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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 19 September 2008

Cabinet Decisions taken on 19 September 2008

1. Cabinet has taken note of the emergency response put in place during the recent torrential rain. Cabinet has also taken note that a Torrential Rain Rehabilitation Loan Scheme has been set up providing for loan facilities up to a maximum of Rs50,000, at concessional interest rate of 3% per annum, for the rehabilitation of sugar cane, vegetables, fruits and flower cultivations, tea gardens, hydroponic units, livestock farms and other business activities affected by flood.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport and Shipping and the Ministry of Environment and National Development Unit, in collaboration with the local authorities and the Road Development Authority, are speeding up the implementation of the Emergency Rehabilitation Programme, comprising resurfacing of damaged roads and drain schemes in different parts of the island, particularly regions affected by flood.

2. Cabinet has taken note of activities organised in the context of “Clean Up the World Weekend" to be held from 19 to 21 September 2008, viz., -
(i) a clean up campaign and distribution of bins to households at Bois Chéri village;
(ii) a general cleaning of Mon Choisy, Sable Noir, Belle Mare and Blue Bay public beaches; and
(iii) tree planting around the island.
The theme of Clean up the World 2008, chosen by UNEP, is “Start today ... Save tomorrow and clean up our climate”. The objective of the event is to highlight important environmental issues and to inform, inspire and enable people to improve and sustain the quality of life through the protection of the environment.

3. Cabinet has taken note of the promulgation of the Information and Communication Technologies (Universal Service Fund) Regulations 2008 which provide for, inter alia, the payment by a public operator of an annual contribution to the Fund and the dates on which such contributions should be paid.

4. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the setting up of the Land Administration, Valuation and Information Management System Project which aims at optimizing land resources, managing and maintaining the Cadastral System and promoting, developing or contributing to the development of an integrated spatial reference database on land tenure, land transactions and land ownerships.

5. Cabinet has taken note that, with a view to boosting cultural exchange between Mauritius and the Seychelles, the Cultural Exchange Programme with the Republic of Seychelles would be extended for the period 2008-2011. In that connection, a Memorandum of Understanding would be signed during the visit of Mr Vincent Mériton, Minister of Community Development, Youth, Sports and Culture of the Seychelles.

6. Cabinet has taken note of the various support services offered to women entrepreneurs by the Ministry of Women’s Rights, Child Development and Family Welfare, through the National Women Entrepreneur Council, to boost the development of women entrepreneurship, viz., -
(i) 11 Women Entrepreneurship Development Programmes have been organized in various areas, such as Phoenix, Triolet, Bel Air, Terre Rouge, Sebastopol, Le Morne, Port Louis, Quatre Bornes and Plaine Magnien, to provide necessary skills to women entrepreneurs for business start-ups, business growth and employment. About 800 unemployed women have benefited from the Programme.
(ii) The provision of technical support to implement agricultural projects, such as vegetable, herbs, flower, and strawberry cultivation.
(iii) The setting up of Business Incubators at the National Women Development Centre, Phoenix and the Triolet Women Empowerment Centre to provide training, mentoring and consultancy facilities to women entrepreneurs.

7. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the setting up of the Competition Commission. Cabinet has further taken note of the recommendations made by the visiting Consultant, Mr George Lipimile, Senior Adviser, Competition and Consumer Policies Branch, UNCTAD, whose services were retained to prepare the institutional framework for the establishment of the Commission.

8. Cabinet has taken note that, consequent to the visit of the Prime Minister to the People’s Republic of China in July 2007, HE Mr Lu Zushan, Governor of the Province of Zhejiang, would visit Mauritius in October 2008 to explore possible areas of cooperation between Mauritius and the Province of Zhejiang in the fields of textile, maritime transport, aquaculture and tourism. As a coastal province, Zhejiang is a centre of aquaculture in China and has important commercial ports. Its manufacturing sector is based on electro-mechanical and chemical industries, textiles and construction materials. Following its own development model, Zhejiang has become one of the richest provinces of China.

9. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the implementation of a comprehensive capacity building programme for the public service as announced in the Budget Speech 2008. The programme aims at building capacity across the public sector, particularly the Ministries involved in the implementation of Programme Based Budgeting and the reform programme, with a view to reinforcing Government’s efforts at the early delivery of results and implementation of projects.

10. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the implementation of the Highlands Project, which comprises the setting up of knowledge services-based industries, a state-of-the-art office complex, the development of world class residential and social amenities, space for leisure activities and nature tourism, hotels and resorts, as well as offices for Ministries and Government departments. The Feasibility Study has been completed and Roads Shows are being organised in various countries to obtain feedback from the market on several key issues, namely the degree of participation of Government in the partnership with the private developer, and the risk sharing approach, as well as environmental factors to be considered during the implementation of the project.

