CABINET DECISIONS – 08 OCTOBER 2010
1. Cabinet has taken note that, at the invitation of HE Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore, Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam, GCSK, FRCP, Prime Minister, effected an official visit to Singapore from 25 to 28 September 2010. The main objective of the visit was to develop a strategic partnership between the two countries. In this connection, the Prime Minister met HE Mr S.R. Nathan, President, and had a working session with Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore. The Prime Minister also visited the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit System, the Nanyang Technological University, the Public Utilities Board of Singapore (Marina Barrage), the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, the Singapore Prisons and the newly-constructed Casino of Singapore and met prominent businessmen of the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
At the working session, the Prime Minister of Singapore and the Prime Minister of Mauritius discussed the economic situation, the Euro crisis and bilateral issues, such as the development of a strategic partnership to tap the tremendous potential of the African continent, the conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement between the two countries, the development of a Mass Transport System based on the Singapore model, the management of water resources, collaboration between the Nanyang Technological University and the Tertiary Education sector in Mauritius, reform in the Civil Service, and the Congo Brazzaville-Mauritius-Singapore Triangular project. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong showed keen interest in the Land-Based Oceanic Industry Project of Mauritius and accepted the invitation made to him to visit Mauritius.
The Prime Minister has, amongst others, –
(a) decided to enlist the services of the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit System Corporation to meet the current and future transport needs of Mauritius;
(b) negotiated with the Nanyang Technological University for the award of 10 postgraduate scholarships, leading to PhD and 2 Nanyang Fellow Scholarships;
(c) invited a team of high officials from the Nanyang Technological University to carry out an evaluation of the tertiary education sector in Mauritius and make appropriate recommendations to bring it to an international level;
(d) requested the Director of the Catastrophe Risk Management of Singapore to undertake a complete risk assessment for Mauritius and Rodrigues in the event of a tsunami;
(e) requested the Director of Prisons of Singapore to provide assistance to carry out a review of the security system in the existing prisons and advise on security requirements for the new prison to be constructed in Melrose;
(f) invited the Chief Executive of Public Utilities Board to field a high-level mission to Mauritius to advise Government on the best way to manage the water loop in Mauritius; and
(g) agreed that Crimson Logic, a Singaporean firm, whose services have been obtained through the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Singapore Corporation Enterprise in 2008, would work closely with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority to design the Mauritius National Identity Card that is expected to be issued by the end of 2011.
Cabinet has also taken note that the recently-concluded bilateral air services Agreement between Singapore and Mauritius was officially signed in the presence of both the Singapore Prime Minister and the Prime Minister of Mauritius. The Agreement provides for:
(a) a multiple airlines designated regime;
(b) the number of weekly passenger service frequencies to be increased from 4 to 14 for each country;
(c) air cargo services to be completely liberalized;
(d) the operation of non-scheduled (Charter) flights; and
(e) an expansion of traffic rights to enable airlines from Singapore to operate to any point in Africa and Latin America and for Air Mauritius to fly to any point in the orient beyond Singapore.
2. Cabinet has taken note of the activities that would be organised by the Ministry of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund, to commemorate the 176th Anniversary of the Arrival of Indentured Labourers in Mauritius on 2 November 2010, viz. - wreath laying, multifaith prayer, cultural items and launching of a book on the theme Health Disease and Indian Immigrants in the 19th Century Mauritius and a CD on Bhojpuri Songs.
3. Cabinet has taken note that, with a view to alleviating the hardship of patients, particularly the elderly, attending Area Health Centres and Community Health Centres in the morning for blood collection, all Area Health Centres and Community Health Centres would, as from 15 October 2010, be opened at 0700 hours instead of 0800 hours on the day blood is taken from patients.
4. Cabinet has taken note that, in line with the Economic Restructuring and Competitiveness Package, the Mauritius Sugar Authority would assist the Cooperative Credit Societies and other small planter entities engaged in sugar cane cultivation to acquire Fairtrade accreditation. The main objective of the Fairtrade practice, established in 1946, is to contribute to the sustainable development of small producers, workers and their communities to earn a decent livelihood. To date, there are five Cooperative Credit Societies which have already obtained the Fairtrade accreditation.
5. Cabinet has taken note of the recommendations of the National Remuneration Board regarding Domestic Workers, inter alia. -
(a) increase of 10% to 22% in wages;
(b) grant of three days’ leave with pay to a worker on the occasion of his first wedding;
(c) increase in maternity allowance from Rs300 to Rs2,000;
(d) grant of a meal allowance of Rs50 to a worker who is required to work beyond 6.00 p.m. after the completion of his normal day’s work;
(e) payment of a disturbance allowance of Rs50, whenever a worker is required by his employer to work in a place other than his normal place of work;
(f) grant of vacation leave of two months (one month with pay and one month without pay) to be spent locally or abroad to a worker after 10 years’ continuous service; and
(g) payment of 1.5 of the basic rate for work done after 10.00 p.m.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment would promulgate remuneration Regulations to incorporate the recommendations of the National Remuneration Board.
