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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 10 October 2008

Cabinet Decisions taken on 10 October 2008

1. Cabinet has taken note that Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam, GCSK, Prime Minister has decided to name the National Library after Mr Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, who has been awarded this year's Nobel Prize for Literature. Mr Le Clézio, who is an intimate friend of Mauritius, has dedicated the Award to Mauritius.

2. Cabinet has agreed to a High Powered Committee under the chairmanship of the Acting Prime Minister being set up to examine the Strategic Plan of Education Reform. The Committee would comprise –
(i) the Minister of Industry, Science and Research;
(ii) the Minister of Local Government, Rodrigues and Outer Islands;
(iii) the Minister of Education, Culture and Human Resources;
(iv) the Attorney General; and
(v) the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment.

3. Cabinet has agreed to the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology holding consultative meetings with stakeholders to consider amendments to the Data Protection Act with a view to providing adequate protection to personal data and enhancing the image of Mauritius as a safe destination for undertaking Business Process Outsourcing/IT Enabled Services activities. The Data Protection Act, enacted in 2004, provides for the protection of privacy of rights of individuals in view of the techniques used to capture, transmit, manipulate, record or store data relating to individuals. This Act has, however, not been proclaimed. In view of the fact that Europe is one of the focus markets to transform ICT into an economic pillar, and that discrepancies with the EU directives have been noted, the legislation would be reviewed to render it compliant with the EU directives on data protection.

4. Cabinet has agreed to projects relating to socio-economic development and education being financed by the Universal Service Fund, set up under the Information and Communication Technologies Act.

5. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements made by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, in collaboration with the Islamic Cultural Centre, for the provision of medical facilities to Hadj pilgrims proceeding to Saudi Arabia this year, viz.,-
(i) vaccination against meningitis ACYW 135, as requested by the Saudi Authorities, in all the five regional hospitals on 18 October 2008;
(ii) medical examination in all the Area Health Centres and Community Health Centres nearest to their place of residence during working hours; and
(iii) the provision of medicines, together with a copy of the prescription of drugs, on request, prior to their departure.
Cabinet has also agreed to pilgrims, proceeding to a country where the vaccination of meningitis is obligatory, being vaccinated free of charge.

6. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the Foster Care Programme run by the Ministry of Women’s Rights, Child Development and Family Welfare. The Programme, which is an alternative system of care to children at risk in their family environment or victims of abuse and/or neglect, aims at providing an opportunity to the children to live in a substitute family on a temporary basis pending their reintegration in their respective biological families. Since the implementation of the Programme, a total of 56 children have been placed in foster families. To date, 15 children have been adopted by their foster parents, 31 children are living in 27 foster families, and 4 foster parents are fostering a second child.
Cabinet has further taken note that the allowance paid to foster parents has been increased from Rs1300 to Rs1500 monthly.

7. Cabinet has taken note of amendments to the AGOA legislation adopted on 3 October 2008 by the US Congress in the Bill HR 7222, which makes Mauritius eligible for the third country fabric provision till 2012, when the derogation lapses for the other beneficiaries. The benefits, that are expected to accrue to Mauritius from the adoption of the third country fabric provision, are,
inter alia; -
(i) textile and apparel exports to the US market would no longer be liable to customs duties irrespective of the source of the raw materials;
(ii) enhanced market access opportunities, enabled by the third country fabric provision, should gradually help recover the decline in exports to the US markets, particularly textile and apparel which constitute around 70% of our exports to the US market; and
(iii) increased industrial activities in the textile and apparel sector will redirect investment to Mauritius and generate employment.

8. Cabinet has agreed to the candidature of Mr Coomaravel Pyaneandee, Barrister, being recommended for the Special Rapporteur on Disability at the United Nations for a period of three years as from January 2009. Mr Pyaneandee has been a disability activist for the past two decades and has, in numerous positions, helped improve the living conditions of persons with disabilities. He is presently Adviser on Disability Issues at the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions.

9. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the setting up of the Competition Commission under the Competition Act. Cabinet has further taken note that Parts I and II of the Act, dealing with the "Establishment, Functions and Powers of the Commission" would be proclaimed on 24 October 2008 to enable the appointment of Commissioners, the Executive Director and other staff.

10. Cabinet has taken note that the City & Financial Conferences, a leading UK research-based conference organizer, would organize a Public Private Partnership (PPP) Africa Summit in Mauritius in April 2009. Since 2000, the organisation has been hosting PPP Summits in Europe, America, Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. In view of the fact that Government plans to utilize PPP to develop the country’s infrastructure, City & Financial Conferences has identified Mauritius to organize the Summit which will provide the following benefits to participants:-
(a) latest opportunities and developments regionally as well as globally;
(b) cutting-edge thinking on how the more difficult issues associated with structuring PPPs can be resolved;
(c) practical examples of best practices to adapt and to learn from; and
(d) network with peers in the public and private sectors.

11. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Health and Quality of Life would promulgate regulations under the Medical Council Act to provide for the inclusion of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (India) and the Dow University of Health Sciences (Pakistan) on the list of recognised medical institutions.

12. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Education, Culture and Human Resources, in his capacity as Chairperson of the High Powered Committee on Cardiovascular Diseases and Diabetes and Chairperson of the Organising Committee on the Commemoration of the Bicentenary of the Naval Battle of Grand Port, from 25 to 28 September 2008 to Switzerland and France.

In Switzerland, the Minister of Education, Culture and Human Resources attended the “Forum to Adopt and Implement a Workplace Strategy on Diabetes and Wellness” hosted by the Geneva Social Observatory. In the margins of the Forum, he had bilateral meetings with Dr Tabatabay, Assistant Professor and Mr Alan Fong, Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs, “Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève”.

In France, the Minister of Education, Culture and Human Resources had, working sessions/meetings, inter alia, with -
(i) Mr René Couanau, Maire de Saint-Malo et Député d’IIle-et-Vilaine in connection with the proposed programmes for the commemoration of the Bicentenary of the Battle of Vieux Grand Port; and
(ii) Mr Olivier Las Vergnas, founder of the “Cité des Métiers” concept.

13. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment from 22 to 24 September 2008, to Madagascar where, on the invitation of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Madagascar, he was one of the guest speakers, at a one-day workshop on “Les Strategies de Restructuration du Travail et de l’Emploi à Maurice avec les Nouveaux Défis de la Globalisation”. During the Workshop, the Minister made a presentation on the current labour laws reform process and on the provisions of the new labour legislation, viz. the Employment Relations Act and the Employment Rights Act.
In the margins of the Workshop, the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment met His Excellency Abdou Salame, Ministre de la Fonction Publique, du Travail et des Lois Sociales of Madagascar and Mr Gabriel Djankou, Deputy Representative of ILO sub-regional office with whom he discussed bilateral agreements in the world of work.