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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 25 April 2008

Cabinet Decisions taken on 25 April 2008

1. In line with the commitment taken by Government to establish truth regarding slavery and indentured labour, Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Truth and Justice Commission Bill which provides for the establishment of a Truth and Justice Commission. The functions of the Commission will be to –

(a) conduct inquiries into slavery and indentured labour in Mauritius during the colonial period and, may, for that purpose, gather information and receive evidence from any person;

(b) determine appropriate measures to be extended to descendants of slaves and indentured labourers;

(c) enquire into a complaint, other than a frivolous and vexatious complaint, made by any person aggrieved by a dispossession or prescription of any land in which he claims he had an interest; and

(d) prepare a comprehensive report of its activities and findings, based on factual and objective information and evidence received by it and submit the report to the President.

Prof. Robert Shell, Chairperson of the Truth and Justice Commission, has already started preliminary works.

2. Cabinet has taken note that the final version of the Management Plan for Le Morne Cultural Landscape, which has been finalized in consultation with stakeholders, would be submitted to the World Heritage Centre, UNESCO by early next week. The Nomination Dossier, together with the draft of the Management Plan for the nomination of Le Morne as a World Heritage Site, was submitted to the World Heritage Centre in January 2007. The Final Management Plan would be updated every three years through a continuous consultative process so as to allow Le Morne Heritage Trust Fund to achieve its objective in maintaining a sound and sustainable development of Le Morne Cultural Landscape.

3. In line with Government objective to make Mauritius a language hub, Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Marathi-Speaking Union Bill, the Tamil-Speaking Union Bill and the Telugu-Speaking Union Bill to provide for the setting up of the respective Unions, which would:

(i) promote the Marathi, Tamil and Telugu languages and education in their spoken and written forms, promote friendship and understanding, cultural and artistic works and provide facilities for the exchange of views affecting the interests, well-being, development, relationships and common problems of the speakers of these languages;
(ii) promote and encourage the publication, exhibition, distribution and sale of books, magazines, newspapers and literary works in these languages; and
(iii) promote intercultural and interlinguistic understanding and harmony through exchange and participation in joint projects.

4. In line with Government's objective to reduce telecommunication charges for the benefit of consumers, Cabinet has taken note that, in accordance with the provisions of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Act, the Information and Technologies Authority will prescribe a new determination of Interconnection Usage Charges and adopt a "No Access Deficit Compensation" costing regime in the Telecommunications Sector. It is expected that the new charges prescribed would bolster competition in the Sector with substantial reduction in tariffs for various types of calls, which would be passed on to consumers. Cabinet has also agreed to the Universal Service Fund, as prescribed in the ICT Act, being set up in three months' time.

5. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment would promulgate Remuneration Order Regulations embodying the recommendations of the National Remuneration Board (NRB) for the workers of the Public Transport (Buses) Industry. The recommendations of the NRB would take effect as from 5 May 2008.

6. Cabinet has taken note of a proposal for the twinning of the Pamplemousses/Rivière du Rempart District Council and Patna, capital of Bihar, India.

This project would further strengthen the privileged relations existing between Mauritius and India and consolidate the socio-cultural and historical links with Bihar.

7. Cabinet has taken note of problems encountered by the Princes Tuna (Mauritius) Ltd for the export of canned tuna to the European Union and of arrangements made by the Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries with the competent authorities of the European Union to find a favourable solution.

Cabinet has also taken note that the services of a Consultant are being sought to assist in the upgrading of capacity of exporters to meet EU requirements for the export of fish and fish products.

8. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of -

(i) the Finance and Audit (Amendment) Bill which amends the Finance and Audit Act to provide, inter alia, for -

(a) the introduction of Programme-Based Budgeting to achieve improvements in fiscal sustainability, allocative efficiency and improve operational efficiency in Government administration;

(b) the preparation of estimates of expenditure based on programmes and sub-programmes on a 3-fiscal year rolling basis, specifying the resources to be allocated and the outcomes to be achieved and outputs to be delivered with a view to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of expenditures;

(c) the preparation of estimates of revenue on a 3-fiscal year rolling basis;

(d) the abolition of Capital Fund and the replacement of the Contingencies Fund by a new provision for contingencies;

(e) the introduction of fiscal rule to improve fiscal discipline;

(f) the financial year to be a calendar year with effect from 2010; and

(g) the Director of Audit to carry out performance audit.

(ii) The Public Debt Management Bill which amends, consolidates and modernises laws relating to public loans, Treasury Bills, bonds and similar instruments and Government guarantees for a better management of public sector debt.

9. Cabinet has taken note of the report of the Technical Committee, set up by the Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries in the context of the Agreement reached between the Government and the Mauritius Sugar Producers Association on the Sugar Reform in December 2007, to review positively the rental formula for metayers cultivating sugar cane in marginal land and in difficult areas to enable them to remain competitive in the wake of the 36% decrease in the price of sugar on the world market.

