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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 21 November 2008

Cabinet Decisions taken on 21 November 2008

CABINET DECISIONS – 21 November 2008
1. With a view to creating the most favourable environment for international arbitration to thrive in Mauritius and promoting Mauritius as a centre for International Commercial Conciliation and Arbitration, Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the International Arbitration Bill, which aims at -
(a) implementing in Mauritius law the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration adopted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law with such modifications and adaptations as appropriate; and
(b) creating a regime for international arbitration wholly separate and distinct from that which is applicable to domestic arbitration.
The successful development of an arbitral jurisdiction of reference would result in the development of a new service industry. Moreover, the project fits perfectly in the internationalization of the economy. The Bill purports to send the strongest possible message to the international business community that appropriate conditions for international arbitration exist in Mauritius and that Government is committed to its development.

2. Cabinet has taken note of developments regarding the joint submission to be made by Mauritius and Seychelles for an Extended Continental Shelf on part of the Mascarene Plateau to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. The area of the joint Mauritius/Seychelles Extended Continental Shelf on the Mascarene Plateau to be claimed from the Commission is approximately 387,000 km2 .

3. Cabinet has taken note of developments regarding the reported cases of leakages in the November 2008 HSC Physics and Chemistry Examination papers. Cabinet has further taken note that the Ministry of Education, Culture and Human Resources, through our missions, is obtaining a set of the question papers set in Pakistan, Malaysia and Australia, for comparison purposes. The Cambridge International Examination is, on its part, investigating into and contemplating a series of options to address the matter. A delegation led by Mrs A. Puntis, Chief Executive of the Cambridge International Examination, would be in Mauritius on Saturday 22 November 2008 for further investigation. A decision on the future course of action would be taken after the conclusion of the investigation of Cambridge.

4. Cabinet has agreed to the setting up of an Inter-Ministerial Committee chaired by the Prime Minister to spearhead the Mauritius National Identity Card Project. The new national ID card would contain, in visual and electronic format, all existing information on the current ID card, as well as new features to combat identity fraud. The visual data on the card would comply with the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, which is becoming an international norm for presentation of identity data on documents, such as ID cards and passports.
Cabinet has also taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Information and Communication Technology to Paris where he participated in the World Card Summit held from 4 to 6 November 2008. The Summit provided an opportunity to assess the various options and products available in the National Identity Card technological and manufacturing markets, and to interact and examine latest technologies solutions in the Smart Card Area.

5. Cabinet has taken note of the status of the longères at Baie du Tombeau and the core housing units at Camp Firinga, Pointe aux Sables and that the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport and Shipping, in collaboration with the Trust Fund for the Social Integration of the Vulnerable Groups, would look into the repairs and consolidation of the longères.

6. Cabinet has taken note of activities to be organised by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Human Resources to mark the Birth Centenary of Late Mr Sookdeo Bissoondoyal in December 2008, viz -
(a) an official wreath laying ceremony on 25 December 2008 in front of the statue of Mr Sookdeo Bissoondoyal at Place Bissoondoyal (near State Bank of Mauritius Ltd) Port Louis;
(b) launching of a commemorative cover by the Mauritius Post Ltd;
(c) an Exhibition on the “Life and Works of Mr Sookdeo Bissoondoyal” at the Mauritius Museums Council, Port Louis, from 17 to 26 December 2008;
(d) holding of a roundtable at the MBC on 17 December 2008;
(e) organization of a memorial lecture on the theme “The contribution of Mr Sookdeo Bissoondoyal in the emancipation of the population” at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute, Moka; and
(f) an essay-writing competition for secondary and tertiary students on the theme “Life and Works of Mr Sookdeo Bissoondoyal and his contribution in the emancipation of the population”.

7. In line with the National Policy Framework and with a view to positioning Mauritius as a key player and a Centre of Excellence of Knowledge, Cabinet has agreed to the Guidelines for the setting up of Overseas Post-Secondary Educational Institutions, with degree awarding powers as separate entities from the parent institutions. The proposed Guidelines provide, inter alia, that –
(a) strong academic linkages exist between the institution to be set up and the parent institution;
(b) in the event of the closure of the institution, students enrolled thereat be guaranteed a seat at the parent institution overseas, or any approved institution at the same scale of fees as the student would have paid locally;
(c) the students from the proposed local institution undertake part of their studies at the parent institution overseas during the programme;
(d) students completing undergraduate programmes in the proposed local institution be eligible to pursue postgraduate studies at the parent institution overseas; and
(e) the proposed local institution be staffed by academics and senior administrative staff of the same level as exists at the overseas parent institution overseas.

