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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Decisions taken on 26 November

Cabinet Decisions taken on 26 November

1. Cabinet has taken note that, as a result of the excellent track record in the implementation of Economic Reforms, the European Union has decided to allocate to Mauritius an amount of Euro139.6 million (approximately Rs6 billion) under the second tranche of the Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol for the period 2011-2013 to support the following priority areas of the reform programme:
(a) restructuring of the Sugar Industry into a sugar cane cluster;
(b) Maurice Ile Durable initiative, including sustainable development and renewable energy;
(c) socio-economic empowerment; and
(d) education.
An amount of Euro 127.5 million was allocated under the first tranche over a four-year period (2007-2010).

2. Cabinet has taken note of and agreed to the recommendations of the Ministerial Committee regarding the Ex-planters of Riche Terre Land Settlement.
Cabinet has also agreed to make the Noël/Ramkissoon Report on the Ex-planters of Riche Terre Land Settlement public.

3. Cabinet has taken note that, as from 1 December 2010, the tariffs of ADSL would be reduced as follows – 13% to 20% for residential customers and 2% to 10% for businesses.

4. Cabinet has taken note of the visit of HRH The Princess Royal to Mauritius from 1 to 4 December 2010 to mark the 1810 Capitulation Treaty. The Programme of the Visit includes -
(a) courtesy calls on the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister;
(b) unveiling of a monument at Bain Boeuf to commemorate the landing of British forces near Cap Malheureux;
(c) unveiling of a foundation plaque at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam National Cricket Grounds at Belle Vue;
(d) hosting of a “Blue Penny Ball” by the British High Commissioner at the State House;
(e) holding of the race “Princess Royal Cup”; and
(f) launching of a book on Kaleidoscopic Conquest: Untold Stories of the Mascarenes by Dr Marina Carter, renowned British Historian.

5. Cabinet has taken note that HE Mr Hui Liangyu, Vice-Premier of the People’s Republic of China and Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee would visit Mauritius from 7 to 9 January 2011. He would pay courtesy calls, amongst others, on the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister and hold a working session with the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Economic Development. During the visit, the Chinese side would sign an agreement on a grant of about RMB30 million.

6. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of The Clinical Trials Bill, which provides for the legal framework for the conduct of clinical trials for the purpose of discovering or verifying the effects of investigational medicinal products. The Bill also provides for the setting up of –
(a) the Clinical Research Regulatory Council which would be responsible for the issue, amendment, extension, review, suspension or cancellation of trial licences;
(b) the Pharmacovigilance Committee which would collect, analyse and classify information on adverse events and adverse reactions in relation to subjects involved in clinical trials; and
(c) the Ethics Committee which would give an opinion on any proposal to start a clinical trial and advise the Clinical Research Regulatory Council on the health, welfare, safety and protection of subjects in clinical trials.

7. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Local Government (Amendment) Bill which amends the Local Government Act 1989 and the Local Government Act 2003 to provide for, amongst others, –
(a) the election of councillors of local authorities to be held in 2011 instead of 2010;
(b) the extension of the mandate of municipal, district and village councillors, currently in office, until 2011; and
(c) the election of the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor of each municipal council and the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairperson of each district and village council to be held between 13 and 17 December 2010.

8. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Education and Human Resources and the Délégation Interministérielle à l’Education Numérique en Afrique (DIENA) would sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of the “Sankoré Project” in Mauritius. The Project aims at digitizing education in the Primary Education Sector, the Secondary Education Sector and the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Sector and the creation of a “Learning Factory” at the Mauritius Institute of Education and the Mauritius Institute of Training and Development. DIENA would, annually, donate 300 interactive projectors and 300 “tablettes PC - touch screen type” to equip classrooms during a period of four to five years as from 2011. The Project would also help satisfy the growing demand for an enhanced teaching/learning process though the harnessing of ICT in education and make Mauritius an important e-learning platform for both Francophone and Anglophone Africa.

