CABINET DECISIONS – 8 MAY 2009
1. Cabinet has taken note of the situation in the Pig Breeding Sector which is recuperating following the outbreak of swine fever in 2007. According to latest report from AREU, out of 211 pig breeders, 148 have relaunched their activities. In view of the fact that 63 pig breeders have not been able to restart their activities, Cabinet has, exceptionally, agreed to extend the payment of income support to them for a final period of two months, i.e., May and June 2009.
2. Cabinet has taken note of the setting up of the Seed Potato Purchase Scheme as recommended by the Food Security Committee to facilitate the purchase of potato seeds by small planters with a view to encouraging more planters to cultivate potato and increasing production.
3. Cabinet has taken note that, following the outbreak of influenza A(H1N1) in Mexico and the United States of America and the sustained human to human transmission, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life has taken a series of precautionary measures, inter alia, -
(a) surveillance at the Airport and the Port has been reinforced in collaboration with the Commanding Officers of aircrafts and vessels and the respective Control Towers;
(b) arrangements have been made for suspected cases to be referred to the nearest hospital;
(c) sensitization campaigns on the influenza have been mounted;
(d) an additional stock of Tamiflu, masks, gloves, goggles and ventilators has been procured; and
(e) ships, vessels entering the Port and yachts at Black River, Grand Baie and Trou d'Eau Douce are being screened by the National Coast Guard.
4. Cabinet has taken note that, following the announcement made by the WHO regarding the outbreak of swine influenza in many parts of the world, the Ministry of Agro Industry, Food Production and Security has taken a series of measures to prevent the pig population in Mauritius and Rodrigues from being infected by the influenza, viz. -
(a) field visits to pig farms to ascertain “de visu” that appropriate hygienic measures are being taken by pig breeders to avert the occurrence of any disease at farm level;
(b) increased vigilance at the Port and Airport, particularly on illegal entry of live animals, meat and meat products;
(c) ban on the importation of live pigs until further notice. The importation of pigs from Rodrigues is, however, authorized solely for slaughtering purposes; and
(d) procurement of diagnostic kits to check the antibody level against swine influenza in local pigs.
Cabinet has further taken note that the National Committee on Surveillance of Avian Flu in Mauritius will meet regularly to also monitor problems associated with swine influenza and to enlist the support of all institutions and stakeholders concerned for a better surveillance of the disease.
5. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Housing and Lands from 16 to 19 April 2009 to Saudi Arabia where he discussed arrangements for Hajj 2009 with Dr Fouad Bin Abdel Salam El Farisi, Minister of Hajj of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, so that the Mauritian pilgrims perform their pilgrimage in the best possible manner. Following a request of the Minister of Housing and Lands, the Saudi Authorities have agreed to grant 500 additional visas, as had been the case for the last three years, i.e., a total of 1,800 visas.
6. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Probation of Offenders (Amendment) Bill which amends the Probation of Offenders Act to allow the Courts to deal more efficiently with probationers, namely by imposing an attendance centre requirement, a curfew requirement, a drug or alcohol treatment and a residence requirement and to ensure compliance with the Convention for the Rights of the Child.
7. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements made between the Ministry of Renewable Energy and Public Utilities and the Central Water Authority to enforce the standards for effluent discharge in inland waters as provided in the Environment Protection Act. Effluent and water samples are collected and their chemical, physical, biological and microbiological parameters are analyzed by the Pollution Control Laboratory of the CWA. Moreover, the Authority is making arrangements for the upgrading and accreditation of the Laboratory.
8. Cabinet has taken note that a Turkish delegation comprising representatives of the Ministry of National Education, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and of the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency proposes to visit Mauritius during the second fortnight of May 2009 to discuss project proposals under the Framework of Cooperation for Africa-Turkey Partnership.
9. Cabinet has taken note of the elaboration of a Decent Work Country Programme for Mauritius for the period July 2009 to June 2012 as required by the ILO to promote opportunities for decent work for women and men in all countries. The three country priorities identified are -
(a) Employment Creation and Quality of Employment;
(b) Strengthening Social Dialogue; and
(c) Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination.
