CABINET DECISIONS – 26 MARCH 2009
1. Cabinet has taken note that Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam, GCSK, Prime Minister, would attend an Extraordinary SADC Summit to be held on 30 March 2009 in Swaziland, which would consider –
(a) the economic recovery measures for Zimbabwe; and
(b) the current political situation in Madagascar.
2. Cabinet has taken note that about 600 households, whose premises are located far from existing electricity network, have, to date, benefited from the assistance scheme for the extension of electricity network up to their residence. Taking into consideration that a significant number of households are unable to develop their property as electric poles and bare electric wires are located on their land and the high cost for their displacement, Cabinet has agreed to the introduction of a new scheme to assist such needy households subject to certain established criteria.
3. Cabinet has taken note that the unemployment rate which was 6.5% in 2000 continued increasing to reach 9.6% in 2005 as follows –
2000 - 6.5%
2001 - 6.8%
2002 - 7.2%
2003 - 7.7%
2004 - 8.4%
As from 2006, the rate started decreasing as follows to reach 7.2% in 2008 –
2006 - 9.1%
2007 - 8.5%
2008 - 7.2%
4. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the implementation of the “Espace des Métiers” project by the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment in collaboration with the National Empowerment Foundation. The project aims, inter alia, at -
(a) reinforcing the operation of existing services, such as the Employment Information Centres, the Small Enterprises and Handicraft Development Authority and the Careers Guidance Service; and
(b) supporting the Empowerment Programme in its various initiatives.
5. Taking into consideration that the current law does not allow divorce in decency and dignity, Cabinet has agreed to simplifying divorce proceedings and allowing divorce by mutual consent with a view to enabling spouses to part ways with the minimum bitterness, distress and humiliation and not embittering relationship between them or between them and their children.
The proposed new law would provide for a plurality of grounds for divorce, namely:
(a) ‘consentement mutuel’;
(b) ‘acceptation du principe de la rupture du mariage’;
(c) ‘rupture de la vie commune’; and
6. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the implementation of the Road Decongestion Programme, particularly the status of the Dream Bridge project, the Terre Rouge-Verdun-Ebène Link Road, the Ring Road, the Busway for Bus Rapid Transit and the East-West Connector.
7. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction of diesel with sulphur content not exceeding 500 parts per million (ppm) for use by automobiles. The diesel currently used has a sulphur content of 2500 ppm which lead mainly to:
(a) corrosion and wear of engine systems;
(b) a decrease in the efficiency of exhaust after-treatment systems;
(c) respiratory and cardiovascular problems; and
(d) risks of developing cancer.
8. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the “Centre de Lecture Publique et d’Animation Culturelle” Bill which provides for the setting up of the Centre de Lecture Publique et d’Animation Culturelle, to be known as CELPAC, to encourage and promote reading through artistic, cultural and educational activities, particularly where reading centres are non-existent. With CELPAC, reading material would be easily accessible to the public, participation in educational games encouraged and the organisation of lectures, seminars and conferences in the artistic, cultural and educational fields facilitated.
9. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Additional Stimulus Package (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill which provides for the implementation of measures requiring legislative amendments contained in the Additional Stimulus Package document released on 20 December 2008. Opportunity has been taken to provide for the extension of programme based budgeting to Municipal and District Councils, Rodrigues and to certain statutory bodies and, for the change of their accounting period, where applicable, to calendar year.
10. Cabinet has taken note that the Board of the Trust Fund for Specalised Medical Care proposes to charge fees for the provision of medical care to local patients who are covered by a personal health insurance as provided for in the Trust Fund for Specalised Medical Care Act 1992. The new policy will enable the Trust Fund for Specialised Medical Care to modernise its services, acquire high-tech equipment and employ more highly qualified specialists, thus enhancing its level and quality of care and services. Patients not covered by an insurance scheme would continue to avail of medical care free of charge.
11. Cabinet has taken note that, with a view to sensitizing stakeholders on the opportunity arising from the Third Country Fabric Derogation under AGOA, the Ministry of Industry, Science and Research would organize an AGOA Week from 06 to 10 April 2009, which would comprise –
(a) holding of a high-level workshop on “Opportunities to export to the US market under AGOA”, for the benefit of those companies which have the willingness and the capacity to export to the US market;
(b) holding of a workshop for University Students to sensitize them on AGOA, its opportunities, its implementation and the practical aspects;
(c) launching of an AGOA export manual containing information relating to basic procedures for exporting to US, contact details of local and US authorities and permits and clearances required, among others; and
(d) sensitization programmes on the benefits of AGOA.
12. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the setting up of a Social Register for Mauritius by the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions. The Register would be a large database of social programme beneficiaries with the following objectives:
(a) to better target beneficiaries of social programmes;
(b) to manage social programmes in an integrated way; and
(c) to better harmonise the criteria for the different social programmes run by different Ministries.
