1. Following the conferment, in April 2010, by the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to both Mauritius and the Seychelles of jurisdiction over an area of 396,000 sq km of extended Continental Shelf in the Mascarene Plateau Region, Cabinet has agreed to Government entering into Agreements with the Republic of Seychelles for the joint management of this vast expanse of sea and the establishment of the joint jurisdiction of Mauritius and the Seychelles. The joint submission, finalized by the two Island States, is the first of its kind anywhere in the world. The Agreement addresses all issues relating to the joint management of the area, including exploration of its living and non-living resources, taxation codes, investment and revenue. The Agreement would be signed by Dr the Honourable Navinchandra Ramgoolam, GCSK, FRCP, Prime Minister, and the President of the Republic of Seychelles later this year.
2. Cabinet has taken note that the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Economic Development would present Budget 2012 in the National Assembly on Friday
4 November 2011, i.e., two weeks earlier than last year. The Vice-Prime Minister is currently completing discussions with his colleagues Ministers on the Programme-Based Budget Strategic Plan.
3. Cabinet has taken note of the status in the implementation of the Crime Occurrence Tracking System by the Mauritius Police Force. In line with the vision of Government to ensure the safety and security of people, the Mauritius Police Force is implementing a Crime Occurrence Tracking System to closely monitor crime occurrences over the country. The System will provide information and statistics on crimes on a real-time basis. The first phase of the project is expected to be operational in November 2011.
4. Cabinet has taken note of the Report on a Study on Non-Tariff Barriers in Mauritius. The objective of the Study was to assess the situation regarding Non-Tariff Barriers and to make recommendations for their streamlining or elimination with a view to improving trade competitiveness. The main recommendations of the Study are, inter alia,-
(a) the establishment of an autonomous Mauritius Food Safety Agency that would have the competence and jurisdiction in all matters of food safety, including pre-market approval for imports and domestic production;
(b) the Ministry of Fisheries and Rodrigues to act as the Single Window for Application for the import of fish, including chilled and frozen; and
(c) the non-requirement of an import permit on certain products, such as fish, milk, potatoes, onions, shallots and garlic.
5. Cabinet has taken note of the status in the implementation of the e-Procurement Project as agreed upon with the Government of Andhra Pradesh. Given that the
e-procurement system of the Government of Andhra Pradesh has earned worldwide reputation and won several awards, including the prestigious UN Public Service Award for 2007, an agreement had been entered into for the sharing of its e-procurement platform. The introduction of the e-procurement system will, inter alia, allow –
(a) drastic reduction in the number of non-compliant bids;
(b) significant reduction in advertisement costs;
(c) reduction in the procurement cycle time;
(d) greater sharing of knowledge and experience;
(e) enhanced competition; and
(f) reduction of corrupt practices.
6. Cabinet has taken note of the launching of the second edition of the Planters Excellence Award Scheme by the Small Planters Welfare Fund, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security. The Award will concern vegetable, fruit, tobacco, sugar cane, flower, and tea growers and the hydroponics sector of Mauritius and Rodrigues. In the second edition, a prize will also be awarded to the best young planter.
7. Cabinet has taken note that, according to the last statistical bulletin, 609,503 tourists visited Mauritius during the period January to August 2011, as compared to 581,252 for the corresponding period in 2010, i.e., an increase of 4.9%. During the month of August 2011, some 66,865 tourists visited Mauritius as compared to 65,093 in August 2010, i.e., an increase of 2.7%. Growth has been registered in the following tourist markets:
Germany (+15.1%), Spain (+35.2%), Italy (+3.5%), CIS (+41.9%), India (+5.2%), China (+285.4%) and South Africa (+21.6%).
8. Cabinet has taken note of the status in the implementation of the School Child Protection Club project based on the recommendations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The School Child Protection Club, launched on 2 September 2010, provides for a structured platform to develop skills and competencies to curtail and combat violence against children within school premises and also to empower the child on ways to contribute towards the creation of a violence-free and child-friendly environment conducive for the overall development of the child.
