1. Cabinet has taken note of the programme of the State Visit of HE Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil, President of the Republic of India, from 24 to 28 April 2011. She would lead a delegation comprising a Minister and three Members of Parliament. About 50 members of the Indian Business Community would also accompany her on the trip. During her visit, HE Smt. Patil would, inter alia, -
(a) pay a courtesy call on the President of the Republic;
(b) have a meeting with the Prime Minister;
(c) address the National Assembly at its Sitting on 26 April 2011;
(d) lay wreaths at the SSR Memorial, SSR Botanic Garden, and the Aapravasi Ghat;
(e) address the Business Community; and
(f) visit the Ganga Talao, Le Morne World Heritage Site and the Mahatma Gandhi Institute, Moka.
2. Cabinet has taken note of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Mauritius and the International Monetary Fund providing for the establishment in Mauritius of the Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center South (AFRITAC South). The Centre would provide technical assistance to countries in Southern Africa for developing and implementing capacity building programmes in several areas, such as macroeconomic policy, macro-fiscal policy, and public financial management. The setting up of AFRITAC South in Mauritius is in line with Government’s objective to transform Mauritius into a knowledge hub. The Centre, which will work closely with the Regional Multidisciplinary Centre of Excellence and the African Centre for Economic Transformation, will act as a vehicle to export our expertise in public sector management to the rest of Africa. Moreover, Mauritius would benefit from technical assistance free of cost.
3. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Ilois Welfare Fund (Amendment) Bill, which aims at amending the Ilois Welfare Fund Act to replace the word “Ilois” by the word “Chagossian” to better reflect the place of origin of the Chagossian Community and to give them their due status in the Mauritian society.
4. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Chinese- Speaking Union Bill, which provides for the establishment, operation and management of the Chinese-Speaking Union. The objects of the Union are, inter alia, to promote the Chinese language in all its forms, foster friendship and understanding between Chinese-speaking peoples of the world and engage in educational, academic, cultural and artistic works to further its objectives.
5. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Health and Quality of Life would promulgate the Food (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations to realign the food standards with the latest version of the Codex Alimentarius and to revise the laboratory fees relating to the analysis and the testing of food samples.
6. Cabinet has taken note that, with a view to ensuring quality and availability of a secured 24/7 online service, the National Computer Board has developed mobile operations (m-services) aiming at enhancing interaction between citizens and Ministries/Departments and ensuring a faster response time for queries. Mobile services have, so far, been developed for the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, the National Transport Authority and the Local Government Service Commission.
7. Cabinet has taken note of the various measures taken by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life to improve the quality of health care delivery regarding diabetes, given the high rate of diabetes among the population. The Ministry has, amongst others, -
(a) set up a fully equipped Diabetes and Vascular Health Centre at Souillac; Podiatry Services at Victoria Hospital and at the Diabetes and Vascular Health Centre; a National Retinal Screening Service in each health region, as well as in Rodrigues; and a National Diabetes Register;
(b) implemented the Nutrition Action Plan;
(c) launched the Physical Activity Action Plan; and
(d) conducted researches in the field with the assistance of experts, namely Prof. D. Owens from the University of Cardiff, Dr M. Walker and Prof. Yellon from the University College London Hospital, Sir George Alberti from the University of Newcastle, UK and Prof. Tuomilehto from the University of Helsinki, Finland.
8. Cabinet has taken note of the performance of the Export-Oriented Enterprises Sector for the period January to February 2011 as compared to the corresponding period in 2010. The value of exports of the Export-Oriented Enterprises increased from Rs5.26 billion to Rs6.16 billion, i.e., by 17.2%. Increase in the value of exports in the sub-sectors was as follows:
|Textile and Clothing
|Clothing Sub-sector (Pullovers and Cardigans,
T-Shirts, Shirts and Trousers)
|Textile Yarns and Fabrics
|Fish and Fish Preparations
|Pearls and Precious Stones
|Watches and Clocks
|Toys, Games and Sporting Goods
Cabinet has also taken note that the United Kingdom, France and the USA, the main export markets, recorded an increase of 9.8%, 32.6% and 9.5% respectively.
9. Cabinet has agreed to the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions reviewing the policy for domiciliary medical visits to bedridden senior citizens aged 75 years and above, and senior citizens above 90 years with a view to providing an additional visit in case of sickness, and making the system more efficient.
10. Cabinet has agreed to the candidature of Mauritius for election to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice which develops, monitors and reviews the implementation of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme and facilitates the coordination of its activities.
11. Cabinet has agreed to Bras d’Eau and Mare Sarcelles Reserves being proclaimed as one National Park under the Wildlife and National Parks Act with a view to further protecting the reserves, which are habitats of a number of species of birds, such as the cave swiflets (Petite Hirondelle), the Mauritius grey white eye birds (Picpic), and the Flycatcher, a critically endangered endemic bird, and harbour a native orchid, the Onnelia Aphrodite.
12. Cabinet has taken note that, following the relocation of the Firing Range of the SMF from Candos to the vicinity of Midlands Dam, the tea planters and the metayers affected by the relocation would be paid a compensation as recommended by the Director, Valuation and Real Estate Consultancy Services.
13. Cabinet has agreed to the development of a consolidated Maurice Ile Durable (MID) Policy, a 10-year Strategy Plan and a 3-year Action Plan for the MID Project to pave the way for the sustainable development of Mauritius.