13. Cabinet has taken note that the Plant Pathology Laboratory of the Agricultural Research and Extension Unit had, in January 2009, been accredited ISO/IEC 17025 Standard. The Plant Pathology Laboratory is the focus for research on all aspects on the biology, prevention and control of plants diseases in the non–sugar sector.
14. Cabinet has taken note that of the status of the campaign launched by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and National Development Unit, for the extermination of rodents in the country, particularly market places, public buildings and sugar cane fields.
15. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Industry, Science and Research, in collaboration with SADC and UNIDO, would organise a Validation Workshop on Industrial Upgrading and Modernisation Programme (IUMP) for Mauritius on 7 May 2009. The objectives of the Programme are to support the process of modernisation, growth and competitiveness of industries and related services, facilitate access to national, regional and international markets, as well as help strengthen management capacities and marketing skills.
16. Cabinet has taken note that the Mauritius Institute of Education, in collaboration with the University of Brighton, UK, would organize an International Conference on Education for Democracy Citizenship and Sustainability in Small Island States and Countries in the Indian Ocean from 15 to 18 April 2009 in Mauritius. The Conference would examine opportunities and challenges which globalisation has brought to the world of education, as well as strategies to ensure that the education systems contribute to empowering learners and teachers to further the ideals of democracy, citizenship and sustainability. Some 35 participants from Madagascar, Reunion Island, Australia, South Africa, United Kingdom and the tertiary institutions in Mauritius would attend the Conference.
17. Cabinet has taken note of the holding of the Research Coordination Meetings of the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Mauritius from 21 to 25 September 2009. The objectives of the Meetings are to review works carried out during the implementation of the coordinated research project, prepare the final report, review the draft scientific publications and assess achievements.
Some 20 foreign participants, including representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the International Atomic Energy Agency, would attend the Meetings.
18. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life had organised a Symposium on Research for Health from 5 to 7 March 2009, with a view to, inter alia, sensitizing stakeholders on the concept of “Research for Health” and reviewing the situation on the types of researches carried out in Mauritius. The main recommendations of the Symposium are, inter alia, -
(a) the setting up of a Steering Committee on Research for Health and a Sub-Committee on pharmaco-vigilance;
(b) the identification of priorities for research for health with emphasis on
Non-Communicable Diseases, including Diabetes, Cardio-Vascular diseases, Cancer, Mental Health, and their risk factors and also on emerging communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS and Avian Flu;
(c) the formulation of an appropriate institutional framework for policy development and capacity building at individual, institutional and system levels; and
(d) the establishment of a National Health Research System.
19. Cabinet has taken note that the Southern Africa Telecommunications Association Conference would be held from 6 to 8 May 2009 in Mauritius. The programme of the Conference would, inter alia, comprise -
(a) Meeting of the Technology and Infrastructure Committee;
(b) Meeting of the Policy and Strategy Committee; and
(c) Chief Executive Officer’s Meeting.
20. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the regular monitoring of diseases of public health importance carried out by the Central Health Laboratory of the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life during the first two months of 2009. The diseases of public health importance currently being monitored by the Central Health Laboratory are diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, chikungunya, dengue and hepatitis A, B and C, as well as food and water samples are being analysed. Cabinet has further taken note that malaria, chikungunya, dengue and hepatitis A are on the decrease, while hepatitis B and hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS are stable.
21. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Health and Quality of Life from 17 to19 March 2009 in Cape Verde, where he attended the Second Meeting of Health Ministers of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The objectives of the Meeting were to -
(a) examine the disease patterns of SIDS and measure progress made on the Seychelles Declaration; and
(b) share new developments on Non-Communicable Diseases, Health System Response and Primary Health Care.
The Meeting agreed, inter alia, to -
(a) ban advertisement and promotion on alcohol and tobacco; and
(b) develop a mechanism for capacity building in the field of pharmaceutical policy development.
22. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the official visit of the Minister of Health and Quality of Life to Rodrigues from 28 February to 2 March 2009 in the context of the sensitization campaign on the new Tobacco and Alcohol Regulations. During the visit, he also launched a new Mobile Clinic Service comprising, inter alia, screening for NCDs, testing for HIV and AIDS, demonstration and counselling on healthy cooking habits, and screening for dental care.
The Minister of Health and Quality of Life also visited the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at Crève Coeur and the Area Health Centres at La Ferme and Mont Lubin.
23. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions from 16 to 17 March 2009 to Rodrigues, where she launched the Computerisation Programme for Social Aid/Unemployment Hardship Relief and the Anti-Influenza Vaccination Campaign. The main objective of the computerisation of the Social Aid/Unemployment Hardship Relief Division is to enable prompt payment of benefits.
During her visit to Rodrigues, the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions met the Commissioner for Social Security with whom she discussed the setting up of a Benefits Awarding Unit in Rodrigues and programmes for caregivers, elderly and persons with disabilities.
24. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of –
(a) the Standards Council with Miss Varuna Roy Bunwaree, as Chairperson; and
(b) the Sugar Industry Labour Welfare Fund Committee with Mr Anand Bhikoo as Chairperson.