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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 29 May

Cabinet Decisions taken on 29 May

1.Cabinet has taken note that the President of the Republic has, on the advice of the Prime Minister, constituted the Competition Commission as follows –
(a) Chairperson: Mr Ariranga Govindasamy Pillay,GOSK, former Chief Justice
(b) Vice-Chairperson: Mr Rajiv Servansingh, Regional Director, BOI Office, Mumbai, and former Secretary General, Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry
(c) Commissioners: (i) Mr Mohamed Reshad Sadool, Accountant/Auditor
(ii) Mrs Selvam Poonoosamy, General Manager with wide experience in different sectors of the economy
(iii) Mr Rodney Jacques Roger Rama, Barrister-at-Law
The objectives of the Commission are, inter alia, to -
(a) issue orders and directions in accordance with the Competition Act;
(b) impose financial penalties or remedies on any enterprise which conducts its business in breach of the provisions of the Act; and
(c) co-operate with other competition authorities in other countries entrusted with functions similar to those of the Commission.

2. Cabinet has taken note that, as announced in the Budget Speech 2009 regarding the mechanism for monitoring of capital projects, Sir Bhinod Bacha, Kt., CMG, FMIM, has been appointed Senior Adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office to head the Project Monitoring Unit and to ensure timely implementation of Government’s programmes and plans of action.

3. Cabinet has taken note of the commitments that Government would need to take for the disbursement of a grant of €93.112 million from the European Commission for the period 2009-2011 as General Budget Support to finance the implementation of the economic reform programme.

The proposed General Budget Support operation is a three-year Programme entitled “Promoting Sustainable and Equitable Development” that combines the Sugar Accompanying Measures, the 10th European Development Fund National Indicative Programme and the Fluctuation in Export Earnings 2008.

4. Cabinet has taken note of the Draft Schedule of Commitments on Trade in Services prepared in the context of the Economic Partnership Agreement Negotiations. The Draft Schedule has been developed on the basis of commitments made by Mauritius at the WTO in the Tourism, Financial Services, and Telecommunications Sectors, as well as new commitments in fields of priority interest, viz. health, education, business, maritime and air transport, distribution, and environment, with a view to transforming Mauritius into a services-based economy and to attract EU investments in the Services Sector.

5. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Supplementary Appropriation (2008-2009) Bill which provides for the appropriation of an amount of Rs4.262 billion for the Financial Year 2008/2009 to supplement the initial voted amount of Rs55.638 billion for projects geared towards, inter alia -
(a) the action plan to save jobs and prepare for the economic recovery;
(b) supporting infrastructure development in Municipalities and District Councils; and
(c) road infrastructure in the context of road decongestion programme.

6. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the construction of an additional lane along Motorway M1 from the underpass in Pailles to Caudan Roundabout in the north bound direction and from Old Moka Road through Camp Chapelon, Pailles in the south bound direction with a view to alleviating the traffic congestion problem. Works are expected to start in June 2009.

7. In line with the recommendations of the Fact Finding Committee on ex-Lola Flooding and following observations made by the Director of Audit, Cabinet has agreed to the creation of a Water Resources Authority within the Ministry of Renewable Energy and Public Utilities to be responsible for the management, development and protection of water resources, currently being undertaken by the CWA. With the eventual transfer of the responsibilities, the CWA would focus exclusively on the treatment and distribution of water for domestic and non-domestic purposes.

8. Cabinet has taken note that the National Library and the European Commission would sign an agreement to provide for the transfer of the ‘EU infopoint’, which is presently based at the European Commission, to the National Library. The objectives of ‘EU infopoint’, a general source of information on the EU known as the “EU i”, are to -
(a) promote teaching, research and awareness on the European Union;
(b) make available information on the European Union and its policies to the public; and
(c) participate in the debate on the European Union, where appropriate, with other stakeholders.

9. Following reports received to the effect that low pressure non-adjustable regulators which are being imported or manufactured locally are of poor quality, Cabinet has taken note that the Minister for Consumer Protection and Citizens Charter would amend the Fifth Schedule of the Consumer Protection (Control of Imports) Regulations to include low pressure non-adjustable regulators for use with butane and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), together with a condition that they must comply with the relevant Mauritian Standard or its equivalent, on the list of controlled goods. Importers of regulators would be required to submit, before importation, an authenticated copy of a Certificate of Conformity to MS 147:2008, or its equivalent, issued by a recognized laboratory. Cabinet has further taken note that imported rubber and plastic tubing and hoses should comply with the requirements of MS 137:2006 before release from customs.

