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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 24 April

Cabinet Decisions taken on 24 April

1. Cabinet has taken note that, with an annual production capacity of 2.35 billion kWh, an annual consumption of 2.07 billion kWh, and an annual growth rate of 5.4%, the Central Electricity Board is operating at full capacity. Arrangements are, therefore, being made to ensure security and reliability of electricity supply to meet future demands.

2. Cabinet has taken note that a feasibility study on the transmission grid and transformer network monitoring system of the Central Electricity Board would be carried out with the assistance of the United States Trade and Development Agency to define modes of operation of the electrical network and enable the Board to collect data from the sub-stations in order to continuously monitor the grid’s operation, evaluate the condition of the transmission network, and provide a basis for planning the replacement and upgrading of equipment for an efficient operation of the grid and catering for future expansion.

3. Cabinet has taken note of the situation in Sri Lanka and calls for an immediate ceasefire to allow safe evacuation of civilians. Government appeals to the Government of Sri Lanka to scrupulously respect the “No Fire Zone”. Government also calls for a political solution and urges the Sri Lankan Government to find a peacefully negotiated political settlement. Government is prepared to provide all possible assistance to the civilian population in Sri Lanka.

4. Cabinet has taken note that the Short-stay Visa Waiver Agreement with the European Union enabling Mauritians to enter and stay without a visa in the mainland territories in the Schengen Area would come into effect as from 1 June 2009. Mauritians would, therefore, be allowed to stay for a maximum period of three months during a
six-month period following the date of first entry, without a visa.

5. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the implementation of the Gas to Energy project at Mare Chicose Landfill site. The project would be implemented in two phases, viz., enhancing the capture capacity and the flaring of landfill gas, in the first phase, and converting gas to electricity system, in the second phase.

6. Cabinet has taken note of the recommendations of the Project Plan Committee set up to provide a coordinated approach to investment planning by Ministries and
para-statal organisations. After evaluating project proposals received, the Committee has retained 14 projects worth Rs 4.4 billion in the Port Sector, Water and Waste Water Sector, Health Sector and for Infrastructure development.

7. Cabinet has taken note of measures taken to curtail theft of mobile phones, viz., -
(a) the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) would release a Telecommunication Directive to enforce more rigorous obligations on licensed dealers with a view to protecting consumer interests with regard to the purchase of radio communication/telecommunication equipment;
(b) mobile operators would be required to set up their Equipment Identity Register and share information on blacklisted International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) among themselves subject to the subscribers’ consent;
(c) a mechanism would be put in place at the level of the Police Department to ensure that confidentiality of information of the subscriber, reporting the mobile phone loss or theft, is maintained at all times;
(d) necessary amendments would be made to the Information and Communication Technologies Act to make IMEI tampering an offence; and
(e) the ICTA, in collaboration with mobile operators, the Police Department and consumer associations, would conduct an awareness campaign on measures to curtail mobile phone theft.

8. Cabinet has taken note that, following decisions taken for secondary schools to end at 1430 hours instead of 1500 hours as recommended by the Pay Research Bureau and following consultations with Trade Unions in the Education Sector, the Second and the Third Terms would be extended by one week each to make up the teaching time foregone. The Second Term would, therefore, end on 24 July 2009 and the Third Term on 30 October 2009. The winter school holidays would last for two weeks, that is, from 27 July to 7 August 2009.
Cabinet has also taken note that opportunity has been taken to shift the English Oral Examinations for Cambridge School Certificate to October/November. The School Certificate and Higher School Certificate Examinations, particularly practicals, would now start as from 5 October 2009.

9. Cabinet has taken note that, in line with Government Programme to make optimum use of Citizens Advice Bureaux and to move its services closer to the community, the Consumer Protection Unit would provide a decentralized service on a regional basis as follows –
Zone Districts Citizens Advice Bureaux
1 Pamplemousses and Rivière du Rempart Triolet
Rivière du Rempart
2 Plaine Wilhems and Black River Vacoas
Rivière Noire
3 Moka and Flacq Quartier Militaire
Central Flacq
4 Grand Port and Savanne Mahebourg
Rivière des Anguilles
The services would include, receiving complaints, tendering advice to consumers and traders, application/renewal of certificates of registration (Carte Bleue) for vegetables/fruits/fresh fish sellers and for warehouses as required under the existing legislations.

