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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 20 March

Cabinet Decisions taken on 20 March

1. Cabinet has taken note of a project for developing a hybrid rice seed industry in Mauritius to promote the improvement of nutrition and food security. The basmatic rice produced from the hybrid rice seeds would be of low glycemic index, and help fight diabetes.

2. Cabinet has taken note of developments regarding the sale of plots of State land on which stand Ex-CHA Housing Units. To date, 9,364 applications for the purchase of such State lands have been processed; 8,483 applications have already been approved for sale; 8,291 letters of intent have been issued and 3,560 title deeds signed. The Ministry of Housing and Lands is following up on all cases which have not responded to the letter of intent issued as well as those who have not applied for the acquisition of the land. Consideration is also being given to cases where the Ex-CHA Housing Units have been built on Pas Géometriques and ex-Railway lands.

3. Cabinet has taken note that trees have been felled by the CEB in the Buffer Zone of Le Morne Cultural Landscape and agreed to a Committee being set up to look into remedial action to be taken.

4. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Industry, Science and Research has, on 18 February 2009, signed a 'Convention de Financement' with the 'Agence Française de Développement' for a sum of Euro 1.5 million as grant for the implementation of projects to upgrade the production and export capability of enterprises, particularly the manufacturing sector as follows:
(a) upgrading of the technical infrastructure of the Mauritius Standards Bureau, providing for new testing facilities, reviewing its organisational structure and setting up of a Certification Scheme for ISO 14001;
(b) development of certification and inspection body accreditation programmes by the Mauritius Accreditation Service;
(c) upgrading of the capabilities of Enterprise Mauritius for delivery of services to the industrial sector;
(d) operationalisation of the Fashion and Design Institute; and
(e) development of the competence in the field of logistics and strengthening the logistics sector of the University of Mauritius.

5. Cabinet has taken note that, since Independence, 310 Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding have been signed with 55 countries, amongst others, China, India, France, the United Kingdom, Pakistan and Egypt. Cabinet has agreed to a Steering Committee being set up to take stock of progress made and to address bottlenecks in the implementation of the Agreements and the Memoranda of Understanding with a view to bringing tangible benefits to the country through expeditious implementation, proper follow up and close coordination.

6. Cabinet has agreed to the submission to the European Commission (EC) of the draft Mauritius-European Union Joint Annual Report 2008 which reviews our cooperation with the EC for the year 2008. The Report focuses on the socio-economic performance of the country, sector breakdown and utilization of the 9th EDF commitments, the governance profile and commitments elaborated in the context of the 10th EDF programming.

7. Cabinet has taken note of development projects in the telecommunication sector, including the Lower Indian Ocean Network Project which consist the construction of a new submarine optical fibre cable network linking Mauritius via Reunion Island to Madagascar and subsequently to Kenya. The cable would provide high bandwidth connectivity within the Indian Ocean Islands and would be used for disaster recovery for the existing international gateway located at Baie du Jacotet.

8. Cabinet has taken note that the First COMESA Expert Workshop on the Conflict and Early Warning System would be held from 22 to 25 April 2009 in Mauritius. The main objective of the Workshop is to discuss the putting in place of requisite systems, structures and programmes to establish an early warning and response system for conflict resolution with focus on war economy.

9. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure and External Communications to Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Dubai from 28 February to 6 March 2009 where he led a delegation of about 12 tourist operators (hoteliers/tour operators) to participate in a series of workshops with a view to creating greater awareness and visibility of the Mauritius destination. The Middle East tourist markets have registered a growth rate of 108.5% in tourist arrivals in 2008 as compared to the year 2007 and it is considered that tourists coming from the Middle East/Gulf countries could be substantially increased.

In the margins of the mission, the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Leisure and External Communications met the following dignitaries -
(a) His Highness Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nabayan, United Arab Emirates Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research;
(b) His Excellency Mohamed Bin Dhaen Al Hamli, United Arab Emirates Minister of Energy;
(c) His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Chairman of Kingdom Holding Company, Saudi Arabia; and
(d) Sheikh Yusuf El Kheriji, a prominent businessman in the hospitality industry of Saudi Arabia.

10. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Economic Empowerment from 8 to 16 March 2009 to France, Belgium and Luxemburg where he carried out sensitization campaigns on the financial services sector, tax information mechanism and measures in place to combat money laundering. He also had meetings with the Dr Jeffrey P. Owens, Director, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and Mr Laszlo Kovacs, EU Commissioner for Taxation and Customs.

11. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade to South Africa where he participated in the meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) held on 26 and 27 February 2009 and the Extraordinary Meeting of the SADC Ministers of Finance and Investment on 25 February 2009. The Council Meeting considered, inter alia, -
(a) the SADC Resource Mobilisation Strategy for the implementation of regional programmes;
(b) the Regional Integration Process;
(c) the North-South Corridor Aid for Trade Programme;
(d) Univisa and Visa Exemption; and
(e) the Political Situation in Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

12. Cabinet has taken note of the accreditation of the National Environmental Laboratory of the Ministry of Environment and National Development Unit to MS ISO 17025 Standard in February 2009. The Laboratory conducts physicochemical and microbiological analyses and environmental monitoring in respect of air, water, waste water, persistent organic pollutants, mercury, soil and extraneous materials and pesticides.

13. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of –
(a) the Board of Trustees of the Tamil Cultural Centre with Mr Soopramanien Comaren as Chairperson;
(b) the Board of Trustees of the Telugu Cultural Centre with Mr Ramdass Ellayah, OSK, as Chairperson;
(c) the Board of Trustees of the Marathi Cultural Centre with Mr Balraj Narroo, MSK, as Chairperson;
(d) the Mauritius Examinations Syndicate Board with Mr Mahadeo Ramnohur as Chairperson;
(e) the Child Mentoring Committee with Mr Ahmed Bundhoo as Chairperson;
(f) the Committee for the Special Fund for the Welfare of the Elderly with
Mrs Chandranee K. Bhuckory as Chairperson; and
(g) the Valuation Tribunal with Mrs Shameen Banon Ayyub Hamuth-Laulloo as Chairperson.