10. Cabinet has taken note that the NOMA Award Managing Committee, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Human Resources, would hold the annual ceremony for the NOMA Award for Publishing in Africa in Mauritius in June 2009.
The NOMA Award was founded in 1979 by late Shoichi Noma, former President of Kodansha Ltd., the biggest and leading Publishing House in Japan. The Award, which is under the auspices of UNESCO since 2005, is offered to an African writer or scholar for an outstanding piece of work published in any of the languages used in Africa. The Award consists of a prize of US $10,000.

11. Cabinet has agreed to the setting up of the Bhojpuri, Creole, Arabic, French and Mandarin Speaking Unions with a view to -
(a) promoting the languages and education in their spoken and written forms, promoting friendship and understanding, cultural and artistic works and providing facilities for the exchange of views affecting the interests, well-being, development, relationships and common problems of the speakers of those languages;
(b) promoting and encouraging the publication, exhibition, distribution and sale of books, magazines, newspapers and literary works in those languages; and
(c) promoting intercultural and interlinguistic understanding and harmony through exchange and participation in joint projects.

12. Following the agreement signed between Government and the Mauritius Sugar Producers Association in April 2008, Cabinet has taken note that Messrs Hunton and Williams LLP, a US-based company, has been appointed as independent consultant to review the Energy Sector with particular reference to the agreements with the Independent Power Producers (IPPs).
The Terms of Reference of the Consultant are, inter alia, to –
(a) determine whether the balance of risks between the CEB and the Independent Power Producers is in accordance with international norms;
(b) give an assessment of a fair return commensurate with the risks taken by the CEB and each of the IPPs; and
(c) make appropriate recommendations.

13. Cabinet has taken note of the National Plan of Action for Nutrition 2009-2010 which defines the strategies and actions to address problems associated with unhealthy eating habits in Mauritius. The main objectives of the Action Plan are, inter alia, to -
(a) reduce underweight, as measured by growth indices, to half the level in children aged 5 to 11 years;
(b) reduce nutritional anaemia in female adolescents aged 12 to 19 years and pregnant women;

(c) establish dietary recommendations for adults for the prevention of chronic diet-related diseases, based on the population nutrient intake goals set by the World Health Organisation;
(d) reduce obesity in the adult population by 3%; and
(e) adopt and enforce legal measures to ensure the provision of safe food and food supplies.

14. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Youth and Sports, in collaboration with the Mauritius Athletics Association, would organise the 9th edition of the African Junior Athletics Championship in Mauritius from 30 July to 02 August 2009. Some 30 African countries have been invited to participate in the Championship and it is expected that the event will attract some 300 participants.

15. Cabinet has taken note of the activities which would be organised by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life to mark the World No Tobacco Day 2009, commemorated on 31 May, viz. -
(a) a rally at Flacq when messages and information on ‘Tobacco Health Warnings’ would be disseminated;
(b) inauguration of a Smoking Cessation Clinic at Odette Leal Community Health Centre;
(c) sensitization campaigns and talks in educational institutions, at sites of work and in the community on the ill-effects of tobacco and its related products; and
(d) special sensitization programmes on MBC/TV.
The theme chosen this year is "Tobacco Health Warnings". Mauritius has been proactive to the call of the WHO by promulgating the Public Health (Restrictions on Tobacco Products) Regulations which make it mandatory for any packet of cigarettes or cigars, imported or manufactured as from 1 June 2009 and meant for sale in Mauritius, to display health warnings in a determined manner.

16. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Agro Industry, Food Production and Security from 18 to 21 May 2009 to Georgetown, Guyana where he participated in the 11th ACP Special Ministerial Conference on Sugar. The Conference examined a number of issues of interest to the Sugar Group, including adaptation to the drastic price cut under the EU Sugar Regime, the effects of abnormal climatic events on production and productivity, the impact of the financial crisis and the economic duration.

