accept the revised membership contribution fee.
In Lusaka, the Prime Minister had informal discussions with Heads of State and Government of Madagascar and Zambia on issues of bilateral interest. Discussions covered trade in fisheries and livestock products, as well as collaboration in the sugar sector, tourism, port development and customs cooperation. He also met with the Mauritian Community living in Lusaka.
2. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements being made for admission in Form I in 2008 and that the number of colleges admitting students on a National basis would be increased from 9 to 12 in the light of projected demands for seats in such colleges. The 12 National Colleges are –
(i) Royal College Port Louis
(ii) Droopnath Ramphul State College
(iii) John Kennedy College
(iv) Queen Elizabeth College
(v) Mahatma Gandhi Form VI College
(vi) Royal College Curepipe
(vii) Sookdeo Bissoondoyal State College
(viii) Dr Maurice Curé State College
(ix) Gaëtan Raynal State College
(x) Port Louis State College
(xi) Forest Side SSS
(xii) Sir Abdool Raman Osman SSS
3. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Women’s Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare & Consumer Protection would, on 27 August 2007, launch a Community Child Protection Programme (CCPP) with a view to enlisting the services and support of all stakeholders dealing with children in reinforcing child protection and development programmes.
The main objectives of the CCPP are to -
(a) arouse a national awareness on the problem of child abuse, neglect and violence against children;
(b) ensure quick and effective response to cases of child abuse;
(c) encourage the reporting of suspected cases of child abuse;
(d) promote community involvement in the prevention of child abuse; and
(e) enlist the commitment of all stakeholders for the safety and prevention of abuse of children.
4. Cabinet has agreed to the release of the Consultative Paper on the proposed insolvency legislation which sets out a new order of ranking of creditor claims. The underlying principle has been to develop a fair and coherent framework and to invigorate revenue collection by Government agencies.
The objects of the proposed insolvency legislation are to –
(i) undertake a global reform of insolvency procedures to provide a modern and efficient legislation that would be consistent with international best practices;
(ii) strike the right balance in protecting the rights of debtors, creditors and employees;
(iii) promote honest trading by encouraging a sound credit culture; and
(iv) set up an effective recovery system to enable stakeholders to take corrective action to mitigate the impact of financial distress.
5. Cabinet has taken note that, on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has selected the National Ozone Unit of Mauritius for the “Montreal Protocol Implementers Award” in recognition of its contribution to works carried out to protect ozone layer in Mauritius.
Cabinet has further taken note that Mr Sateaved Seebaluck, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment & National Development Unit, has been selected to receive the UNEP “Technology and Economic Assessment Panel Champion Award” in recognition of his contribution to the ozone process and for his work to protect the ozone layer.
In November 1992, Mauritius acceded to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Since then, several projects, aiming at phasing out ozone depleting substances, have been implemented with the result that Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) have been successfully phased out in 2005, i.e, five years ahead of the schedule of the Protocol. The phasing out of CFCs in the private sector, namely in the aerosols and refrigeration sectors, has been a very good example of public-private sector collaboration. Mauritius has recently been congratulated by the Implementation Committee of the Protocol for the phasing out of Carbon Tetrachloride which is also a potent ozone depleting substance.
6 . Cabinet has taken note that regulations would be made under the Tourism Authority Act to limit the speed of pleasure crafts to 5 knots in demarcated zones in the regions of Flic-en-Flac, Wolmar and Le Morne and to allow the operation of jet skis outside the lagoon in the regions of Trou aux Biches and Flic-en-Flac.
7 . Cabinet has taken note of the performance of Mauritian athletes in the Seventh Indian Ocean Islands Games held in Madagascar from 9 to 19 August 2007, and wherein Mauritius obtained a total of 177 medals (36 gold, 54 silver and 87 bronze) and was ranked in the third position after Madagascar and Reunion Island.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Ministry of Youth & Sports and the Mauritius National Olympic Committee, in collaboration with all Sports Federations, would carry out a post-Games evaluation exercise. Sports Federations would be requested to review their strategy with regard to overall preparations of athletes for future international sporting events. Appropriate action would also be taken with regard to the persisting conflicts at the level of the Managing Committee of Sports Federations which have proved detrimental to sports generally. Necessary amendments would also be brought to the Sports Act to provide for, inter alia, a more flexible arbitration mechanism to deal expeditiously with such conflicts.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Ministry of Youth & Sports would readjust its sports policy to place greater emphasis on the detection of new talents in colleges, to review the training of young athletes by Sports Federations and closer monitoring of high level athletes. A Committee under the Chairmanship of the Minister of Youth & Sports would oversee the re-engineering of sports in Mauritius.
8 . Cabinet has taken note that the Occupational Safety and Health Act would be proclaimed on 1 September 2007. The aims of the Act are, inter alia, to -
(i) reinforce, consolidate and update the legislation on safety and health at work in order to adapt it to the changes in the working conditions of employees brought about by the introduction of new technologies and new equipment;
(ii) make provision for the protection of employees against new hazards at workplace arising out of an increase in work-related diseases and occupational diseases caused by the use of chemicals and hazardous substances; and
(iii) widen the scope of the existing law to extend it to the public service as well as parastatal organizations.
9 . Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Twelfth Regional Negotiating Forum (RNF) meeting held in Mauritius from 01 to 03 August, 2007 in the context of the EPA Negotiations. The RNF deliberated on the list of sensitive products to be excluded from the trade arrangement with the EU under the EPA, the time frame within which the ESA would be required to eliminate tariffs on final goods, trade in services and trade facilitation, and trade defence.
1 0. Cabinet has taken note that subsequent to the signing of a Preferential Trade Agreement during the recent visit of the Minister of Commerce of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, bilateral consultations between Mauritius and Pakistan would be held on 10 and 11 September 2007 in Mauritius and would cover issues of interest relating to regional and international cooperation, as well as exchange of information and experience in the field of education, research and training of the diplomatic personnel.
1 1. Cabinet has taken note of the list of names of cyclones for the cyclone season 2007-2008 adopted by the Regional Association I of the World Meteorological Organisation which comprises countries of the South-West Indian Ocean -