Cabinet has further taken note that the Minister of Agro Industry & Fisheries is pursuing consultations with all stakeholders with a view to arriving to concrete solutions to the problems of metayers.

10. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions, has, so far, disbursed about Rs60m for the payment of examination fees in respect of 7268 needy students who would sit for the School Certificate and Higher School Certificate Examinations in 2008.

11. Cabinet has taken note that following the mission of the Minister of Information Technology & Telecommunications to India in 2007, a team of Experts from the Computer Emergency Response Team of India would visit Mauritius from 27 April to 22 May 2008 to assist the Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunications to set up the National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-MU) with a view to improving computer security readiness in Mauritius.

CERT-MU, a priority project earmarked under the National ICT Strategic Programme, will aim at –

(a) protecting our internet infrastructure by coordinating defence against and response to cyber-attacks;

(b) analysing and reducing cyber-threats and vulnerabilities;

(c) disseminating cyber-threats warning information; and

(d) coordinating incident response activities.

CERT-MU will also interact with Ministries and Departments, the private sector, the research community and other stakeholders to disseminate reasoned and actionable cyber-security information to the public. In the immediate term, the project is expected to create direct permanent employment for Computer/Information system graduates while, in the long term, more jobs would be created (directly and indirectly) to sustain operational resilience and help organisations improve their operational resilience management capabilities.

12. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Local Government would promulgate the Beach Authority (Traders’ Licence) (Amendment) Regulations 2008 which would amend the principal regulations to empower the Beach Authority in the proper conduct of its licensing and enforcement activities, to offer a wider range of leisure and new activities, namely renting of mattresses and umbrellas on public beaches against payment of a prescribed fee.

13. Cabinet has taken note that a Ministerial Committee, comprising the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment, the Attorney General, Minister of Justice & Human Rights and the Minister of Housing & Lands, has been set up to look into the case of the occupiers of State land at Kenya, Camp Carol.

14. Cabinet has taken note of latest developments with regard to water resources situation in the country. The average water level in our reservoirs, as at 22 April 2008, was as follows:-
Reservoir Actual Storage (%)
on 22 April 2008
Mare aux Vacoas
La Nicolière
Piton du Milieu
La Ferme 97.7
Mare Longue

Taking into consideration the present water resources situation and based on the forecast of the Meteorological Services, the Water Resources Monitoring Committee of the Ministry of Public Utilities has agreed to water being released, as required, to meet the needs of the different sectors of the economy, in particular, households. The Water Resources Monitoring Committee would meet in one month’s time to take stock of the situation and to review, if required, water releases. The Committee has also agreed to the CWA proceeding with the project for the transfer of water from Mare Longue reservoir to Mare aux Vacoas reservoir in order to avoid any water shortage problems in the Mare aux Vacoas system as from the next dry season.

15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Local Government to New Delhi, India, from 15 to 17 April 2008, where he attended the Second Meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) in his capacity as Vice-Chairperson of the Forum and a member of that Committee.

The Meeting, inter alia, took note of the outcome of the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), and approved the CLGF Business Plan 2007-2010 and the Budget for the years 2007-2010.

The Minister of Local Government also participated in a one-day Conference organized jointly by the Commonwealth Local Government Forum and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation of India on the theme ‘The inclusive City’.

In the margins of the Conference, the Minister of Local Government met the Chief Minister of Delhi with whom he discussed membership of that state-city to the Commonwealth Local Government Forum.

 16. Cabinet has taken note that the 7th Annual “Colloque VIH Océan Indien” would be held in Mauritius from 10 to 12 November 2008. The main objectives of the “Colloque” are to share information and experiences amongst the countries of the IOC on issues relating to HIV and AIDS, as well as to reinforce partnership amongst the relevant stakeholders, i.e., Government, Non-Government Organisations, private sector and those living with HIV and AIDS. It is proposed to invite Professor Willy Rozenbaum, co-discoverer of the HIV virus and President of the National AIDS Council, as well as Professor Stanis Pol, Head of the Hepatology Department in Paris and Specialist of co-infections of HIV and Hepatitis C viruses, to attend the ‘Colloque’. It is expected that about 300 participants from Reunion Island, Madagascar, Comoros, Seychelles and Mauritius would attend the ‘Colloque’.

17. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the SADC Extra-Ordinary Summit held in Lusaka, Zambia, on 12 April 2008 to discuss developments in the political situation in Zimbabwe following the Presidential, Senatorial, National Assembly and Local Authorities elections held in March 2008. The Summit, after taking note of reports from various organisations urged the electoral authorities in Zimbabwe to promulgate the election results and to ensure strict compliance with the rule of law and principles and guidelines of SADC governing democratic elections.

18. Cabinet has taken note that Mr Gerard Telot has been appointed Chairperson of the Board of the Mauritius Society of Authors.