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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 18 January 2008

Cabinet Decisions taken on 18 January 2008

1. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister, to New Delhi, India, from 7 to 10 January 2008. The Prime Minister was invited by the Government of India to be the Chief Guest of the 6th Edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

On the occasion, the Prime Minister was presented with the “Pravasi Bharatiya Samman” Award, the most distinguished award given to overseas Indians, by Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil, President of the Republic of India, in recognition of his outstanding career in public life as well as for his endeavour to nurture and further strengthen the bond between India and Mauritius in all dimensions.

During his visit, the Prime Minister had a bilateral meeting with Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India. He called on Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil, President of the Republic of India and HE Mr M. Hamid Ansari, Vice-President, with whom he discussed issues of mutual interest. The Prime Minister also met, inter alia, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, Minister of External Affairs and Mr Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar.

The Prime Minister also attended and addressed the GOPIO International Business Forum.

2. Cabinet has taken note of the recommendations of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on Policy for the Poultry Industry which was set up to work out a waste management programme for the Poultry Sector. The main recommendations include-

(i) composting of farm solid wastes at a regional or central composting plant;

(ii) collection of the blood component in slaughter houses separately from the normal waste stream and disposal thereof at a landfill or rendering it as pet food; and

(iii) devising a phasing out plan and a relocation strategy for all farms operating within settlement boundaries to safeguard the health of the residents.

Cabinet has further taken note that a Steering Committee under the Chairmanship of the Ministry of Agro Industry & Fisheries has been set up to monitor the implementation of the recommendations.

3. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life would provide clinical training facilities to students following BSc Courses in Nursing run by City Clinic Ltd, in collaboration with the SANA Educational Charitable Trust of India. The main objective of the project of City Clinic Ltd is to provide high level training in the field of nursing which would enable a steady supply of qualified nurses to public and private health institutions with a view to offering an improved level of care and service to the community.

4. Cabinet has taken note that, in line with the spirit of Mackay Project and the provision of the Courts Act as amended in July 2007, the Family Division and the Criminal Division of the Supreme Court, which are in operation since 7 and 14 January 2008 respectively, are sitting regularly and continuously for the despatch of business. With the operation of the Criminal Division and Family Division, there would be more expeditious hearings of divorce and related cases as well as of criminal cases.

5. Cabinet has taken note that an intensive campaign is being launched for the extermination of rats which pose health and safety hazards. Moreover, it is proposed to –

(i) mount island-wide clean-up campaigns to reduce breeding grounds for rats;

(ii) sensitize the public on solid waste disposal; and

(iii) set up a rodent control unit within each local authority and a National Rodent Control Unit under the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life.

6. In line with Government’s declared policy to promote and enhance the penetration of renewable energy technologies to diversify our energy mix, Cabinet has taken note that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the “Agence Française de Développement” (AFD) would provide technical assistance for promoting renewable energy technology in Mauritius, viz -
(i) the installation of a wind turbine, as a pilot project at Bigara, a site with a good wind regime;

(ii) working arrangements with Reunion Island on assistance to carry out energy audits and capacity building; and

(iii) fund support for a pilot project for the use of solar thermal energy in large institutions, such as hospitals.

7. Cabinet has taken note that, under the Poverty Alleviation Programme, a new Regional Women Development Centre had been inaugurated at Richelieu on the 27 December 2007, with a view to empowering women in the region. Currently, workshops in serigraphy, catering services, patchwork and kitchen gardening are being held there.

Cabinet has further taken note that another such centre would be opened at Plaine Verte shortly.

8. In order to increase interaction between local and foreign football players so as to boost up and improve the performance level of our local teams, Cabinet has agreed to a proposal of the Mauritius Football Association to increase the maximum number of foreign players a local football club is authorised to recruit from two to five. This measure would enhance the competitiveness of Mauritian teams playing matches at regional and international levels.

9. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the implementation of Waste to Energy project by Gamma Energy Ltd. The project comprises a modern waste to energy plant using municipal solid waste entailing an investment of about Rs 4.2 billion. A technical appraisal of the project has been carried out with a view to reviewing the environmental implications of setting up the plant and the consultant has, inter alia, highlighted that the socio-economic benefits of Waste to Energy compared to landfilling in Mauritius are numerous and include, -

• Savings on import of oil or coal

• CO2 emission reduction of about 150,000 tonnes per year

• Saving 2-3 hectares per year for landfill construction

• Avoiding nuisances related to landfill

• “Green” image from environmental-friendly waste disposal

10. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements being made for the participation of Mauritius in World Expo 2010 to be held in Shanghai, China, which would be a unique opportunity for Mauritius to showcase its products.

11. Cabinet has taken note of latest developments in regard to the 3rd country fabric derogation and State of Play in AGOA, the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) and the Bilateral Investment Treaty with the US.
Cabinet has further taken note that a Customs Mutual Administrative Assistance Agreement has been signed providing for the exchange of information between Mauritius and US Customs authorities with a view to enforcing customs laws, particularly in relation to commercial fraud, narcotics trafficking and combating terrorism.

12. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications to London to review the UK tourist market in the face of increasing competition from other destinations, and to further promote Mauritius as a tourist haven.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications also visited Malta where the Mauritian delegation had an opportunity to keep abreast of the success of the privatization process of the Port of Marsaxlokk, operated by a private shipping line. The Freeport of Malta is the leading transshipment port in the Mediterranean basin, handling a traffic volume of nearly two million TEU’s.

13. Cabinet has taken note that as a result of the reform programme initiated with the 2006/07 budget, Mauritius has been improving its position in international indexes relating to investment and e ase-of-doing business. The World Bank has ranked Mauritius as the best place to do business in Africa and 27th in the world in its latest Ease-of-Doing Business Index. Now it is the turn of the Heritage Foundation to recognize our achievements. In its recent assessment, Mauritius is ranked first in Africa and eighteenth in the World, a jump of 16 places and the second best improvement worldwide. The top three countries are Hong Kong, Singapore and Ireland whilst Mauritius is now performing better than countries such as Cyprus, France, Germany, Malta, Spain and Sweden.

A good showing in these indexes assists the Board of Investment in marketing Mauritius as a preferred investment destination in the Indian Ocean Rim and Africa.

14. In line with Government’s cost-cutting strategy, Cabinet has agreed to the withdrawal of Mauritius from the ‘Centre Africain de Formation et de Recherche Administratives pour le Développement ‘ (CAFRAD), a Pan-African Intergovermental organisation, in view of the fact that Mauritius is making an onerous contribution to but not benefitting from the limited number of activities organised by the Institution.