9. Cabinet has taken note of the performance of the Export-Oriented Enterprises Sector, based on provisional export data, for the period January to July 2011 as compared to the corresponding period in 2010. The value of exports of the Export-Oriented Enterprises Sector increased from Rs22.37 billion to Rs24.18 billion, i.e., by 8.1%. Increase in the value of exports has been recorded in the following sub-sectors –
|Textile and Clothing
|Clothing Sub-Sector (Pullovers and Cardigans, T-Shirts, Shirts and Trousers)
|Textile Yarns and Fabrics
|Pearls and Precious Stones
|Watches and Clocks
Exports to the United Kingdom, France and the USA, main export markets, recorded an increase of 5.9%, 11.6% and 7.0% respectively. Exports in the region, particularly South Africa (16.7%) and Madagascar (22.6%), have recorded an increase.
10. Cabinet has taken note that the Salon de l’Entreprise, organized by the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority at the Swami Vivekananda International Convention Centre from 1 to 4 September 2011, enlisted the participation of 104 local enterprises and attracted over 50,000 visitors. The Fair aimed at improving the sales of local entrepreneurs, increasing their visibility and boosting the SME Sector to enable it to contribute to the economy. The support institutions seized the opportunity to provide business advice and counselling to potential and existing entrepreneurs. The Ministry of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives is currently redefining its strategic objectives in order to be more proactive and responsive to the demands of local entrepreneurs.
11. Cabinet has taken note that the Joint Meeting of Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors of the Southern African Development Community would be held in Mauritius from 12 to 16 October 2011. On the occasion, the IMF sponsored Africa Regional Technical Assistance Centre (AFRITAC) South, based in Mauritius at the Bank of Mauritius, would be formally opened on 17 October 2011. The main objective of AFRITAC South is to provide the 13 SADC member countries technical assistance in areas related to economic and financial management. Some 90 delegates from SADC Member States are expected to attend the Meeting.
12. Cabinet has taken note that, taking into consideration the situation in the Tobacco Sector with the closing down of the BAT, the Tobacco Board proposes to hold discussions with its employees for the implementation of a Mutually Agreed Retirement Scheme. The Retirement Scheme will be implemented only if the employees are agreeable, on a voluntary basis and on agreed beneficial terms.
13. Cabinet has agreed to the signing of a Technical Assistance Framework Agreement with the World Bank with a view to facilitating the provision of quality and just-in-time specialized technical assistance to identify and design reforms to unlock the development potential of the country and to draw upon World Bank expertise in areas where there is a lack of required skills.
14. Cabinet has taken note that, as part of the efforts to position Mauritius as a knowledge hub and a preferred training and capacity building location in Africa, Mauritius has hosted the Regional Multidisciplinary Centre of Excellence and the African Technical Assistance Centre (AFRITAC) South.
Cabinet has further taken note that, with a view to furthering the knowledge hub project, the IMF Institute has agreed to formalize existing collaboration for the setting up of an African Centre for Economics and Finance. In this context, the IMF Institute, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Regional Multidisciplinary Centre for Excellence, would organize a Regional Course on Monetary and Exchange Rate Policies in Mauritius from 10 to 21 October 2011. About 30 officials from SADC Central Banks are expected to attend the Course.
15. Cabinet has taken note that the Department of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission would hold a Consultative Meeting on the African Charter on the Values and Principles of Public Service and Administration in Mauritius from 15 to 16 September 2011. The Charter aims at, inter alia, ensuring quality and innovative service delivery that meets the requirements of users, and promoting moral values inherent in the activities of public service agencies with a view to ensuring a transparent service delivery. The Consultative Meeting would be attended by some 25 delegates from African Ministerial Conferences, African Union Organs, Regional Economic Communities, Public Service Commissions, National Human Rights Institutions and Trade Union Associations.
16. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade to Angola where he participated in the 31st Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community. The Summit -
(a) reviewed the political and socio-economic situation in the region;
(b) endorsed proposals in the Report on the SADC Maritime Security Strategy; and
(c) discussed regional economic integration, climate change and the famine situation in Somalia.
In the margins of the Summit, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade had bilateral discussions, inter alia, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Angola on the setting up of a Cooperation Framework between Mauritius and Angola covering, amongst others, agriculture, tourism and health sectors.
17. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements being made to provide landfilling space beyond April 2012 at Mare Chicose Landfill.
18. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the Tobacco Board with Mr Rishi Kumar Choony, MSK, as Chairperson.