8. In line with Government’s policy for a sustainable environment and with a view to modernizing our systems, Cabinet has agreed to the public making use of SMS facilities for purchasing road side parking rights. The mobile payment system is easy to use, flexible, reliable and secure, and more convenient to users.

9. Cabinet has agreed to the ratification of the SADC Protocol on Finance and Investment which seeks to foster harmonization of the financial and investment policies of member states in order to make them consistent with the objectives of SADC. It also contributes to the establishment of a Regional Common Market where there would be free movement of capital, labour, goods and services. It will further help diversify and expand the productive sectors of the economy, enhance trade in the region to achieve sustainable economic development and growth and eradication of poverty.

10. Cabinet has agreed to the Ministry of Housing and Lands preparing Detailed Schemes at Palmar and St Antoine, which have high development potential. The Schemes would aim at integrating the existing coastal settlements within a properly planned area with Centre de Flacq and Goodlands, respectively, acting as the main settlement and service providers.
Cabinet has further taken note of developments in the implementation of various tourism-related projects.

11. Cabinet has taken note of the status regarding grants under the casting of roof slabs and for the purchase of building material schemes. For the period 1 July to 6 November 2008, 1645 applications have been received out of which 1482 have been approved. An amount of Rs 32,418,460 has already been disbursed and 514 applications would be paid shortly. The grant for the casting of roof slabs has been increased to Rs 60,000 with effect from 1 July 2008 whereas, the grant for the purchase of building material is currently Rs 55,000.

12. Cabinet has taken note that, as announced in the Budget Speech 2008-2009, the Social Aid Regulations and the Unemployment Hardship Relief Act (Amendment of Schedule) would be amended to cater for the increase in rates of Social Aid and Unemployment Hardship Relief as from 1 July 2008.

13. Cabinet has taken note of activities to be organised by the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions from 27 November to 10 December 2008 to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, viz., –
(a) opening of the Centre for Severely Disabled Elderly Persons at Pointe aux Sables;
(b) organization of a Job and Training Fair for Persons with Disabilities, with the collaboration of the Mauritius Employers’ Federation, SEHDA and the Training and Employment of Disabled Persons Board;
(c) organization of a Family Day by the National Council for the Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons at Belle Mare Plage;
(d) the Loïs Lagesse Trust Fund would inaugurate a Specialised Pre-Primary School in Beau Bassin for visually impaired children; and
(e) a cultural programme by the Training and Employment of Disabled Persons and National Council for the Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons at Caudan Waterfront.
The theme chosen this year is “Dignity and Justice for all of us” which is in line with the Ministry’s motto “Valuing Persons with Disabilities” which revolves around the principle “Nothing for Us Without Us”.

14. Cabinet has taken note of the status of the residential care institutions where children are placed following the issue of an Emergency Protection Order or an Interim Committal/Committal Order, as provided under the Child Protection Act. To date, about 151 children, victims of ill-treatment, abandoned or destitute, have been placed in residential care institutions. The Ministry of Women’s Rights, Child Development and Family Welfare has made arrangements for the provision of psychological support to and follow up on the children. Moreover, the institutions ensure that the children continue to attend their respective schools, where applicable.
Cabinet has further taken note that, in view of the increase in cost of living, the Capitation Grant paid to the residential care institutions has been increased to Rs 201.66.

15. Cabinet has taken note that the Association for the Development of Education in Africa Working Group on Distance Education and Open Learning, in collaboration with the University of Mauritius, would organise, from 3 to 4 December 2008, a Workshop on Capacity Building for Open and Distance Learning Practitioners. The Workshop would give an opportunity to the 30 local and international practitioners of Open and Distance Learning to -
(a) take stock of progress achieved by Member States and to share country experiences in Open and Distance Learning and related issues;
(b) discuss themes that emerge as major consideration for practitioners in making use of Open and Distance Learning as an effective and efficient mode of delivery to achieve Education objectives in Africa; and
(c) propose adaptable country frameworks to enhance the use of Open and Distance Learning.

16. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, in collaboration with the Blood Donors’ Association, would hold a Mega Blood Donation on 18 December 2008 on the Esplanade of Emmanuel Anquetil Building, Port Louis. The Mega Blood Donation event helps, through the collection of a large volume of blood, maintain an adequate stock of blood for the festive season and the cyclonic period.
Cabinet has further taken note that 1695 pints of blood were collected during the Mega Blood Donation in 2007.