CABINET DECISIONS – 26 SEPTEMBER 2008
1. Cabinet examined the final draft of the Equal Opportunities Bill, the main objective of which is to ensure that every person has an equal opportunity to attain his objectives in various spheres of activities and that no person is placed, or finds himself, at a disadvantage, by reason of his race, colour, origin, caste, creed, sex, marital status, physical appearance or disability, in relation to other persons of the same status. The Bill, accordingly, prohibits any form of discrimination in a direct or indirect manner. It also sets up the Equal Opportunities Division and the Equal Opportunities Tribunal.
The Bill would be introduced into the National Assembly at its next session.
2. Following reports received to the effect to that certain food products imported from China contain prohibited additives, Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life has carried out tests on those items and initiated appropriate action for their removal from the local market.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Ministry for Consumer Protection and Citizens Charter is carrying out a sensitization campaign on the use of food colouring, particularly those used in candy floss, peanuts, etc. All traders using non-permissible food colouring would be prosecuted.
3. Cabinet has taken note that, despite global economic slowdown, tourist arrivals in the month of August 2008 were 71,605 as compared to 69,941 for the corresponding period of last year, representing an increase of 2.4%. Total tourist arrivals for the period January to August 2008 reached 608,532 as compared to 579,279 for the same period of last year, i.e., an increase of 5.0%. Our main markets have registered growth rates as follows –
United Kingdom (+8.5%), Spain (+31.6%), CIS (+26.7%),
Belgium (+17.6%), Italy (+9.2%), Germany (+7.9%),
India (+10.5%) and People’s Republic of China (+9.6%)
Cabinet has further taken note that, in order to cope with the new challenges and threats, a more aggressive and dynamic presence on emerging markets, which have excellent long term growth prospects, like Russia, Middle East, China and India, is envisaged.
4. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the implementation of the Smart Card Based Electronic Identification System, commonly referred to as National Identity Cards. The Card would be used for multiple applications, such as access to secured areas, payment of pensions and social security benefits, electronic purse, driving licence, health card and transport card.
5. Cabinet has taken note of the Investment Project Process Manual prepared in accordance with the Finance and Audit Act. The Manual, which is a set of guidelines for all investment projects including roads, IT, public utilities, public infrastructure, etc., aims at -
(a) organising investment project processes;
(b) developing a single window system for approval of projects;
(c) establishing best practices in budget expenditure in respect of investment projects based on Programme Based Budgeting principles;
(d) developing a well-defined long-term pipeline of projects; and
(e) ensuring active participation of the implementing Ministry or Department in the process leading to a timely completion of projects within the approved budget.
6. Cabinet has taken note of further developments in the implementation of the Gamma Waste to Energy Project.
7. Cabinet has taken note of the school calendar for primary and secondary schools for the academic year 2009, viz.,
||12 January to 3 April
||12 January to 3 April |
||20 April to 10 July
||20 April to 17 July|
||10 August to 6 November
||10 August to 23 October |
Admission to Standard I and Form I is scheduled for Friday 9 January 2009.
8. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Women's Rights, Child Development and Family Welfare has initiated a series of IT projects to enhance safety online of children, empower women through computer skills and facilitate registration of Day Care Centres, viz -
(a) the Gender Information System containing up-to-date gender-related information;
(b) Domestic Violence Information System to improve the management and tracking of cases of domestic violence throughout the island;
(c) Internet Access in outstations of the Ministry; and
(d) Child Safety Online Action Plan for Mauritius in line with the National Information and Communication Technology Strategic Plan 2007-2011.