14. In line with Government’s programme to better protect consumer rights and interests, Cabinet has agreed to Consumer Protection legislation being reviewed to make provision for -
(a) consumer rights, including the freedom of consumers to associate and form groups to advocate and promote their common interest;
(b) standards of consumer information to ensure that consumers are well informed to benefit from and stimulate effective competition;
(c) the protection of consumers from hazards to their well-being and safety, and product liability;
(d) the prohibition of unfair terms in consumer contracts and business practices;
(e) the regulation of distance selling, doorstep selling and unsolicited consumer transactions; and
(f) the establishment and operation of a National Consumer Council, as well as the functions and powers of the Price Observatory.
15. Cabinet has taken note that the Commonwealth Secretariat would hold an International Workshop on the theme “Teachers’ and School Leaders’ Professional Standard Frameworks in Small States of the Commonwealth” in Mauritius from 9 to 13 May 2011. The objective of the Workshop is to provide an opportunity to participating countries to share and analyse existing frameworks relating to teachers’ and school leaders’ professional standards. Participants from Botswana, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Lesotho and Mauritius, as well as from some Asian countries, would attend the Workshop.
16. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade to Madagascar, where, as Chairperson of the Ministerial Committee of the Indian Ocean Commission, he led a delegation of the Commission to support the mediation process for a solution to the political crisis there and the transit process.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade also met the Mauritius Business Community in Madagascar.
17. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Housing and Lands to Saudi Arabia where he had discussions with the Saudi authorities on arrangements for Hajj Pilgrimage 2011. Following a request made by the Minister of Housing and Lands, the Saudi authorities would issue 500 visas in addition to the official quota of 1,300. The Minister also successfully negotiated with the Saudi airlines a 50% reduction in the Royalty.
18. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Tourism and Leisure to Reunion Island, the main tourist generating market in the region, where he launched a new promotional campaign, particularly, in the context of the promotion of ‘Iles Vanille’ concept. The Minister announced that, Air Mauritius would offer a discounted tariff with departure from Reunion Island on Friday and return on Sunday on a 300-seater carrier with 100 seats at the rate of 139 Euros, 100 seats at 159 Euros and 100 seats at 199 Euros on a first come first served basis. The tariff would be effective from 1 June 2011. The Minister of Tourism and Leisure had meetings with representatives of the press and tour operators. He had a working session with “Ile Réunion Tourisme” where he discussed, inter alia, -
(a) the development of the appropriate circuit for the combined Mauritius and Reunion product;
(b) the need for a proper packaging for the appropriate Chinese product to be promoted in Shanghai in May 2011, in the context of the forthcoming operation of Air Mauritius from Shanghai in July 2011; and
(c) increase in frequency of trips of Costa Romantica in the region.
In the margins of his mission, the Minister had meetings, amongst others, with Mr Didier Robert, Président du Conseil Régional, and the Mayor of St. Pierre. He was also the Guest of Honour at the Flag Raising Ceremony at the Consulate of Mauritius.
19. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Tourism and Leisure to Rodrigues. The Minister met stakeholders in the Tourism Industry with whom he discussed the promotion of Rodrigues and development of the industry in Rodrigues, with particular emphasis to flight connections and inclusion of Rodrigues in the ‘Vanilla Island’ concept, and training of Rodriguans in the hospitality sector. During his mission, the Minister of Tourism and Leisure visited the François Leguat Nature Reserve and “Couzoupa”, a marine protected area.
20. Cabinet has taken note of the recent mission of the Minister of Information and Communication Technology to France, where he participated in the 15th Edition of the Salon Européen des Centres d’Appel, one of the major annual exhibitions in the Call Centre and Business Process Outsourcing Sector. In the margins of his mission, the Minister of Information and Communication Technology had meetings with representatives of Syntec Informatique, a major ICT Industry association in France and the ‘118 218” Telephony Information Service Provider, as well as potential ICT business partners.
21. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Fisheries and Rodrigues to the Seychelles where he participated in the Second Tuna Conference which had as theme “2011 Taking Stock”. The Conference focused on the evaluation of the current status and the latest scientific data on tuna with a view to further strengthening the management and sustainability of the tuna resources in the Indian Ocean as spelt out in the First Tuna Conference held in February 2010.
Cabinet has further taken note that, following the intervention of Mauritius, it was agreed that a round table, comprising Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, Greenpeace, Member States and the industry, be set up to address the issue of fishing techniques for yellowfin tuna in order to control the fishing of small size tuna.
The Minister of Fisheries and Rodrigues also addressed the “Cellule de Coordination Régionale (CCR) Elargie” Meeting of the Indian Ocean Commission, which discussed the “Plan Régional de Surveillance des Pêches dans le Sud-Ouest de L’Océan Indien”.
22. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of –
(a) the Non-Governmental Organisation Trust Fund Committee with
Mr Dunputh Khoosye as Chairperson;
(b) the Board of the Fishermen Welfare Fund with Mr Philippe Etienne as Chairperson;
(c) the Boiler and Machinery Inspectors Board with Mr Radhakrishna Vassoodaven as Chairperson; and
(d) the Fishermen Investment Trust with Mr Jyh Guang (Gilbert) Shu as Chairperson.
Cabinet has also taken note of the reconstitution of the Board of Trustees of the Trade Union Trust Fund.