CABINET DECISIONS – 11 APRIL 2008
1. In line with Government Programme 2005 – 2010, Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill and the Public Bodies Appeal Tribunal Bill to provide for the setting up of a Tribunal which shall have jurisdiction to hear appeals made by public officers against the decisions of a Commission set up under the Constazitution and by employees of such public bodies as may be prescribed.
The Tribunal would be chaired by a barrister of not less than 10 years standing and consist of two members who should be a law practitioner of at least five years standing and a former public officer not below the grade of Permanent Secretary. The Chairperson and members of the Tribunal would be appointed by the President upon the advice of the Prime Minister given after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition and on such terms and conditions as may be determined by the President.
In the performance of its functions, the Tribunal would endeavour to combine fairness to the parties with economy, informality and speed. In the hearing of an appeal, the Tribunal would not be bound by the procedures or legal forms of a court of law, and rules of evidence, but would –
(a) observe the principles of natural justice;
(b) keep a written record of its proceedings; and
(c) give reasons for its decision on the appeal.
2. Cabinet has reviewed arrangements made for the holding, in best possible conditions, of the SADC International Conference on Poverty and Development on 20 April 2008. The theme of the Conference is "Regional Economic Integration: A Strategy for Poverty Eradication towards Sustainable Development". Cabinet has taken note of the programme of the Conference which, inter alia, comprises four Panel Sessions, viz –
(a) The SADC Regional Economic Integration Agenda – Paving a Road to Economic Growth and Poverty Eradication;
(b) Tackling the Skills, Innovation and Technological Gaps required for Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction in the SADC Region;
(c) The Social and Environmental Dimensions of Poverty in the SADC Region; and
(d) SADC Region Resource Gaps for Attaining MDG Targets.
The Summit level would be preceded by a Ministerial Consultative Conference on 18 and 19 April 2008 with International Cooperating Partners. The Ministerial Conference would, inter alia, examine the SADC Regional Poverty Reduction Framework.
3. Cabinet has taken note of the report of the International Labour Organisation on the National Pay Council and that the report has been referred to the State Law Office for examination.
4. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Environment & National Development Unit would make regulations under the Environment Protection Act to ban the use of banners, buntings (oriflammes), flags, ribbons, which are made of plastic or similar materials, in view of the eyesores these represent when not removed and the impact on the environment and eco-tourism.
5. Cabinet has taken note of the impact of the trade liberalization policy, the rapidly increasing demand for food from emerging countries, the decrease in food production worldwide, and the increase in production of bio-fuels on net food importing countries like Mauritius. Our annual import bill for food commodities turns around Rs18 billion, i.e., 18% of the import bill. With a view to reducing dependence on food import, a series of programs have been initiated with a view to –
(i) reducing our dependency on import though the enhancement of self-sufficiency, with particular emphasis on potatoes, onions, tomatoes (for processing), maize, milk, meat and fish products;
(ii) seizing all opportunities on the regional front for food production and to develop Mauritius into an agro-business hub through Cross Border Initiatives;
(iii) developing a modern agricultural sector and a fisheries sector in line with the sophistication taking place in other sectors of the Mauritian economy;
(iv) sharpening our competitive edge on the export front with quality and diversified products taking into account trade liberalisation, globalisation process and cross border initiatives;
(v) empowering economically and technically, the agricultural community, especially the younger skilled generation, by giving them opportunities and appropriate training and support to enable them to emerge as agricultural entrepreneurs;
(vi) addressing the synergistic linkage between tourism and agriculture for promoting island foods and beverage supply chains, hospitality and agro-tourism; and
(vii) encouraging artisanal fishermen to fish off lagoon and entrepreneurs to invest in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.
In order to attain the above objectives, due consideration is being given to improvement areas, such as -
(a) focusing on domestic production with special attention on potatoes, onions, tomatoes (for processing), milk, meat and fish, as well as raw material for agro-processing;
(b) regrouping and clustering of producers;
(c) liberalisation of planting materials;
(d) strengthening facilities for agricultural and fish marketing; and
(e) using the region as a base under the Cross Border Initiative.
6. Cabinet has agreed to the Ministry of Agro Industry & Fisheries signing an agreement with the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) on marine resources management.
The Agreement makes provision for technical and other assistance to Mauritius by NORAD for the implementation of several projects with the immediate objectives of:
(a) establishing a National Plan of Action against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing;
(b) strengthening of competence in marine resources assessment and management; and
(c) strengthening of competence in quality control of fish and fish products.
Under the Agreement, a financial grant of about NOK 8,850,000, i.e., Rs 45.312 million, would be provided for use exclusively to finance the programme.
7. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the 7th Round of the Mauritius-Pakistan Joint Working Group on trade and economic cooperation held in Islamabad from 2 to 5 April 2008.
The Joint Working Group deliberated on the framework and modalities for bilateral cooperation in the fields of education, research, science and technology, fisheries and software development.
8. Cabinet has taken note that the special allowance of Rs5000 has been paid to 4576 households victims of flood representing a total of Rs 22,880,000.
9. Cabinet has taken note of the situation with regard to the registration of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Cards in accordance with the provisions of the Information and Communication Technologies Act 2001. As at end of March 2008, a total of 51000 unregistered SIM cards has been suspended.
10. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Youth & Sports to South Africa on 1 and 2 April 2008 where he attended the 40th Session of the Executive Committee of the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa.
The Session, inter alia, -
(i) took note of the recommendations of the African Union Technical Committee on the Restructuring of the Supreme Council;
(ii) took note, with satisfaction, of progress achieved by South Africa in the organisation of 2010 FIFA World Cup;
(iii) agreed to entrust to Zambia the organisation of the 10th All Africa Games to be held in 2011; and
(iv) has endorsed the candidature of Zambia to host the 41st Session of Council’s Executive Committee.
11. Cabinet has taken note of the setting up of an International Social Security Association (ISSA) Liaison Office in Cape Town covering countries in Southern Africa, namely, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The ISSA is the world’s leading international organisation which bring together national social security administration and agencies. ISSA assists member states and policy makers to face challenges and develop social security system. The ISSA was founded in 1927 and, today, it has nearly 370 member organisations in more than 150 countries, including Mauritius.