1. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction in the National Assembly of the Equal Opportunities (Amendment) Bill which provides, inter alia, for the establishment of an Equal Opportunities Commission as a fully fledged, independent and dedicated body to be responsible for the implementation of the Equal Opportunities Act. The main objective of the Act is to eliminate any form of discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and good relations between persons of different status. The Equal Opportunities Commission shall be chaired by a judge, a magistrate or a law practitioner with not less than 10 years’ experience, and comprise three other members to be appointed by the President of the Republic on the advice of the Prime Minister. One of the members shall be a person who has been a law practitioner for not less than five years and the other members having knowledge and experience in the fields of law, employment, industrial relations, sociology or administration. The Act is also being amended to provide for the Tribunal established under the Equal Opportunities Act to hear and determine a complaint only when the person has waived his right to initiate civil proceedings before any Court in Mauritius in respect of the facts that form the subject matter of the complaint.
2. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction in the National Assembly of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill to provide for a minimum number of candidates for election to local authorities to be of a particular sex with a view to ensuring adequate representation of each sex on a local authority.
3. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction in the National Assembly of the Local Government Bill which repeals and replaces the existing legislation so as to reform the law relating to Local Government. The new legislation makes better provision for the establishment of democratically elected local authorities with sufficient autonomy to manage the local affairs of their respective areas, and provide such services and facilities that will ensure the economic and social well-being of the local communities in an ecologically sustainable manner.
4. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction in the National Assembly of the Education (Amendment) Bill which amends the Education Act to –
(a) extend the ban on additional tuition to pupils in Standard IV in primary schools;
(b) enable the Minister of Education and Human Resources to approve the conduct of the Enhancement Programme or any other programme in schools to enhance innovative teaching and learning experiences, and to promote the integral development of pupils; and
(c) regulate the provision of additional tuition to pupils in Standards V to VI or attending a secondary school by providing for the registration of teachers wishing to provide such additional tuition and make appropriate regulations.
5. Cabinet has taken note that the High Level Project Monitoring Unit, set up under the chairmanship of the Secretary to Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service to ensure prompt implementation of policies and projects of Government, has reviewed 15 development projects worth Rs60 billion and cleared 6 projects worth Rs25 billion. The Unit has also identified major institutional obstacles to doing business in Mauritius and in the implementation of Government policies and proposed remedial actions so that the relevant organizations can expedite their process for a coordinated and professional approach to handling projects. The projects cleared by the Unit relate to the Water, Health and ICT Sectors. The Unit took stock of progress made in the reform of the Water Sector undertaken by the Singapore Corporation Enterprise and projects underway to increase storage capacity and ensure reduced stress on water supply capacity. In the Health Sector, the Unit reviewed the implementation of the Clinical Trials Act. The Unit also reviewed the implementation of e-Government Projects and appointed a sub-committee to make recommendations on ways and means to make the e-Government concept more focused, effective and customer-oriented.
6. In the wake of the current global financial crisis and challenges facing the Mauritian economy, Cabinet has agreed to the setting up of a Joint Public-Private Sector Business Facilitation Task Force to further improve ease-of-doing business, identify and eliminate weaknesses encountered by businesses, and put in place the right conditions for attracting investment and enhancing trade with a view to positioning Mauritius as an attractive business location.
7. Cabinet has agreed to an Amusement With Prizes machine, whether fully assembled or in knocked down condition, being included in the list of controlled goods requiring an import permit.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Gambling Regulatory Authority has been instructed not to issue any licence for Amusement With Prizes machines until further notice.
8. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Local Government and Outer Islands would promulgate the Statutory Bodies Family Protection Fund (Personal Loan Scheme) Regulations to provide for the setting up of a scheme to give loans or financial assistance to associates of the Fund for personal expenses on such terms and conditions as may be determined by the Statutory Bodies Family Protection Board.
9. Cabinet has taken note that water and waste water charges, including abstraction of ground water and water used for bottling and manufacturing of soft drinks would be reviewed. The review would be effective as from January 2012 but payable as from February 2012. The review would not affect some 98,000 households consuming water not exceeding 10m3 per month.
10. Cabinet has taken note that a National Platform to End Gender-Based Violence would be launched on 19 October 2011. The National Platform, set up in line with the commitment undertaken by the Indian Ocean Commission to achieve gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, aims, amongst others, at -
(a) providing logistic support for the elaboration of judicial instruments and mechanisms to address gender-based violence;
(b) sustaining national campaigns against gender-based violence;
(c) encouraging media to develop Code of Ethics when addressing gender-based violence; and
(d) setting up an observatory for gender-based violence.
11. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade and the Minister of Economy of the Republic of Turkey signed the Mauritius-Turkey Free Trade Agreement on 9 September 2011. The Agreement provides, inter alia, for -
(a) the promotion of expansion of trade through the harmonious development of the economic relations;
(b) the gradual elimination of hindrances and restrictions on trade in goods; and
(c) the removal of barriers to trade for a harmonious development and expansion of world trade.
The Free Trade Agreement will also allow cumulation in the application of rules of origin with third countries that have signed Free Trade Agreement with Turkey. Mauritius will have the possibility to source raw materials from those countries and process them into finished products that can be exported to Turkey.
12. Cabinet has taken note of development in the restructuring of the service providing institutions in the Sugar Sector following a reduction in cess.
13. Cabinet has taken note of development in the review exercise of the Agricultural Services of the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security, in line with Government Programme 2010-2015, with a view to making it more responsive to the exigencies of a modern agro-industrial sector. A mission from the FAO conducted an institutional analysis and diagnosis of the Agricultural Services and recommended that the role and organisation of the Agricultural Services be redefined taking into account the nature of its public mission and the role it should play in the development of the Agricultural Sector in the current economic context.
14. Cabinet has taken note of activities that would be organized by the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions, in collaboration with the Loïs Lagesse Trust Fund, the Lizie dan la Main and the Old Visually Impaired Students Association on the occasion of the White Cane Day commemorated on 15 October 2011, viz., -
(a) une Marche de Solidarité from NPF building Rose Hill to Plaza;
(b) an exhibition of products made by blind artisans; and
(c) a cultural programme by artists with disabilities.
15. Cabinet has taken note of measures being taken by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life to control vector-borne diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, namely -
(a) intensive awareness campaign on mosquito control;
(b) regular larviciding of regions with high mosquito population density; and
(c) strengthening of surveillance at the port and the airport of passengers arriving from high risk zones.
16. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the International ICT/BPO Conference and Networking Forum held in Mauritius on 5 and 6 October 2011. The objectives of the Conference were to showcase to the international stakeholders the achievements and capabilities of the ICT Sector to become a regional hub and a preferred ICT Centre of Excellence.
In the margins of the Conference, the Minister of Information and Communication Technology signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with Hewlett Packard (HP) for collaboration between HP and the ICT Academy and a Memorandum of Understanding with the Republic of Namibia for cooperation in the field of ICT.
17. Cabinet has taken note that a delegation led by Mr Patrice Gantier, Team Leader from World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) is currently evaluating the performance of the Veterinary Services of the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security with respect to its compliance with the OIE International Standards. The aim of the mission is to determine concrete actions to correct gaps, prioritize activities, quantify the needs and investments for the allocation of an indicative budget to address the compliance to the OIE International Standards.
18. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology to Japan where he participated in the Eighth Annual Meeting of the Science and Technology in Society Forum. The Meeting considered issues pertaining, amongst others, to Energy and Environment, Nuclear Safety and Future Development, Science and Technology and the Future of Mankind.
In the margins of the Meeting, the Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology had bilateral meetings with, amongst others, -
(a) Dr Ashwani Kumar, Minister of Planning, Science and Technology and Earth Sciences of India, who agreed to assist in the promotion of science; and
(b) Miss Marijke Wahlers, Head of International Department, German Rectors’ Conference, responsible for overseeing German Universities, who agreed to assist in the setting up of an Institute of Technology, in collaboration with German Universities.
19. Cabinet has taken note of the constitution of the Board of the Institute for Judicial and Legal Studies with the Hon Mrs Ah Foon Chui Yew Cheong, Puisne Judge as Chairperson. The Institute aims at promoting proficiency and ensuring the maintenance of standards in the Judiciary, among law practitioners and legal officers with a view to enhancing the justice system.
20. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the Probation Hostel for Boys Managing Committee with Mr Devanand Jooty as Chairperson.
21. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the manpower assessment exercise carried out in Rodrigues by the Ministry of Civil Service and Administrative Reforms with a view to determining the human resource needs of the Rodrigues Regional Assembly, ascertaining that human resources are performing duties as prescribed in the schemes of service and assessing whether the human resources are judiciously and fully utilized in terms of service delivery, allocation of duties and responsibilities.