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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 30 May 2008

Cabinet Decisions taken on 30 May 2008

1. Cabinet has taken note of the recommendations made by the Pay Research Bureau in its Report on Pay and Grading Structures and Conditions of Service in the Civil Service,
Parastatal and other Statutory Bodies, Local Authorities, the Rodrigues Regional Assembly and Private Secondary Schools and has agreed to its implementation in toto as from 1 July 2008.
The Report has recommended an average increase of 36.9% inclusive of a 6% contribution on Pension, or 31.4% excluding Pension contribution, on the salary/wages of about 83,000 employees. The financial implications for the implementation of the recommendations contained in the Report would be to the tune of Rs 5.2 billion, (i.e., 2% of GDP), inclusive of the review of pension of the 23,000 public service pensioners. The average increase granted in the Report of the PRB 2003 was 21.8%, and the financial implication was Rs 2.3 billion (i.e., 1.4% of GDP).
As in 2003, the Pay Research Bureau has recommended that payment be staged over a period of two years, i.e., 75% in financial year 2008-2009 and the remainder in financial year 2009-2010.
Cabinet has also taken note that the Bureau has considered, inter alia, the following in making its recommendations –
(i) the difficult international conditions and the reform measures initiated by Government;
(ii) compensating for loss of purchasing power since July 2003;
(iii) re-establishing relativities and differentials in reward commensurate with responsibilities and, wherever desirable, to reflect market realities;
(iv) addressing the problem of scarcity of skills and competencies in certain areas; and
(v) linking pay with economic performance and productivity, to the extent possible.
Cabinet has further taken note that, in framing its Report, the Pay Research Bureau has also focused on the need to transform public sector organizations into modern, professional and citizen-friendly entities dedicated to service people, and to strengthen public confidence and trust. The Bureau has also proposed strategies to attain these objectives, including moving from multi-layered to flatter structures, providing training and development to equip employees with the right competencies and attitude, implementing Performance Management System and Programme Based Budgeting, and introduction of a reward mechanism.

2. Cabinet has taken note that the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the evaluating body of the World Heritage Centre for cultural properties, has recommended Le Morne for inscription on the World Heritage List. The recommendations would be examined at the 32nd session of the World Heritage Committee scheduled from 02 to 10 July 2008 in Quebec City, Canada. A high level delegation comprising, inter alia, the Minister of Arts and Culture, the Attorney General, Minister of Justice & Human Rights, the Minister of Housing & Lands, Dr F. Odendaal, Consultant, and Ms S. Anquetil, Chairperson of Le Morne Heritage Trust Fund, would proceed to Canada to present the case of Le Morne as a World Heritage site.

3. Cabinet has taken note of the new strategy for a Sustainable Diversified Agri-Food Sector for Mauritius for the period 2008 to 2015. Taking into account the unprecedented changes in the world food system, the strategy document analyses the threats and challenges of the Mauritian agri-food system and presents the expected outputs through production of priority foodcrops, fruits and ornamentals, promising crops, as well as the promotion of important species of farm animals and poultry, for enhancing food security.
The overall vision of the strategy is to enable the Mauritian agri-food system to become, by year 2015, :-
(i) diverse and multi-functional for food supply stability and nutritional security;
(ii) modern, competitive and economically, socially and environmentally sustainable; and
(iii) flexible and responsive to changes in consumer demand.

4. Cabinet has taken note of the new programme of voluntary counselling and screening for HIV in the community carried out by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, in collaboration with NGOs and persons involved in community work, in view of the fact that there has been a shift in the mode of transmission, i.e., from heterosexuality to injection of drugs. The Ministry of Health and Quality of Life has introduced a mobile caravan which will visit towns and villages to provide services like pre-test and post -test counselling, conventional testing, and rapid HIV test.
As at 31 March 2008, 3,438 HIV positive cases, i.e., 3281 Mauritians (2,705 male, 576 female) and 157 foreigners, have been registered.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Methadone Substitution Therapy Programme has, so far, been successfully implemented and that arrangements have been made for the follow up on clients at the Regional Hospitals, except Dr A.G. Jeetoo Hospital, and at Brown Sequard Mental Health Care Centre, instead of detoxication centres, in view of the increase in the number of clients.

