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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 04 April 2008

Cabinet Decisions taken on 04 April 2008


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1. Cabinet has taken note of the emergency response put in place following the recent heavy rainfall, viz., -

(i) the Ministry of Environment & National Development Unit, in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government, the Local Authorities, and the Road Development Authority, is implementing an Emergency Rehabilitation Programme, i.e., construction of retaining walls and drains, dredging of canals and rivers, as well as resurfacing of damaged roads.

(ii) With a view to diminishing the risk of resurgence of vector borne diseases, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life has already started larviciding and fogging activities, particularly in areas affected by the flood. Sensitization campaigns have been mounted to advise the public of the usual precautionary measures to be taken after the heavy rainfall. Surveillance at the level of hospitals has also been increased.

Larviciding and disinfection activities have been carried out immediately after the flood in all pre-primary, primary and secondary educational institutions, as well as on the premises of the inhabitants, where flooding was reported. Moreover, screening of the inhabitants of the affected localities has already started. Anti-mosquito creams and anti-mosquito oils have also been distributed.

2. Cabinet has taken note that, an allowance of Rs 5000 has been, exceptionally, granted to families who have sustained loss of basic necessities such as mattresses, clothing, utensils, foodstuffs and school materials. As at 3 April, 3054 households have benefitted from the allowance, representing a total amount of Rs 15,270,000. Police enquiry in pending cases would be completed by Friday 4 April and payments effected to deserving cases by Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 April 2008.

3. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements in place for the SADC International Conference on Poverty and Development to be held on 20 April 2008 at the Swami Vivekananda Convention Centre.

The Theme of the Conference is ‘Regional Economic Integration: A Strategy for Poverty Eradication towards Sustainable Development’. The Conference would: -

(a) propose and adopt a Regional Poverty Reduction Framework with specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound targets and a clear monitoring and evaluation plan;
(b) establish a SADC Poverty Observatory;
(c) receive concrete pledges of technical and financial support from the international community and development partners; and
(d) adopt a Declaration.

The International Conference would be preceded by a two-day SADC Biennial Consultative Ministerial Conference with International Cooperating Partners on 18 and 19 April 2008. A meeting of NGOs on Poverty Alleviation in Africa would also be organised in the margins of the Conference.

4. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Law Practitioners (Amendment) Bill which provides for –

(a) the setting up of law firms;
(b) the status of legal consultant;
(c) the registration of law firms, foreign law firms, joint law ventures and foreign lawyers; and
(d) the framework for the regulation of the practice of foreign law and international law in Mauritius.

5. Cabinet has agreed to the Sankara Nethralaya, Medical Research Foundation in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, setting up a new eye hospital on the premises of New Souillac Hospital. The Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, currently sends patients, suffering from complex ophthalmological problems and who cannot be treated locally, to that hospital for treatment. In view of the increasing number of patients suffering from ophthalmological problems who are being referred to the Sankara Nethralaya and the high cost involved, the proposal of the Director of Sankara Nethralaya for the setting up of a specialized ophthalmological institution of excellence in Mauritius has been retained. This would result in savings on airfares, welfare of patients and their accompanying relatives, availability of post operative treatment, improvement of the knowledge-base of local medical and paramedical counterparts through continuous medical education and facilities associated with telemedicine. Furthermore, tourism being an important economic activity for Mauritius, the project can contribute to the development of Mauritius as a regional hub for medical tourism.

6. Cabinet has taken note that, despite various incentives provided by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life to non-governmental organisations to boost up the Needle Exchange Programme to reach 2000 drug addicts by August 2008, only a low proportion of addicts is being covered. In order to outreach a larger number of drug addicts, the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, by virtue of powers vested in him under the HIV and AIDS Act, proposes to prescribe the five Regional Hospitals as institutions authorized to supply syringes and needles to persons dependent on dangerous drugs.

Distribution exercise would, however, not be carried out on premises of the hospitals but, officers of the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, duly trained, would move to different regions in mobile caravans to supply the syringes and needles as an outreach activity, with the support of community leaders and social workers.

7. With a view to maintaining the attractiveness of Mauritius and providing a unique resort experience to visitors, Cabinet has agreed to the implementation of appropriate measures in order to ensure that, in the design of new hotel projects, –

(i) the architectural drawings reflect the distinctive and appealing local cachet of Mauritius as a tropical island destination; and
(ii) due consideration is given to eco-friendly and energy saving practices, wherever practicable and feasible, since these practices are given great weight by holiday makers.

8. In the context of the implementation of the Aquaculture Master Plan and with a view to promoting Aquaculture development, Cabinet has taken note of developments in the finalisation of the legal framework, in consultation with fishermen, pleasure craft organisations and other stakeholders, for regulating commercial fish farming activities and achieving our set socio-economic goals.

9. Cabinet has taken note that, in the context of the World Food Day 2008, the Ministry of Agro Industry & Fisheries, in collaboration with Publi Promo Ltd. and Exhibition Management Services Pty (EMS) Ltd., would hold an International Agro Industry Business Forum at the Swami Vivekananda International Convention Centre from 2 to 5 October 2008. The theme chosen for the Forum is ‘Agri Business On The Move’. The event would give an opportunity to stakeholders in the agricultural sector to take stock of the latest technological developments and new business prospects and to learn from the experience of other countries through workshops and conferences. The objectives of the Forum are to -

(i) widen the economic space by providing access to knowledge, resources, technology and business contacts with potential joint venture partners from regional countries;
(ii) provide, in one location, all the business contacts, inputs and market prospects needed to start an agri-business;
(iii) showcase local and regional success stories in agri-business to demonstrate the feasibility of business models proposed; and
(iv) disseminate information about the market opportunities both for the local and international markets in the agri-business to potential entrepreneurs and the public in general.