9. Cabinet has taken note of the Cyclone and Other Natural Disasters Scheme for the Cyclone Season 2010-2011, which sets out the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder in the general preparedness, and action to be taken before, during and in the aftermath of a cyclone, torrential rain, landslide and tsunami.
Cabinet has also taken note that, following the intervention of Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam, GCSK, FRCP, Prime Minister, during his visit to France in September 2010, the French Prime Minister had agreed to provide assistance for the setting up of a Disaster Management Centre on the same lines as that of Reunion Island. Arrangements are now being finalized to make the Centre operational next year. Moreover, on an invitation of the Prime Minister, the Director of Nanyang Technological University of Singapore would shortly visit Mauritius to undertake a complete risk assessment for Mauritius and Rodrigues in the event of a tsunami.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Drains Management Committee has established a programme of work for the timely maintenance of drains.
The approved list of names of cyclones for Cyclone Season 2010-2011 are as follows –
Abele Naledi
Bingiza Onani
Cherono Paulette
Dalilou Qiloane
Elvire Rafaël
Françis Stella
Giladi Tari
Haingo Unjaty
Igor Vita
Jani Willy
Khabonina Ximène
Lumbo Yasmine
Maina Zama

10. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Education and Human Resources has made additional arrangements to facilitate and increase access to educational institutions by children with Special Education Needs, aged between 5 and 20 years, in line with Government's policy to provide equal and equitable opportunities to all children, viz., -
(a) persuade and encourage parents to register their wards initially in the nearest primary school for subsequent admission to the appropriate school/institution so as to increase the enrolment of children with Special Education Needs;
(b) set up a Special Education Needs Unit at the Early Childhood Care and Education Authority to ensure early detection and diagnosis of disability in children;
(c) set up Special Education Needs Resource and Development Centres at Beau Bassin, Central Flacq, Ferney, Rivière des Anguilles and in the north, which would act as a one-stop-shop to provide support services to children with Special Education Needs; and
(d) mount special training programmes with the assistance of international partners for the continuous professional development of teachers.

11. Cabinet has taken note that Mauritius was awarded first place in the Country Brands for Tourism of FutureBrand Index 2010. Mauritius is ahead of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Thailand. The FutureBrand 2010 Country Brand Index was presented at the recent World Travel Market in partnership with BBC World News. The study of country brands assesses 110 countries. 3,400 international business and leisure travellers from 14 countries participated in the survey.

12. Cabinet has taken note that, according to the last statistical bulletin, 733,996 tourists visited Mauritius during the period January to October 2010 as compared to 689,082 in the corresponding period in 2009, i.e., an increase of 6.5%. During the month of October 2010, some 87,340 tourists visited Mauritius as compared to 80,197 in October 2009, i.e., an increase of 8.9%. Growth has been registered in the following tourist markets: France (+14.6%), Belgium (+11.8%), Switzerland (+15.2%), Germany (+5.2%), Italy(+3.2%), India (+23.9%), Russia (+35.1%), Reunion Island (+15.0%) and Republic of South Africa (+12.5%). However, a decline was recorded in the number of tourists from the UK (-5.2%).

13. Cabinet has taken note that Justice P. Lam Shang Leen has been elected Member of the Sub-committee on the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, established under the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

14. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Health and Quality of Life would promulgate the Public Health (Prohibition on Advertisement, Sponsorship and Restriction on Sale and Consumption in Public Places of Alcoholic Drinks) (Amendment) Regulations to prohibit a person to distribute or cause to be distributed, free of charge, any alcoholic drink to a minor in a public place. The current legislation already makes provisions for the prohibition of sale of alcoholic drinks to a child or a person below the age of 18.

15. Cabinet has taken note that the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority has created a label which would be applicable to all products of small and medium enterprises to facilitate the identification of genuine Mauritian products manufactured by small and medium enterprises. The label would be launched on 30 November 2010.

16. Cabinet has taken note of the status in the implementation of the Land Administration, Valuation and Information Management System Project, which aims at optimizing land resources, managing and maintaining the Cadastral System and promoting, developing and contributing to the development of an integrated spatial reference database on land tenure, land transactions and ownerships.

17. Cabinet has taken note of the status in the implementation of the National Assessment at Form III piloted in 33 secondary schools this year. The Assessment, which was carried out in line with the Education and Human Resource Strategy Plan 2008-2020, was to evaluate the competencies acquired by students after three years of secondary schooling. It was also an opportunity for teachers to identify their academic strengths and weaknesses and take timely corrective measures. The Ministry of Education and Human Resources is currently carrying out an evaluation of the Assessment exercise to fine-tune the modalities for the 2011 Assessment. It is proposed to extend the Assessment in all schools as from 2012.

18. Cabinet has taken note of the successful implementation of the Enhancement Programme at Standard IV. The Programme, which was implemented in line with the Education and Human Resources Strategy Plan 2008-2020, aimed at reviewing the current policy on private tuition at Standard IV, reducing the end-of-primary-cycle failure rates and improving performance and quality standard. The Programme covers pedagogical aspects of Standard IV curriculum, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities to render the learning process of pupils more enriching and provides opportunities to children to unleash their hidden talents and potential to gain recognition therefrom.
Cabinet has further taken note that, in 2011, the Enhancement Programme would be extended to pupils of Standard III.

