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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 25 May 2007

Cabinet Decisions taken on 25 May 2007

1. Cabinet has agreed to the recommendations of the National Pay Council for the payment of a salary compensation as follows -
Monthly Wage/Salary(Rs) Compensation
Less than 3,000 8.7%
3,001 - 6,500 Rs300
6,501 - 8,000 Rs350
above 8,000 Rs400
Government, however, strongly urges performing sectors, which have the ability, to pay a rate of compensation higher than what has been decided by the Council.

2. Cabinet has taken note that the Royal Courts of Justice had, on 23 May 2007, delivered a judgement rejecting the petition of the UK Government and upholding the earlier ruling of May 2006 of the High Court to the effect that Chagossians have the right to return to their homeland.

3. Cabinet has taken note that Government is currently promoting the Circular Migration Project that aims at identifying employment opportunities abroad, training Mauritians in skills required and facilitating their placement in jobs. It is expected that the Mauritians would, eventually, come back to set up businesses and subsequently contribute to economic development and employment creation. The International Organisation for Migration is assisting Mauritius in the identification of overseas employment possibilities and in the placement process.

Cabinet has also taken note that the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment would act as facilitator in the recruitment process of Mauritians for employment overseas in the context of the Circular Migration Project and that the special cell, set up to examine contracts of employment in respect of workers recruited for Gulf countries, would also examine contracts of employment for any other country.

4. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the setting up of a Land Administration, Valuation and Information Management System which would take on board pertinent aspects of valuation that would pave the way for a National Valuation Roll.

5. In line with Government's vision to develop Mauritius into a regional hub for jewellery production and a centre for diamond processing, Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Jewellery Bill which amends, consolidates and streamlines the law relating to jewellery to give a new impetus to the Jewellery Sector. The Bill, in particular, makes better provision for the regulation and control of manufacture, sale, importation and display of jewellery made of precious metals and of their alloys generally, instead of gold and its alloy as at present, and for the verification and grading of precious and semi-precious stones. The Bill also incorporates the requirements of the Convention on the Control and Marking of Precious Metals, commonly referred to as the Hallmarking Convention, by providing for the Assay mark and Common Control mark on articles of gold and platinum.

Cabinet has further taken note that the Jewellery Sector which comprises manufacture of jewellery of gold and silver, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, is ranked third after the textile and fish and fish preparation sectors, with an export of Rs2.6 billion in 2006.

6. Cabinet has taken note that the 8th World Hindi Conference would be held from 13 to 15 July 2007 in New York and the central theme would be ‘Hindi at the World Stage’.

The 8th World Hindi Conference, organized by the Government of India, in collaboration with the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan of New York, coincides with the 150th anniversary of its first freedom struggle, the 100th anniversary of “Satyagraha” launched by Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa and the 60th anniversary of its independence.
The Conference will, inter alia, deliberate on issues relating to growth and the presence of Hindi in the world, assess the current status of the teaching of Hindi as a foreign language in various countries, and suggest measures for its improvement and on how to increase the use thereof in the fields of economy, science and information and communications technology.

Cabinet has further taken note that the First Executive Board Meeting of the World Hindi Secretariat was held on 24 May 2007 and administrative arrangements are being made for the Secretariat to be fully operational.

7. Cabinet has taken note that, in the context of the Consolidated WTO Secretariat Technical Assistance and Training Plan 2007, a Regional Seminar on Trade and Development, would be held in Mauritius from 1 to 3 August 2007.
The Regional Seminar would cover issues relating to Trade and Development, Special and Differential Treatment, Work Programme on Small Economies, Implementation related-issues, Technical Assistance Programmes for developing countries and Aid for Trade and Small Economies. Participants from 25 African countries would attend the Seminar.

8. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the All Africa IVETA/IFTDO/ASTD Conference held in Mauritius from 13 to 16 May 2007. The International Vocational Educational & Training Association (IVETA) is an organisation which groups stakeholders involved in vocational education and training worldwide.

The main theme of the Conference was “Integration of Education and Training to achieve Occupational Competence for Sustainable Development of Africa” and discussions were centered on reforms in Training and Vocational Education, experience in curriculum development, real life experiences, link with industry, etc.

Cabinet has further taken note that on the same occasion, a Workshop on Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) was organized. The concept of the RPL is to translate prior learning and experience into a qualification, thereby allowing more people to acquire a duly recognised qualification. RPL is critical to the development of an open, accessible, inclusive, and integrated education and training system and is the foundation stone for lifelong learning policies which encourage individuals to participate in learning pathways including formal, non-formal and informal learning. RPL recognises learning regardless of how, when and where it was acquired, provided that the learning or competency results in a Unit Standard or Qualification.

9. Cabinet has taken note of the status of ISO Certification in Mauritius and of the new measures to promote a quality culture and enhance competitiveness of the Mauritian economy through ISO Certification. To date, 243 certificates have been issued under the National Quality System Certificate Scheme, mostly to private organisations.

With a view to promoting a quality culture in Mauritius, the Mauritius Standards Bureau proposes to –
(i) conduct awareness sessions on MS ISO 9001:2000;
(ii) operate a SMEs Quality Programme in collaboration with SEHDA for the benefit of some 300 participants;
(iii) implement a Special Quality Project in the Education Sector;
(iv) introduce the ISO 22000 Certification Scheme which incorporates the requirements of both the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point method and the ISO 9001:2000 standard for the food sector as from September 2007; and
(v) establish strategic alliances with other national standards bodies to offer its certification services to countries in the region.