10. Cabinet has taken note of the status of the projects, currently being implemented by the Manufacturing Adjustment and SME Development Fund, which aim at providing assistance for capacity building of enterprises for increased competitiveness and resilience and supporting export orientation and market penetration. The Fund elaborated a Strategic Plan which incorporates 51 projects and programmes comprising, inter alia, -
(a) 28 projects relating to the restructuring of manufacturing enterprises, as well as export promotion;
(b) 8 projects pertaining to the development of the SMEs; and
(c) 15 projects relating to women entrepreneurship.
The Fund has already disbursed about Rs 81m for the implementation of various projects by Enterprise Mauritius, SEHDA and the National Women Entrepreneur Council.
11. Cabinet has taken note that, with a view to further consolidating the cultural ties between Mauritius and the People’s Republic of China, HE Mr Cai Wu, Minister of Culture of China, proposes to effect a visit to Mauritius in mid-October 2009. During his visit, HE Mr Cai Wu would sign a new Executive Programme for the years 2010-2012 under the bilateral Cultural Agreement providing for exchanges and cooperation in the fields of arts and culture, libraries, museums, archives and cultural heritage. HE Mr Cai Wu would also deliver a talk on “La culture de la Chine” and “Les relations culturelles entre la Chine et l’Afrique”.
12. Cabinet has agreed to Mauritius signing a Joint Declaration on Cooperation with the European Free Trade Area States, i.e., Iceland, Leichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, which would pave the way for the conclusion of a comprehensive Agreement on trade in goods, services and investment in the near future.
13. Cabinet has taken note of the activities that the Ministry of Women's Rights, Child Development and Family Welfare proposes to organise in the context of the International Day of Families on 15 May 2009, viz. -
(a) an Interactive Forum on the theme "Mothers and Families – Challenges in a Changing World" with the participation of academicians, teachers, students and representatives of NGOs and socio-cultural organisations;
(b) the launching of a short film and publications on the changing role of mothers;
(c) a Family Fun Day at the State House, Le Réduit; and
(d) the launching of the “Men as Partners" Project at Case Noyale, with a view to sensitizing youth on partnership building for the attainment of the highest level of harmony and happiness in family life.
The theme retained by the United Nations for the International Day of Families 2009 is “Mothers and Families – Challenges in a Changing World”.
14. Cabinet has taken note of activities being organized by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, in collaboration with the Ministry of Women’s Rights, Child Development and Family Welfare, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Human Resources, and the National Computer Board, to commemorate the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day on 17 May 2009, viz., -
(a) a programme on Television treating the issue of Child Safety Online;
(b) the production of a clip on the dangers that children face in the online world;
(c) the finalization of a legislation to protect children against dangers of Internet according to the Child Safety Online Action Plan; and
(d) an Open Day on 16 May 2009 at the Municipality of Port Louis on Safety Online.
The theme for the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, for this year, is “Protecting Children in Cyberspace” to ensure that children can safely access the Internet and its valuable resources without fear of falling prey to unscrupulous predators in cyberspace.
15. Cabinet has taken note that, in view of the recent technological development in the generation and use of electricity, the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment would promulgate the Occupational Safety and Health (Electricity at Work) Regulations to encompass up-to-date safety standards in the field of electricity so as to ensure that electrical systems are safer and employees at work are better protected through effective earthing of the electrical systems and equipment and other safety measures, such as residual current devices, reduced voltage system, extra low voltage and double insulated equipment to prevent electric shock.
16. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Women’s Rights, Child Development and Family Welfare from 15 to 24 April 2009 to China where she participated in the Second Seminar for Women Cadres from Parties and Women’s Organisations in African Countries. The main objectives of the Seminar were to –
(a) consolidate and develop friendly relations between parties and women organizations of China and African countries;
(b) strengthen cooperation in the fields of gender equality and women’s development; and
(c) discuss and exchange experiences for better participation in economic and social development.
The Minister of Women’s Rights, Child Development and Family Welfare signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the All-China Women’s Federation for the promotion of technical cooperation for women empowerment.
17. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the Boards of the following institutions –
(a) the Training and Employment of Disabled Persons with Mrs Amreeta Nivault as Chairperson;
(b) the Loïs Lagesse Trust Fund with Mr Retnon Pyneeandee as Chairperson;
(c) the Small Planters Welfare Fund with Mr Shyamduthsing Ramdhary as Chairperson; and
(d) the National Council for the Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons with the Principal Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare & Reform Institutions as Chairperson.