6. Cabinet has taken note of the additional measures taken by the National Women Entrepreneur Council to give a new impetus for the development of women entrepreneurship, viz, –
(a) introduction of a Product Development Programme in Coconut Craft, in collaboration with the Fashion and Design Institute;
(b) provision of Mentoring Services on practical business knowledge;
(c) mounting of a training course in women’s wear, in collaboration with the Fashion and Design Institute;
(d) holding of a Women Entrepreneurship Week; and
(e) preparation of a Women Entrepreneurship Strategic Plan 2011–2015.
7. Cabinet has taken note that, under the Community Child Protection Programme, the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare would set up additional Community Child Watch Committees, a surveillance mechanism comprising volunteers, members of the Forces Vives, social workers, Non-Governmental Organisations, and community leaders, to keep watch in their respective region on cases of child at risk and child abuse and to report suspected cases to the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare for prompt action.
8. Cabinet has taken note that, with a view to empowering parents to shoulder their responsibilities, the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment, has launched the “Ecole des Parents” Project at La Valette on 5 October 2010. The Project aims at disseminating information on child development in general, and on the prevention of all forms of child violence, as well as sensitising on the support services available to respond to the various needs of parents. The project will be replicated in various other regions of the country.
9. Cabinet has taken note that, during period 1 September to 7 October 2010, four cases of malaria, three cases of dengue and three cases of chikungunya have been reported from amongst incoming passengers. The Ministry of Health and Quality of Life has initiated measures to prevent local transmission of mosquito-borne diseases, including the intensification of the anti-mosquito and clean-up campaigns and distribution of flyers to incoming passengers on board airlines linking to high risk countries.
10. Cabinet has taken note of the publication of the “Family Planning and Demographic Yearbook 2009” which, inter alia, highlights that -
(a) total fertility rate was 1.48, i.e., below replacement fertility level;
(b) the proportion of the elderly population above 60 years of age was 10.7% and is projected to increase to 25.4% in 2049;
(c) maternal mortality rate has gradually increased to 68 per 100,000 live births; and
(d) the number of current users of family planning methods has decreased from 91,791 in 2004 to 85,503 in 2009, i.e., by 6.8%.
With a view to further enhancing the reproductive health services, a National Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and Plan of Action 2009-2015 is being implemented and measures are being taken by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life to improve child and maternal health and reduce maternal mortality.
11. Taking into consideration safety hazards faced by pedestrians of the region, Cabinet has agreed to a new access road being constructed to join the Pointe aux Piments-Mon Choisy Road (B38) to the Mon Choisy-Cap Maheureux Road (B13) and part of the Pointe aux Piments-Mon Choisy coast road (B38) being diverted and deproclaimed.
12. Cabinet has taken note that Mr Salim Moollan, Barrister-at-law, has been elected as Chairperson of the Working Group II (Conciliation and Arbitration) of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), which was established in 1966 as a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly with the mandate of furthering the progressive harmonization and unification of the law of international trade. The Chairmanship of Mauritius of the UNCITRAL Working Group II would not only contribute to enhance the visibility of Mauritius in the field of international arbitration, but also give a boost to our efforts to promote Mauritius as an International Arbitration Centre.
13. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Fisheries and Rodrigues would, henceforth, be the Competent Authority for the issue of health certificates for the export of fish and fish products to the European Union. The Fisheries and Marine Resources (Export of Fish and Fish Products) Regulations would be amended accordingly.
14. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Tourism and Leisure to France and Russia with a view to further consolidating the position and image of Mauritius in the European market. In France, the Minister attended the Top Resa Fair, a leading annual event for the travel and tourism industry, and launched the Divine Ile Maurice campaign. In the margins of the Fair, the Minister of Tourism and Leisure met Mr Herve Novelli, Secrétaire d'Etat au Tourisme of France and had discussions with Mr Didier Robert, President of the Conseil Régional of Reunion Island on the question of visa and the implementation of the Iles Vanille project in the Indian Ocean. He also had working sessions with officials of Air France and Corsair fly. He participated in the Prize Giving ceremony of the Vivendi Cup, an international golf competition organised at Golf Joyenval near Paris where he informed of the organisation in November/December 2010 of the Mauritius Golf Masters.
In Russia, the Minister of Tourism and Leisure had a working session with Mrs Natalya Pechinkina, Director of International Department of Transaero Airline, and it was agreed that Transaero Airline would establish its direct flight to Mauritius as from 3 January 2011 and would explore possibilities of including Kenya/South Africa in the 10-day package in order to make the offer more attractive for Russian travellers.