17. Cabinet has taken note of the Master Plan of the Vallée d'Österlog Endemic Garden which provides, inter alia, for -
(a) a network of 18.2 km of trails;
(b) footbridges and boardwalks, where required;
(c) kiosks for panoramic viewpoint and rest;
(d) bridges over ponds and rivulets with railings made of natural materials;
(e) viewpoints from where the forest canopy and the environment can be observed and enjoyed;
(f) a fernery/orchidarium;
(g) a Visitors Centre; and
(h) a Nursery that will showcase the full diversity of endemic species.
The concept of a “Maurice Ile Durable”, the use of natural lighting, aeration for the buildings and the ecological sustainability of the facilities have been taken into consideration in the preparation of the Master Plan.

18. Cabinet has agreed to Mauritius acceding to the Postal Payment Services Agreement, adopted by the Universal Postal Union Congress in October 2008, to enable the Mauritius Post Limited to implement the International Financial System, which is a network to facilitate the electronic transfer of funds among public postal operators, as well as certain banks. The adhesion to the System would also enable the Mauritius Post Limited to realise the SADC Money Order Project and migrant workers in Mauritius to make rapid transfer of remittance to their home countries at low cost.

19. Cabinet has agreed to the Seventh Meeting of the Steering Committee of the SADC Hydrological Cycle Observing System (SADC-HYCOS) Project being held in Mauritius in October 2009. The Project, which is being implemented within the SADC Regional Strategic Action Plan on Integrated Water Resources Management, aims at fostering greater regional cooperation in water resources management, in particular at enhancing hydro-meteorological monitoring, at developing and operating an integrated regional water resources database and website, capacity building within the region and developing hydrological products.

20. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Workshop on the Need for an Inter-African Accreditation Cooperation organized jointly by the Mauritius Accreditation Service (MAURITAS) and the Southern African Development Community Cooperation in Accreditation in April 2009. The Workshop concluded a Draft Document of Intent emphasizing on the importance of establishing cooperation in accreditation in the Africa region to boost –
(a) Intra-African trade;

(b) trade with other countries and regions;

(c) industrial development;

(d) diversification of exports;

(e) protection of public health, safety and the environment; and

(f) competitiveness of African goods and services.

21. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of a Workshop on the SADC Industrial Upgrading and Modernisation Programme held on 7 May 2009 with the participation of about 50 stakeholders from public and private institutions of the region. The objectives of the Programme are to support the process of modernization, growth and competitiveness of industries and related services, to facilitate access to national, regional and international markets and to upgrade and strengthen the technical capacities of support institutions.

22. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Second Meeting of the Executive Board of the World Hindi Secretariat held on 14 and 15 May 2009 in India. The Board, inter alia, -

(a) agreed on the Delegation of Powers by the Governing Council and the Executive Board to various Committees for speeding up the implementation of decisions taken;

(b) took note of developments in the creation of a website to improve the visibility of the Secretariat internationally;

(c) decided that the World Hindi Day be celebrated on 10 January with activities spreading over several days; and

(d) took note of progress made in the construction of the Secretariat building in Mauritius.

23. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Environment and National Development Unit from 4 to 8 May 2009 to Geneva, where he participated in the Fourth Conference of the Parties of the Stockholm Convention on Persistant Organic Pollutants (POPs). The focus of the Conference was to look into ways and means to accelerate progress to attain the objectives of the Convention for a POPs-free future.

The major decisions taken by the Conference are -
(a) the establishment of a global alliance and an associated business plan for the quick development and deployment of alternatives to dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) that are affordable and effective;
(b) the setting up of a network with a view to finding the best solutions for the elimination of 'polychlorinated biphenyls'; and
(c) the listing of nine newly identified chemicals as POPs and the preparation of a work-programme and operating procedures for the Persistant Organic Pollutants Review Committee to continue its work for the identification of new POPs.

24. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the following –
(a) the National Savings Fund Technical Committee with Mrs Scarlett Marcel as Chairperson;
(b) the National Pensions Board with Mr Baboorunjitsing Goordyal, GOSK, CSK, as Chairperson; and
(c) the Agalega Island Council with Mr Louis Hervé Aimée as Chairperson
Cabinet has further taken note of the reconstitution of –
(a) the Dental Council of Mauritius; and
(b) the Board of the Mauritius Council of Registered Librarians.