10. Cabinet has taken note of the report of Kemp Chatteris Deloitte on the assessment of the financial situation and review of the organizational structure of the National Transport Corporation. The main recommendations are, inter alia, to -
(a) contain operating costs by applying strict control on administrative expenses, reducing stock holding for local supplies to one month; and ensuring that procurement procedures are rationalized;
(b) maximise revenue on traffic and ancillary services and contain cost of operations by operating on a commercial basis;
(c) ensure that travel products and services are aligned to market needs and demands and enhance passenger satisfaction;
(d) ensure an appropriate infrastructure for a smooth operation and enhancement of traffic volume and containment of costs; and
(e) build human resources capacity to meet existing and developing needs of the Corporation.

11. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Community Service Order (Amendment) Bill which aims at amending the Community Service Order Act to deal more efficiently with convicted persons. The Bill provides,
inter alia, that a Court may make a community service order in the case of –
(a) a minor between the ages of 16 and 18 who is sentenced to imprisonment; and
(b) a person sentenced to imprisonment for non-payment of a fine, or the balance of a fine, not exceeding 25,000 rupees.

12. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, in collaboration with the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute of Australia, the Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism St Mary’s Hospital, UK and the National Public Institute, Helsinki, Finland, would, this year, conduct a National Non-Communicable Diseases Survey both in Mauritius and Rodrigues, aiming at -
(a) measuring the prevalence of non-communicable diseases, namely Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, stroke, coronary heart disease and cancer;
(b) measuring the prevalence of risk factors for cardiovascular disease;
(c) examining the risk factors associated with chronic disease, such as obesity, physical inactivity, sedentary behaviour, diet, cigarette smoking and biomarkers (lipids, insulin, HbA1c, creatinine); and
(d) measuring the prevalence of sleep problems (apnea).

13. Cabinet has taken note of the performance of the "Export-Oriented Enterprises" Sector for year 2008 and for the period January to March 2009. Latest figures indicate the impact of the financial and economic crisis on the export enterprises. However, some Sectors are still showing some degree of resilence, e.g. -
(a) fish and fish preparations recorded an increase both in volume and value terms in year 2008, as well as during the period January to March 2009;
(b) the value of exports of pearls, precious and semi-precious stones sub-sector which registered a decrease in year 2008, improved by 3.3% during period January to March 2009; and
(c) the value of optical goods, which declined by 26% between 2007 and 2008, registered an increase of 50% for period January to March 2009.
The Manufacturing Adjustment and SME Development Fund and the Mechanism for Transitional Support to the Private Sector would provide the necessary assistance to enterprises to face future challenges.

14. Cabinet has taken note that the following Regional Workshops would be organized by the World Trade Organisation in Mauritius –
(a) a Workshop on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) from 13 to 15 October 2009, to enhance knowledge of the WTO disciplines regarding trade-related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, improve ability to interpret the TRIPS Agreement, update participants on the current state of play of negotiations on Intellectual Property Rights and discuss challenges and future course of action; and
(b) a Regional Workshop on Technical Barriers to Trade from 12 to 14 May 2009, to give public and private sector officials working on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) issues an opportunity to broaden their knowledge of the TBT Agreement, and improve their understanding of TBT-related trade issues with a view to promoting a more effective participation of the region in the work of the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Committee.

15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade to Lusaka, Zambia on 5 April 2009 where he participated in the Joint ESA-EC Ministerial Meeting on the Economic Partnership Agreement. The object of the Meeting was to address the contentious issues in the Interim EPA, namely the definition of substantially all trades, the Most Favoured Nation Clause, export taxes, standstill clause, agricultural safeguard, cumulation of Rules of Origin, quantitative restrictions and development benchmark.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade also attended a COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Pledging Meeting on the north-south corridor, a Pilot project of the Aid for Trade Programme aiming at reducing the time and costs of road and rail travel along two priority corridors of NEPAD. The project may be used as a model for maritime transport linking the Indian Ocean Island States and the mainland of Africa.

16. Cabinet has taken note that the Agreement between the National Heritage Fund and Friends of the Environment for the management of the Martello Tower at La Preneuse would be renewed for another period of three years as from May 2009. The Martello Tower Museum, a National Heritage, is a living illustration of the shared heritage of the Mauritian and British history.

17. Cabinet has taken note of progress in the implementation of the Goodlands By-pass project which would start shortly. Cabinet has also taken note of developments in the Triolet By-pass.

18. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements made by the mobile telephone operators to improve network coverage in the region of Ebène.

19. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of -
(a) the Board of Trustees of the Trust Fund for Specialised Medical Care with Mr Geerish Kumar Ramdharee as Chairperson;
(b) the Board of the Mauritius Sports Council with Mr Dhiraj Singh Khamajeet as Chairperson; and
(c) the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Trust Fund Committee with
Mr Ramesh Chandraduth Gopee as Chairperson.
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