11. Cabinet has taken note of the activities organized by the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions to mark the UN International Day of the Elderly on 1 October 2008, viz., -
(i) competition of the Most Outstanding Elderly Persons;
(ii) “Couple Idéale”;
(iii) inter-generational “Jeux d’Antan” competition;
(iv) craft sales exhibition at Quatre Bornes Town Hall;
(v) handicraft skill development programme; and
(vi) a sensitization Campaign from 1 to 7 October on the theme “Une personne âgée a besoin de votre affection, laissez-lui la place du coeur”.
On the occasion, a National Policy on Ageing would be launched. The National Policy, which has been elaborated on the principles of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing 2000 (MIPAA), reflects the political commitment of Government towards the creation of a “Society for all Ages” and gives expression to the development perspective to ageing as recommended by MIPAA.
A delegation from the Mahila Unnati Kendra led by Mrs Deeptie Chaudhary, former Mayor of Pune, India, would visit Mauritius from 21 September to 5 October 2008. The delegation would participate in the Craft Sales Exhibition. On the occasion, a Memorandum of Understanding would be signed between the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions and the Organisation providing for cooperation in the fields of self-help community- based programmes, and economic and social empowerment of housewives, disabled and the elderly.

12. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Supplementary Appropriation (2007-2008) (No 2) Bill which aims at providing for the appropriation of further sums paid and applied for the service of the Government for the financial year 2007-2008 in excess of the amounts provided for in the Appropriation (2007-2008) Act 2007.

13. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Finance and Economic Empowerment from 26 August to 2 September 2008 to Australia.
The objectives of the mission were to hold discussions in connection with the signature of a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and a Tax Information Exchange Agreement with Australia and to promote Mauritius as a modern, friendly and reliable investment destination. Investment promotion missions were held in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth targeting key players of the Australian business community with a view to -
(a) creating awareness of Mauritius as an investment destination and an international financial services centre;
(b) positioning Mauritius as a Gateway to Africa and India; and
(c) promoting opportunities to do business in Mauritius in the sectors of hospitality (tourism), property development, health tourism, infrastructure and outsourcing (IT, HR, legal, accounting).
The Minister of Finance and Economic Empowerment also met representatives of a number of leading organisations which are interested to invest in Mauritius. As a result of these meetings, the Macquarie Group, which was in Mauritius last week, showed interest, inter alia, in the wind farm project at Bigara, the Ring Road Project, the Dream Bridge Project and the use of Mauritius as a platform to service different Funds. The Carnegie Corporation has expressed interest to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with relevant institutions to develop a wave energy facility.

14. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Local Government, Rodrigues and Outer Islands from 1 to 3 September 2008 to Canada where he attended the 2008 Annual Board Meeting and the Third Meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, in his capacity as Vice-Chairperson of the Forum and Member of that Committee.
The Board Meetings took, inter alia, the following decisions -

(i) the Commonwealth Local Government Forum and its member countries to ensure strict adherence to and implementation of the Commonwealth principles on Good Practice for Local Democracy and Good Governance in the Aberdeen Agenda endorsed by all Commonwealth Heads of Government;
(ii) the importance of regular, timely and orderly conduct of Local Government elections in a fair and free manner by all member countries; and
(iii) the need for adequate resources to be allocated to local governments for provision of basic services and amenities to its citizens.
In the margins of the meeting, the Minister of Local Government, Rodrigues and Outer Islands met the Minister of Local Government of the Province of Alberta and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and attended a meeting with the Chief Executive of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of Dr the Hon R. Jeetah, in his capacity as Minister of Industry, Small & Medium Enterprises, Commerce & Cooperatives to Singapore and China from 2 to 10 September 2008 in the context of the 12th China International Fair for Investment and Trade. The Fair which was organised around the theme “Introducing FDI and going Global”, focussed on investment negotiation and investment promotion, coordinated development of national and regional economy and on economic and trade exchanges.
In the margins of his mission, Dr the Hon R. Jeetah had bilateral meetings with, inter alia, -

(i) HE Wang Chao, Assistant Minister of Commerce of China;
(ii) Hon Felix C. Mutati, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry of Zambia;
(iii) Ms Anna Chan Hock Cheng, Assistant Managing Director and Ms Khor Mimi, Assistant Head Communication of Singapore Economic Development Board;
(iv) Mr Teo Fing Cheong, Chief Executive, Competition Commission of Singapore; and
(v) Professor Stephen Rawlinson and his staff in the context of the establishment of linkages between Raffles University and the Fashion and Design Institute of Mauritius.