10. Cabinet has taken note that the "Association des Parents de Deficients Auditifs" would construct a modern special school for the deaf on a plot of State land at La Vigie.

11. Cabinet has taken note that the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, in collaboration with the University of Mauritius, would hold the 20th International Conference on Chemical Education in Mauritius from 3 to 8 August 2008. The theme for the Conference is “Chemistry in the ICT Age”, which is in line with the worldwide trend in science and technology development.

The aims and objectives of the Conference are to –

(a) group participants in the field of Chemistry Education on a single platform;
(b) focus on the use of ICT in Chemistry Education;
(c) identify the problems and challenges facing Chemistry Education;
(d) train African participants in the use of ICT in teaching Chemistry; and
(e) improve public image of Chemistry through public lectures.

The Conference will also be a unique opportunity for teachers of Chemistry from the Secondary Sector, as well as University Lecturers in that field, to improve their knowledge and teaching skills.

12. Cabinet has taken note that, in line with the framework of the National Development Strategy which is in force since 2003, the Town & Country Planning Board, in collaboration with the Ministry of Housing & Lands and the Municipal Council of Quatre Bornes, proposes to prepare a new Outline Scheme for the Municipal Council Area of Quatre Bornes, in view of the fact that the provisions and policies in the current Outline Scheme, which dates as far back as 1984, are now outdated. The new Outline Scheme would contain relevant proposals and policies aiming at, inter alia,:

(a) relieving the development pressures for new development projects in Quatre Bornes;
(b) providing proper planning and infrastructural framework for development in greenfield areas identified as growth zones within the township;
(c) improving the transport system and accessibility so as to increase development densities; and
(d) replacing the prescriptive rigid approach to planning by a more dynamic, flexible and responsive development management system which would facilitate rather than restrict development.

13. Cabinet has taken note that the Commonwealth Secretariat, in collaboration with the Ministry of Civil Service & Administrative Reforms, would organise a Regional Workshop on Performance Planning and Measurement in the African Public Service from 5 and 9 May, 2008.
The main objectives of the workshop are to enable Commonwealth Countries in Africa to share experiences in implementing the Performance Management System, to learn from the experiences and to identify challenges and find solutions to such challenges. The theme of the workshop is ‘Performance Planning and Measurement’.

14. Cabinet has taken note that regulations would be made under the Medical Council (Amendment) Act to prescribe membership and fellowship of the Royal Colleges of the UK and Ireland as qualifying for registration as Specialists.

15. Cabinet has agreed to Mauritius adhering to the North Indian Ocean Hydrographic Commission. Mauritius is already a member of the South African Islands Hydrographic Commission, a Regional Hydrographic Commission, since August 1986 and became a member of the International Hydrographic Office as from August 2005.

Adhesion to the North Indian Ocean Hydrographic Commission would benefit Mauritius in terms of -
(i) mutual exchange of hydrographic products and services for marine safety;
(ii) exchange of technical, personnel and training to develop regional expertise; and
(iii) promotion of Electronic Navigational Services.

16. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications from 15 to 19 March 2008, to the United Kingdom which has traditionally been our second tourist generating market. In the U.K., the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications met stakeholders of the tourist industry, namely tour operators and hoteliers, with a view to redynamising that market and restoring the travel trade business to Mauritius to the targeted level of 12% growth. Tourist arrivals from U.K. have increased by 102,333 in 2007 representing a growth of 4.9% as compared to 2006.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications also met Mr Mohamed Al-Fayed who proposes to visit Mauritius in April or May 2008 to explore investment opportunities.

17. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Local Government to Seychelles where he attended the 24th Session of the Council of Ministers of the Indian Ocean Commission. The main issues examined at the Meeting were, inter alia, -

(i) Coopération Politique, Diplomatique et de Securité;
(ii) Développement Economique et Problématique Insulaire;
(iii) Développement Humain;
(iv) Administration et Finances;
(v) Appointment of the New Secretary General of the IOC; and
(vi) International Conference on Poverty and Development.

18. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment to Geneva where he participated in the workshop organised by the Geneva Social Observatory on the “Development of a Workplace Strategy on the Prevention of Diabetes”, held on 18 and 19 March 2008. The purpose of the workshop was to develop a comprehensive model of a workplace wellness strategy on the prevention of Diabetes by laying emphasis on elements that were best suited for developing countries.

In the margins of the Workshop, the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment met Professor Sir George Alberti, Senior Research Fellow at the Imperial College, London and Professor Stephanie Amiel who pioneered the Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating Programme which resulted in improving diabetic control and quality of life in more than 50 diabetic centres in the UK. Professor Stephanie Amiel proposes to visit Mauritius in August 2008 to share her experience and expertise with the relevant cadre involved in the treatment and prevention of diabetes.

Cabinet has further taken note that the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment availed of his stop-over in Paris to chair a meeting on the forthcoming commemoration of the Bicentenary of the Battle of Vieux Grand Port to be held in 2010.

19. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Housing & Lands to South Africa on 27 March 2008 where he attended the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Meeting of Ministers responsible for Land and Land Reform.

The objective of the meeting was to discuss land issues affecting Member States and review progress made in establishing the Land Reform Support Facility, which would, inter alia:

(a) assist Member States in the formulation and implementation of pro-poor land policies and programmes; and

(b) facilitate capacity building for the improvement in the delivery of Land and Agrarian reforms.

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