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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 28 November 2008

Cabinet Decisions taken on 28 November 2008

1. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements made by the Central Electricity Board to enhance electricity generation capacity in the coming years and of developments in the implementation of the Gamma Waste to Energy Project. Cabinet has further taken note that the Ministry of Renewable Energy and Public Utilities, the Ministry of Local Government, Rodrigues and Outer Islands and Gamma Energy Ltd. have, respectively, signed the Indicative Terms Sheets of the Project Implementation Agreement and the Waste Supply Agreement.

2. Cabinet has taken note that an Academic Committee of Experts, comprising Cambridge International Examination, Ministry of Education, Culture and Human Resources and Mauritius Examinations Syndicate, was set up to carry out an indepth investigation in order to reach a professional decision about whether integrity and security of examinations have been compromised.
Cabinet has further taken note of the conclusions of the Committee, possible courses of action proposed and its recommendation.
Taking into consideration the interests of candidates at large, Cabinet has agreed to adopt the recommendation of the Committee, which does not require a resit but makes equity and fairness through appropriate adjustments in the marking and grading systems by Cambridge without adversely affecting the standards of the examinations.

3. Cabinet has taken note of activities which would be organised by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Human Resources, in collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Centre for African Culture, to celebrate Christmas at national level on 20 December 2008 at the Nelson Mandela Stadium, Residence Vallijee, Cassis, Port Louis, viz., –
(a) activities for children;
(b) a défilé in the vicinity of Residence Vallijee with the participation of NGOs and Youth Clubs of the region;
(c) a production based on Nativity to be illustrated by ‘Tableaux Vivants’ conceived and mounted by youths of the Anglican Church;
(d) a performance by the winner of the Christmas Song Competition organised by the Nelson Mandela Centre for African Culture;
(e) cultural show – popular songs and dances by local and foreign artists; and
(f) fireworks display.

4. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Health and Quality of Life would promulgate the Public Health (Restrictions on Tobacco Products) Regulations with effect from 1 March 2009. The Regulations cover the following areas of tobacco control in accordance with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control -
(a) types of tobacco products allowed/not allowed for sale in Mauritius;
(b) tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship;
(c) protection from exposure to tobacco smoke;
(d) sale to and by minors;
(e) packaging and labelling of tobacco products; and
(f) illicit trade.
The Regulation also provides that no person shall smoke a tobacco product –
(a) in a public place;
(b) while preparing, serving or selling food on any premises where the public has access; or
(c) while driving or traveling in a private vehicle carrying passengers.

5. Cabinet has taken note that, with a view to strengthening the capability of the Trust Fund for Specialised Medical Care (Cardiac Centre) to operate as a tertiary referral centre of excellence in the region, the Minister of Health and Quality of Life proposes to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Association Coeur France Maurice with a view to further reinforcing cooperation in the field of cardiology, particularly prevention, diagnosis, therapeutic management and research in cardiology.
A Scientific Committee comprising eminent practitioners in the field of cardiology, diabetes and related fields from the Association Coeur France Maurice has been set up to monitor the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding.
The incidence of cardiovascular diseases is high among the population: about 19.3% of the population aged 30 years and above are diabetics; about 50% of deaths which occur are due to cardiovascular-related diseases and 21% are directly related to diabetes. Moreover, some 550 cardiac surgeries are performed and about 2000 angiographies/angioplasties are undertaken yearly.

6. Cabinet has agreed to the annual family income ceiling for entitlement to a Carer's Allowance in respect of children with muscular dystrophy being increased from Rs 150,000 to Rs 250,000. Muscular dystrophy is a serious genetic disorder which leads to progressive degeneration of muscles causing immobility and ending in premature death.

7. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the training and employment of persons with disabilities. The major thrust of the Policy Paper and Plan of Action on Disability, launched by the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions, is to promote the integration of persons with disabilities in mainstream society through training and employment. A first batch of 25 persons with disabilities followed a tailor-made training programme in IT and Office Skills organised by the Mauritius Employers’ Federation.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions, in collaboration with the Mauritius Employers’ Federation and the Training and Employment of Disabled Persons Board, is organizing a Job and Training Fair for persons with disabilities with a view to bringing together persons with disabilities and service providers to disseminate information on training and employment opportunities and thereby promoting integration of the disabled in the socio-economic mainstream.

8. Cabinet has taken note that, according to the last statistical bulletin, 83,524 tourists visited Mauritius in the month of October 2008, as compared to 81,244 for the corresponding period of last year, i.e., an increase of 2.8%.
Inspite of the unfavourable economic conditions resulting from the global financial crisis, positive growth has been recorded in the following markets –
• France (+8.3%)
•India (+21.1%)
• Reunion Island (+2.1%)
• Republic of South Africa (+6.4%)
Total tourist arrivals for the period January to October 2008 reached 757,688, as compared to 726,065 for the same period of last year, i.e., an increase of 4.4%.
Cabinet has also taken note that the statistics prepared by the Ministry of Tourism, Leisure and External Communications account for tourist arrivals and not for tourist nights or hotel occupancy.

9. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Child Protection (Amendment) Bill which amends the Child Protection Act to provide for the Child Mentoring Scheme with a view to keeping children with behavioural problems within their family set-up instead of confining them to institutions and ensuring that these children are appropriately screened and matched with trained adult mentors for a one to one relationship of emotional reconstruction. Moreover, there will be continual personal rapport between the mentor and the child to uphold the latter’s need for a caring and supportive adult in the most decisive period of his/her life.

10. Cabinet has taken note that the Development Partners, viz., the European Commission, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Agence Française de Développement and the United Nations Development Programme, fielded a joint appraisal mission from 11 to 25 November 2008 to:
(a) review the implementation of Government’s reform programme;
(b) assess the achievement of Development Policy Loan 3 prior actions; and
(c) start discussions on possible indicative triggers to be used for the DPL4 General Budget Support operation for the financial year 2009/10.

11. Cabinet has taken note of the EC requirements for the maintenance of a cold chain for fishery products, particularly the temperature of brine frozen tuna intended for canning and export to European Union countries and of measures taken by local fish business operators to comply with the regulations.

12. Taking into consideration the development of real estate in the North and the implementation of the Integrated Resort Scheme and the Real Estate Scheme, Cabinet has taken note that a number of planters, including miller planters, are applying for conversion/excision of the land. In the circumstances, Cabinet has agreed to Phase II of the Northern Plains Irrigation Project being put on hold pending its re-appraisal by the African Development Bank.

13. Cabinet has taken note of the new mechanism put in place for the purchase of by-catch and miscellaneous fish removed from fishing vessels calling at Port Louis with a view to ensuring that all active fishmongers cooperative societies obtain by-catch and miscellaneous fish on a regular basis and in an equitable manner.

14. Cabinet has taken note that, following allegations made in the media to the effect that the buses purchased by the National Transport Corporation in 2007 had many unusual mechanical defects, they represented a safety risk and that the correct procurement procedures had not been followed by the NTC, an enquiry carried out by a team of independent engineers, has revealed that the various mechanical and technical problems which were being encountered on these buses were due to a lack of proper maintenance of the vehicles and to the use of spare parts which were not appropriate/compatible to the engine design. The team has, accordingly, made a series of recommendations to the NTC.

15. Cabinet has taken note of activities which would be organised by the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions to mark the International Volunteer Day on 5 December 2008, viz., -
(a) an Award Ceremony to volunteers of Non-Governmental Organisations who have been offered scholarships in Diploma/BSc (Hons) Social Work at the University of Mauritius and the Counselling Courses at the University of Technology;
(b) award of Certificates to 45 NGO volunteers who have followed the training programme on Project Management/Accounting and Budgeting;
(c) a National NGO Award by MACOSS; and
(d) visits to elderly bedridden persons by the Scouts Club of the Social Welfare Division of the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions.

16. Cabinet has taken note of activities which would be organised by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, in collaboration with the National AIDS Secretariat of the Prime Minister's Office and other stakeholders, to mark World AIDS Day on 1 December 2008, viz., -
(a) formulation of a "2008-2009 HIV Charter for Mauritius" by all stakeholders, i.e., people living with HIV and AIDS, non-governmental organisations and community leaders;
(b) launching of a drama entitled "SIDA pa guet figir" at Serge Constantin Hall, Vacoas and presentation of a musical comedy at Centre Marie Reine de la Paix;
(c) youth rally followed by a demonstration of a Sport Group and a cultural programme at the Municipal Council of Quatre Bornes;
(d) a bicycle rally by Youth Alive Mauritius and Nuvobaz from Curepipe to Bois des Amourettes via Bel Air; and
(e) mini carnaval leaving Beau Vallon for Mahebourg Waterfront to sensitize the youth on the need to abstain from high risks behaviour.
The campaign for the period 2005-2010 is centered on the slogan “Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise”, and the theme chosen to mark the event is ‘Leadership’.

17. Cabinet has taken note that, in the context of promoting Mauritius as a seafood hub, the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment proposes to amend the Employment (Non-Citizens) (Restriction) Exemptions Regulations 1970 to provide for expatriates working on board fishing vessels registered under the Merchant Shipping Act, except for foreign fishers employed on bank line fishing vessels, to be exempted from the requirement for a work permit. Cabinet has further taken note that provision is also being made to exempt international artists coming for public shows and public broadcast from the requirement of a work permit.