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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 26 October 2007

Cabinet Decisions taken on 26 October 2007

1. In line with Government Programme 2005/2010 and the recommendations contained in the Mackay Report, Cabinet has taken note that the Attorney General’s Office would convene a Brainstorming Session with relevant stakeholders, including members of the legal profession in general, the Bar Council, the Law Society and the “Chambre des Notaires” in particular, the Judiciary, the National Human Rights Commission, the University of Mauritius, the Law Reform Commission and Non-Governmental Organisations, including consumer organizations, to review the Legal Aid Act with a view to ensuring that legal aid is, as far as possible, available in serious criminal cases and civil cases to those who are unable to afford legal representation on their own. Discussions would be led by Prof. V.P. Torul, Chairman of the Industrial Relations Commission.

2. Cabinet has reviewed the situation regarding the outbreak of African Swine Fever and agreed, inter alia, to -
(a) a grant of a monthly income support, over a period of time, to affected pig breeders as follows:

(i) Small Breeder (1-20 heads) : Rs 4,000
(ii) Medium Breeder (21-50 heads) : Rs 5,500
(iii) Large Breeder (51 heads or more) : Rs 6,500

(b) the setting up of a special loan scheme at the DBM with a maximum ceiling of Rs 200,000 per breeder at a concessionary interest rate of 5% per annum repayable over a period of 7 years, including a one-year moratorium; and

(c) a sum of Rs1 million being put at the disposal of pig cooperative societies affected by the calamity to assist breeders to re-start their activities or to move to any other activity on a cooperative basis.

3. Cabinet has taken note of the good performance of the EPZ Sector for the period January to August 2007 as compared to the corresponding period in 2006, viz.-

(i) total exports of the EPZ Sector increased from Rs 21.23 bn to Rs 25.1 bn, i.e., by 18.2%;

(ii) export of Pullovers and Cardigans, T-Shirts, Shirts and Trousers amounted to 88.2 million pieces. In value terms, these products registered an increase of Rs 2.23 bn;

(iii) the volume of exports in Textile Yarns and Fabrics increased from 5,550 tons to 6,183 tons, representing a positive growth rate of 11%, coupled with an increase of 26 % in terms of value;

(iv) in the non-textile sector, the exports of fish and fish preparation increased from Rs 3,119 million to Rs 3,677 million, i.e., by 18%; and
(v) the value of exports of ‘Watches and Clocks’, ‘Precious & Semi Precious Stones’ and ‘Jewellery’ sub-sectors registered an increase of 32%, 6% and 17% respectively.

The United Kingdom, France, USA and Germany still remain the main export markets registering increases of 24%, 5%, 4% and 82% respectively. On this trend, the projected output of the EPZ Sector is expected to be around Rs 43 billion in the year 2007, as compared to the projected target of Rs 40 billion.

4. Cabinet has taken note of the draft Law Practitioners (Amendment) Bill which provides for -

(i) the setting up and functioning of law firms;
(ii) the status of a legal consultant;
(iii) the registration of law firms, foreign law firms, joint law ventures and foreign lawyers; and
(iv) the framework for the regulation of the practice of foreign law and international law in Mauritius.

The Bill would be discussed with relevant stakeholders before introduction into the National Assembly.

5. Cabinet has taken note that a symposium on cardiovascular diseases would be held on 29 October 2007 at Maritim Hotel, Balaclava, with the participation of a team of eminent Professors in Cardiology from the University College London, Hospital and Medical School, U.K.

The aim of the symposium is to discuss the importance of the treatment and pathophysiology of diabetes and cardiovascular disease as one of the major complications of diabetes is cardiovascular disease. The deliberations would help devise appropriate strategies to enhance the services in the field of cardiology in line with the National Service Framework for Diabetes.

In Mauritius, about 19.3% of the population aged 30 years and above, are diabetic, about 50% of deaths are due to cardiovascular-related diseases and 21% are directly related to diabetes. Moreover, some 550 cardiac surgeries are performed and about 2000 angiographies/angioplasties undertaken annually.

6. In line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and in conformity with Government Programme 2005 – 2010 to promote the concept of an inclusive society and valuing people with disabilities, Cabinet has agreed to the adoption of the National Policy Paper and Action Plan on Disability which recommends, inter alia, -

(a) a review of existing legislations regarding accessibility, education, training, rehabilitation and employment of persons with disabilities;

(b) e-accessibility being an integral part of the day-to-day life of persons with disabilities; and

(c) upgrading of health infrastructure to provide easier accessibility to the disabled.

7. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission undertaken by
Ms Mrinalini Burn, International Consultant on Gender, under the UNDP funded project “Capacity Building for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women” which aims at creating an environment conducive to the integration of the gender agenda at policy formulation level in the country. In her report, Ms Burn highlights strategies to be adopted to strengthen the national gender machinery and to effectively carry out gender mainstreaming of policies, programmes and activities.

8. Cabinet has taken note of the status of the negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU at the level of each of the ACP regions and of developments in the setting up of the CMMS configuration. Cabinet has also taken note that a series of meetings would be held in Mauritius to conclude the negotiations, viz. -

(a) legal and technical official meetings at IOC level to finalise the texts on trade in goods, development and fisheries and the market access offer;

(b) IOC Extraordinary Council Meeting to take stock of progress and adopt the texts to be used as the basis for negotiations and the CMMS market access offer; and

(c) CMMS meeting in the margins of the ESA/EC Technical and Ministerial Meetings to be held in Brussels.

9. Cabinet has taken note of developments regarding the “Marine and Agricultural Resources Support (MARS) Programme” proposed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to assist Mauritians and Rodriguans rural households dependent on marine resources, sugarcane and textile industries and of the outcome of the IFAD Appraisal Mission which visited Mauritius in August 2007, to -

(a) adopt the MARS formulation proposals taking into account the reviewed recommendations and suggestions and other changes; and

(b) agree and describe the implementation methodology.

10. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation to El Salvador where he participated in the Second International Conference on Development Cooperation with Middle Income Countries on 3 and 4 October 2007. The Conference provided a platform to give substance to operational guidelines and modalities on the aspects of international cooperation for Middle Income Countries (MIC). The objectives of the Conference were, inter alia, to -

(i) identify the development needs of MICs;

(ii) build advocacy for a greater voice and representation of MICs in multilateral organizations; and

(iii) explore the operational aspects and instruments of development cooperation with MICs, and their implications for the international aid system.

In the margins of the Conference, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Cooperation had bilateral meetings with, inter alia, -

(i) Honourable Francisco Lainez, Minister of Foreign Affairs; and

(ii) Mr Carlos Pastrana Palomo, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs.

11. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Education & Human Resources to Paris where he attended the UNESCO General Conference and participated in meetings of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA).

The UNESCO General Conference adopted the new Medium-term Strategy (2008-2013) which sets out the strategic vision and programmatic framework for UNESCO’s action in all its domains of competence at the global, regional and country levels and firmly sets UNESCO’s action on new foundations, and readjusts its priorities according to the imperatives and challenges of the coming years.

The Minister of Education & Human Resource also attended a Round Table of Ministers of Education on the theme of "Education and Economic Development."

The main issues discussed at the ADEA Bureau of Ministers related, inter alia, to -

(a) the fusion of the Bureaus of ADEA and COMEDAF;

(b) the ADEA Strategic Plan 2006-2013; and

(c) the Peer Review Exercise for Gabon.

12. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the Road Development Authority Board with Prof. Abed Peerally as Chairperson.