1. Cabinet has agreed to the income support allocated to about 90,000 beneficiaries of Social Aid and Hardship cases being doubled in view of the recent increase in the prices of basic commodities. The monthly rate would, henceforth, be Rs246 per head.
2. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements made for the implementation of the Water Tank Grant Scheme, as announced in 2011 Budget Speech, to assist low income families to purchase a water tank of not less than 400 litres capacity. Eligible families would benefit from a cash grant of Rs3,000 under the Scheme.
3. Cabinet has agreed to the setting up of a Ministerial Committee to look into the pricing of essential commodities. The Committee would comprise –
(a) the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment;
(b) the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Economic Development;
(c) the Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security;
(d) the Minister of Industry and Commerce;
(e) the Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology; and
(f) the Minister of Business, Enterprise, Cooperatives and Consumer Protection.
4. Cabinet has taken note that, following concerns raised by the inhabitants of Bambous region, the waste water pumping station, being constructed at Bambous, would be displaced further away from the existing site.
5. Cabinet has taken note of the status in the grant of building site leases to the 59 Agaleans as agreed by Government in 2008. 47 Agaleans have so far signed the lease agreement and the Ministry of Housing and Lands is making necessary arrangements to finalize pending cases.
6. Cabinet has taken note of measures being taken by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources to improve the quality of education provided to children with special education needs. The Ministry is organizing regular meetings with NGOs with a view to strengthening partnership for the development of the Special Education Needs Sector. Moreover, the Mauritius Institute of Education would mount specific training courses to equip the teaching staff with the necessary skills. The Ministry of Education and Human Resources is also exploring opportunities with foreign institutions for an in-depth study on issues relating to curriculum development, capacity building and the setting up of an appropriate structure for the Sector.
7. Cabinet has taken note that, according to the last statistical bulletin, 179,277 tourists visited Mauritius during the period January to February 2011 as compared to 164,223 in the corresponding period in 2010, i.e., an increase of 9.2%. During the month of February 2011, some 77,390 tourists visited Mauritius as compared to 72,366 in February 2010, i.e., an increase of 6.9%. Growth has been registered in the following tourist markets: France (+6.5%), Switzerland (+ 32.5%), Netherlands (+17.6%), Sweden (+14.3%), Austria (+6.4%), Spain (+5.0%), India (+35.0%), China (+23.6%), Russian Federation (+163.7%), Reunion Island (+5.4%) and Republic of South Africa (+15.2%).
Cabinet has further taken note that, for the year ended December 2010, tourist receipts amounted to Rs39,456M as compared to Rs35,693M in 2009, i.e., an increase of 10.5%.
8. Cabinet has agreed to the State Trading Corporation engaging in the construction of new storage facilities for gasoline and diesel at Mer Rouge to enhance security of supply of petroleum products.
9. Cabinet has taken note of the review of the Marking System for the award of the State of Mauritius Postgraduate Scholarships and of scholarships offered by donor countries. The University of Cambridge International Examinations has since 2010 introduced a new Grade A* at SC/GCE ‘O’ Level and HSC/GCE ‘A’ Level, which has a bearing on the marks allocated for the award/nomination of scholarships. Grade A* is the highest grade and carries the greatest weighting of marks.
10. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life would conduct a vaccination programme for health care workers; pregnant women; children aged between 6 and 24 months; persons with immune suppression, such as cancer, renal failure, HIV/AIDS; and persons with pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Some 140,000 persons would be covered by the programme.
11. Cabinet has taken note of the Report of a Case Control Study To Determine The Causes of Low Birth Weight in Mauritius, 2009. The Study aimed at identifying the risk factors associated with low birth weight in newborns and determining the percentage of preterm deliveries and congenital anomalies in low birth weight babies. In Mauritius, there has been an increase in the prevalence of low birth weight, i.e., from 13.0% in 2000 to 16.7% in 2009. The Study has revealed, among others, that 45.5% of babies born with a low birth weight were preterm, or of less than 37 weeks gestational age, and 2.4% were born with congenital abnormalities.
12. Cabinet has taken note that, in the context of the World Consumer Rights Day, the Minister of Business, Enterprise, Cooperatives and Consumer Protection would launch the fourth edition of Savoir Choisir Magazine.
13. Cabinet has taken note that the Meeting of the Project Steering Committee of the SADC Groundwater and Drought Management Project would be held in April 2011 in Mauritius. The aim of the Groundwater and Drought Management Project, which is part of the Regional Strategic Action Plan of SADC for water resources management, is to contribute to increased awareness and understanding of the management of groundwater with a view to mitigating the impact of drought through the incorporation of groundwater management principles into policy development and decision making. The object of the Meeting of the Steering Committee is to review and update stakeholders on developments in the implementation of the Project. Moreover, Mauritius would have the opportunity to showcase its groundwater governance and management system.