19. Cabinet has taken note that the Automatic Pricing Mechanism exercise scheduled for 3 December 2010 would be frozen pending the review of the method for determining the price of petroleum products. The current price for petroleum products would, therefore, be maintained until the finalisation of the new pricing formula.

20. Cabinet has agreed to Mauritius hosting the 18th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers in 2012. The main objective of the Conference is to discuss critical issues relating to education and to broaden the Commonwealth goals of development, democracy and human rights as set out in the Commonwealth Secretariat Strategic Plan.

21. Cabinet has taken note that the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) Representative Global Meeting would be held in Mauritius from 29 November to 3 December 2010. The Meeting would consider realities and experience in industrial development, including joint action within the wider UN System. Some 50 UNIDO representatives from African, Arab, Asian, Pacific, Latin American and the Caribbean countries would attend the Meeting.

22. Cabinet has taken note of activities that would be organised by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, in collaboration with the National AIDS Secretariat of the Prime Minister’s Office and other stakeholders, in the context of the World AIDS Day observed on 1 December 2010, viz., –
(a) exhibition at the Port Louis Waterfront;
(b) voluntary counselling and testing facilities through a Mobile Caravan;
(c) a half-day workshop at Chemin Grenier Youth Centre with the collaboration of the National Agency for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Substance Abusers (NATReSA); and
(d) sensitization campaigns in different regions of the country.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Rodrigues AIDS Secretariat would organize a poster competition and a march from Queen Elizabeth Hospital to Port Mathurin, followed by a public gathering to sensitise the population on HIV and AIDS.
The theme selected by the World Health Organisation to mark the World AIDS Day is Stop AIDSKeep the Promise and the focus for this year is on the slogan Universal Access and Human Rights.

23. Cabinet has taken note of activities that would be organised by the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions in the context of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities observed on 3 December 2010, viz., -
(a) Rencontre for placement and employment of persons with disabilities;
(b) Get together for disabled students who have completed their Higher School Certificate, as well as tertiary education at the esplanade of Renganaden Seeneevassen Building, Port Louis;
(c) sensitization campaigns on the employability of persons with disabilities;
(d) workshop on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
(e) cultural programme and exhibition by artists with disabilities; and
(f) fun day focussing on talents and abilities of disabled persons.
The theme chosen for this year is “Mainstreaming Disability in the Millennium Development Goals towards 2015”.

24. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the Hindi Speaking Union, would hold an International Conference on Indentured Diaspora from 3 to 5 December 2010 at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute, Moka on the theme Safeguarding Hindi and Indian Culture. The objective of the Conference is to take stock of progress made by the Indentured Diaspora countries in the field of Hindi language and to devise ways and means to promote the language in a multi-cultural set-up with modern means of communications. Delegates from Fiji, Guyana, Holland, South Africa and Mauritius would participate in the Conference.

25. Cabinet has taken note of activities that would be organised by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, in collaboration with the National Computer Board, to mark the Computer Security Day 2010 observed on 30 November, viz., -
(a) holding of a Cyber Security Conference focussing on Cyber Security, Internet Governance, Information Security Risk Management for Corporations, and Attacks and Vulnerabilities;
(b) exhibition to demonstrate the computer security-based products; and
(c) training programmes by the Standardization, Testing and Quality Certification Directorate, Department of Information Technology, India, on Secure Software Development Practices, Implementation of ISO 27001 and Auditing of ISO 27001.

26. Cabinet has taken note of the status in the implementation of the Mauritius National Identity Card Project. The Mauritius National Identity Card, also known as Smart Card, would provide secure electronic identification and allow the capture of biometric data, thus fencing off any possibility of counterfeiting, tampering or duplicating the cards.

27. Cabinet has taken note of development in strengthening the Computer Emergency Response Team - Mauritius (CERT-MU) with a view to consolidating computer security readiness in Mauritius. CERT-MU has, since its operation, been holding regular information security awareness workshops, disseminating vulnerability notes, advisories and security alerts to e-mail subscribers and through the CERT-MU website and promoting Information Security Standards at national level.

28. Cabinet has taken note of the status in the implementation of the Government Fibre Network Project by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology using the Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Network, which aims at enhancing internet connections for better efficiency in Government operations and for a better public service delivery.

29. Cabinet has taken note that the fees charged by the National Archives Department for the inspection of records would be increased to reflect the economic reality. The fees was last revised in 2002.

30. Cabinet has taken note that, in line with the Market Segment Diversification Strategy of the Ministry of Tourism and Leisure, various initiatives have been taken to promote Mauritius as a wedding destination.