10. Cabinet has taken note of activities organized to mark the World No Tobacco Day observed around the world each year on 31 May since 1988 to draw global attention to preventable deaths and diseases caused by tobacco with a view to reducing the 5-million yearly deaths from tobacco-related health problems. According to the World Health Organisation tobacco is the second cause of death in the world. The theme chosen for this year is "100% Smoke Free Environments" with a view to raising awareness about the negative effects of second-hand smoke on the health of people, particularly women and children, and people at their workplaces. The slogan for this year is: “Smoke-free inside: create and enjoy 100% smoke free environment”.

The programme of activities comprises, inter alia, -
(i) a one-day Validation Workshop on the draft National Action Plan on Tobacco Control prepared by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life;
(ii) the launching of a TV spot on smoking;
(iii) a prize giving for the poster competition organized for students;
(iv) a sketch on the theme of World No Tobacco Day; and
(v) Workshops at regional level on the ill-effects of smoking.

11. Cabinet has taken note of the promulgation of the Nursing Council (Registration of Nurses and Midwives) Regulations which provides for, inter alia, -

(a) the prescription of an Application Form for Registration of general nurses, mental health nurses, midwives, state enrolled nurses and assistant nurses;

(b) the prescription of a Certificate for Registration to be issued by the Council to every registered person; and

(c) the levying of fees for the –

(i) initial registration of the persons;
(ii) temporary registration of non-citizens;
(iii) issue of duplicate certificate of registration; and
(iv) annual fee to be paid by the registered members.

12. Cabinet has taken note of activities being organised by the Ministry of Environment & National Development Unit to mark the World Environment Day, celebrated on 5 June. This year, focus would be on Climate Change and the theme chosen by the United Nations Environment Programme is: “Melting Ice – A Hot Topic?”. The theme highlights the effects and consequences of climate change on polar ecosystems and communities, particularly low lying and Small Island Developing States. The programme of activities comprises, inter alia, -
(i) a youth rally in Flacq to sensitize students and citizens on the issue of climate change and its impacts;

(ii) a 5-day panel presentation and poster exhibition at the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre to stimulate awareness on climate change and the policies, strategies and measures undertaken by Government to face the challenge;

(iii) prize giving for the Trochetia Award and Environmental Reporting Award; and
(iv) a special ‘Dossier de l‘Environnement” on MBC TV.

13. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance & Economic Development to China from 16 to 20 May 2007, where he attended the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank, the 33rd Annual Meeting of the African Development Fund and led an investment promotion mission to Taiyuan and Shenzhen. He also attended a High Level Seminar on "Africa and Emerging Asia: Trade and Capital Flows."

During his visit the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance & Economic Development met –

(a) the President of the ADB, with whom he discussed the finalisation of a Country Strategy Paper; and

(b) the Governor of the Central Bank of China who expressed the wish for Chinese organisations to invest in Mauritius to partly finance the Tianli Project, as well as, open banking facilities and expand its network in the region.

14. Cabinet has taken note of the mission of the Minister of Environment & National Development Unit to New York where he participated in the High-Level Segment of the 15th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development held from 8 to 11 May 2007.

The 15th Session of the Commission was tasked to focus on policies and options to expedite the implementation of commitments in areas of -
(a) Energy and Sustainable Development;
(b) Industrial Development;
(c) Air pollution/atmosphere; and
(d) Climate change.

15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the official visit of the Minister of Health and Quality of Life to Rodrigues from 2 to 3 May 2007. During his visit, the Minister launched the School Health Programme for secondary schools, opened a workshop for the dissemination of Rodrigues NCDs and Nutrition Surveys 2004 and handed over to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital an equipment for carrying out the Elisa test to detect cases of HIV/AIDS.
The Minister also had meetings with the Chief Commissioner, the Commissioner of Health, the Island Chief Executive and the Departmental Head of the Commission of Health with whom he discussed issues pertaining to the health sector.

16. Cabinet has taken note of the mission of the Minister of Youth & Sports to Canada, where he, as one of the three representatives of Africa, participated in the Foundation Board Meeting of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) held on 13 May 2007. WADA is the international independent organization created in 1999 to promote, coordinate and monitor the fight against doping in sports in all its forms.

The Foundation Board Meeting –
(i) took note of the Report of Director General of WADA relating to the various activities organized by the Agency;
(ii) approved new performance indicators to be used to monitor the activities of the Agency in 2007;
(iii) reviewed the new Strategic Plan developed for the next five years.
(iv) reviewed the situation with regard to the legal matters concerning cases of disciplinary action taken against athletes involved with doping in several sports disciplines in various Member Countries; and
(v) took note of the various education and sensitization campaigns carried out in 2006.

17. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Seventh Ministerial Meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim – Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) which was held in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, from 7 to 8 March 2007. The Meeting considered, inter alia, -

(a) preferential Trade Agreement issues;

(b) the establishment of an early warning system in the Indian Ocean Rim; and

(c) the report of the IOR Academic Group, the IOR Business Forum and the Working Group on Trade and Investment.