14. Cabinet has taken note of the activities that would be organized by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, in collaboration with the Ministry of Arts and Culture, the French Embassy, the Institut Français, the Alliance Française, and the University of Mauritius, to mark the Journée Internationale de la Francophonie, observed on 20 March, viz., -
(a) Semaine de la Francophonie et de la langue Française;
(b) Francophonie/Slam Poésie;
(c) Concours de dictée; and
(d) Francophonie humour et cinéma.
The theme chosen for this year is Jeunesse à l’honneur.
15. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the organization of the 18th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers to be held in Mauritius in August 2012.
16. Cabinet has taken note that the Commonwealth of Learning, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology, would hold the Regional Focal Points’ Meeting for Africa and the Mediterranean Region from 19 to 21 May 2011 in Mauritius. The objects of the Meeting are to share information on the status of Open and Distance Learning, and identify the regional education and training priorities that the Commonwealth of Learning would support. The Meeting would give an opportunity to Mauritius to showcase its strengths and targets in the field of Open and Distance Learning.
17. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Fisheries and Rodrigues would, on 31 March 2011, hold a National Workshop on the Draft Regional Strategy and Action Plan for the Conservation of Marine Ecosystems and Fisheries in the Western Indian Ocean Islands Marine Ecoregion (WIOMER) prepared under the Network of Marine Protected Areas of the Countries of the Indian Ocean Commission - NMPA-IOC Project. The Workshop aims at having consultations with stakeholders and making recommendations on the proposals made in the Regional Strategy and Action Plan.
18. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Economic Development to the Seychelles where he participated in the Ninth Session of the Seychelles-Mauritius Commission on Bilateral Cooperation. Mauritius and the Seychelles have agreed to work together on a number of regional and international issues, namely the future of the Economic Partnership Agreements, policy reforms needed to accelerate growth in the region, and deepening of commercial and economic integration in the Indian Ocean Commission. A new Exchange Programme has also been established for capacity building in certain core areas, such as Fisheries, Civil Aviation, Information and Communication Technology, Agriculture, Tourism, and Small and Medium Enterprise and Handicraft Development.
19. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare to Reunion Island where she participated in the Deuxième Rencontre Régionale des Femmes en Politique. The objectives of the Meeting were, inter alia, to launch the Regional Platform of “Women in Politics” and finalize the Charte of the Platform. The Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare was nominated Vice-President of the Regional Platform for a period of two years.
20. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Youth and Sports to Tchad where he participated in the 33rd Session of the Conférence des Ministres de la Jeunesse et des Sports des Etats et Gouvernements ayant le Français en Partage (CONFEJES) Meeting. The objectives of CONFEJES are to promote and develop youth and sports activities among member countries, organize training courses for athletes and cadres, and provide both technical and financial assistance to the youth and high level athletes. The Meeting, inter alia, discussed issues relating to Information and Communication Technology, and National Policy on Youth and Sports.
21. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent visit of the Minister of Health and Quality of Life to Rodrigues. The objectives of her visit were to -
(a) disseminate the findings of the Rodrigues Non-Communicable Diseases Survey Report 2009;
(b) sensitize the Rodriguan population on the need to adopt, amongst others, a healthy lifestyle;
(c) launch a Cervical Cancer Sensitization and Screening Programme; and
(d) make a general assessment of the health care delivery system in Rodrigues.
22. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment to the Republic of Bangladesh where he had meetings with the relevant authorities and signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers. He also handed over cheques to the bereaved families of the Bangladeshi workers who died in the recent road accident at St. Julien d’Hotman.
In the margins of the mission, the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment paid a courtesy call on Dr (Mrs) Dipu Moni, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh.
23. Cabinet has taken note of the recent mission of the Attorney General to Canada where he participated in the Meeting of Commonwealth Experts on the Rule of Law Programme organized by the Commonwealth Secretariat. The Meeting considered five thematic papers relating to:
(a) emerging trends and best practices in the Rule of Law programming;
(b) case studies of multilateral and bilateral Rule of Law programming;
(c) organizational approaches to the Rule of Law programming for the Commonwealth;
(d) organizational strategies to the Rule of Law programming; and
(e) the implementation of the ‘Latimer House Principles’ in the Commonwealth.
24. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment would promulgate the Occupational Safety and Health (Fees and Registration) (Amendment) Regulations and the Employment Rights (Registration of Employers and Permits of Job Contractors) (Amendment) Regulations to provide for an increase in the fees payable for, inter alia, job contractors permits and certificates for registration of safety and health officers, machinery inspectors, boiler inspectors, as well as registration of factories in view of the increase in costs for the processing and delivery of permits and registration certificates.
25. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Civil Service and Administrative Reforms would hold a Consultative Meeting with Heads of Ministries/Departments on 24 March 2011 to brainstorm on issues pertaining to the Civil Service Reform.
26. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of –
(a) the Board of Directors of the State Property Development Co Ltd. with Mr Rajanah Dhaliah as Chairperson; and
(b) the National, Economic and Social Council with Me R. M. Marc Hein as Chairperson
27. Cabinet has taken of the nomination of Mr Serge Arlanda and Mr Pierre Marie Jacques Anquetil as Member of the Cooperative Development Fund Committee.