5. Cabinet has taken note of the recommendations of a study on the use of mogas on board bank fishing vessels carried out by Mr I. Mytakidis, Consultant. Cabinet has further taken note that, for safety reasons, bank fishing operators have agreed to the Consultant's recommendation to use outboard engines which are propelled with diesel, instead of mogas, before the end of the moratorium to use mogas which will expire in February 2009.

6. Cabinet has taken note that a sensitization campaign on diabetes named “Diabetes Full Stop” would be carried out, for the first time, on MBC Television by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, in close collaboration with the MBC and Barclays Bank PLC. Diabetes, recognized as the hidden epidemic of the 21st century, is already a major public health problem in Mauritius. The National Service Framework for Diabetes has initiated a series of measures to address the problem and the sensitization campaign on television aims at increasing knowledge about the disease, helping the population adopt a healthier lifestyle and assisting persons with diabetes to live a normal person’s life.

7. Cabinet has taken note of activities organised by the Ministry of Environment & National Development Unit to mark the World Environment Day on 5 June, viz. -
(i) Launching of the Green School Project at Bon Accueil State Secondary School with a view to promoting environmental responsibility, stewardship and sustainable lifestyles in the school community;
(ii) Upgrading and embellishment of flyovers;
(iii) Intensive Clean-Up Campaign in Port Louis and sensitization on cleanliness;
(iv) Cyclo-Rally and Tree Planting to sensitize youth on environmental and economic implication of global warming;
(v) Open Day at the National Environment Laboratory to appraise students, particularly Form VI science students, the techniques used for environment quality monitoring; and
(vi) An island-wide sensitisation programme on cleanliness, upkeep of bare land, efficient use of energy and protection of environment in general.
This year, the focus will be on Climate Change with the slogan : “CO2 - Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy”.

8. Cabinet has taken note of activities which would be organized by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life during the period 9 to 14 June 2008 to mark World Blood Donor Day 2008, viz. -
(i) blood donations at different sites;
(ii) a national debate competition for students of Form VI;
(iii) a workshop to discuss blood donation issues and quality of blood; and
(iv) a sensitization campaign during the week.
The theme of this year which is “Giving Blood Regularly”, aims at supporting the national blood donor programmes in building a pool of voluntary donors.

9. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance & Economic Development and the Minister of Public Utilities to Reunion Island from 23 to 25 May 2008 in the context of the “Maurice Ile Durable” project. During their mission, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance & Economic Development and the Minister of Public Utilities discussed, inter alia, with stakeholders of the Energy Sector the increased utilization of renewable energy and a more efficient use of energy in general. They also understudied -
(a) the institutional and regulatory framework set up to allow independent power producers, including very small power producers, to produce and sell electricity to the main operator;
(b) the role of the main operator, as the technical regulator, in dealing with the problem of the intermittent nature of the wind and photovoltaic generators;
(c) the financial model developed so that the production of energy from renewable sources, particularly photovoltaic and wind, could be made sustainable;
(d) the use of solar water heaters so as to reduce the use of electrical and gas heaters; and
(e) measures taken to increase the efficiency in the use of all types of energy.
Following the mission, the Ministry of Public Utilities would lead efforts to develop actionable proposals to achieve our goal of “Maurice Ile Durable”.

10. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Environment & National Development Unit to New York from 05 to 17 May 2008, where he attended the 16th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, and the Special Small Island States Day.
During the Conference, debates centered on factors that brought about the food crisis, including climate change, energy prices, trade-distorting agricultural subsidies, financial speculation in agricultural commodities, and other constraints and barriers.

11. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the National Solidarity Fund Board with Mrs Francette Ng Cheng Hin as Chairperson.