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Prime Minister's Office>Cabinet Office>Cabinet Decisions 21 October 2011

Cabinet Decisions 21 October 2011

1. Cabinet has taken note that the Joint Working Group on the India-Mauritius Double Taxation Avoidance Convention would hold its next meeting in Mauritius from 21 to 23 December 2011. The Joint Working Group, set up in August 2006 on a proposal of the Indian Authorities, aims at putting in place adequate safeguards to prevent possible misuse of the India-Mauritius Double Taxation Avoidance Convention without prejudice to the economic interest of either country and at strengthening the mechanism for the “Exchange of Information” under the Convention.

2. Cabinet has agreed to the ratification of the Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006 (No. 187) of the International Labour Organisation. The Convention requires Member States to promote continuous improvement of occupational safety and health in order to prevent occupational injuries, diseases and deaths by the development, in consultation with organisations of employers and workers, of a national policy, a national system and a national programme on Occupational Safety and Health.

3. Cabinet has agreed to building sites leases being granted to 17 genuine hardship cases, such as victims of natural disasters, disabled persons and women in distress, in line with Government’s Programme 2010-2015.
Cabinet has also taken note of measures taken by the Ministry of Housing and Lands to provide housing/residential facilities to a number of vulnerable families in the districts of Port Louis and Black River. Under the National Housing Programme, housing units have been constructed and allocated in the district of Black River as follows –
(a) Camp La Colle - 42
(b) Bambous - 226
(c) Pointe aux Sables - 198
(d) La Valette - 198
In addition, some 70 serviced lots have been allocated to low income families in Bambous. 173 housing units have also been put up in the district of Port Louis, i.e., Cité La Cure (120), La Tour Koenig (37) and Roche Bois (16). As enunciated in the Budget 2011, new housing units would shortly be put up at Penang Street, Military Road and Vallée des Prêtres.

4. Cabinet has taken note that a number of sections of the Cadastral Survey Act would be proclaimed to come into operation as from 1 January 2012. The Act provides, generally, for the maintenance and updating of the digital cadastral database, the conduct of land surveying and related matters.

5. Cabinet has taken note of development in the setting up of the Civil Service College in line with Government Programme 2010-2015. The aim of the College is to help the Civil Service continually re-engineer itself to respond effectively to new priorities and challenges and be able to provide high quality and timely services. The College would also cater for specific training needs of employees of public bodies with a view to upgrading their competencies.

6. Cabinet has taken note that Infotech 2011 would be held from 24 to 27 November 2011 at the Swami Vivekananda International Convention Centre. The theme of this year’s exhibition is Shaping the Digital Economy. The main objectives of the exhibition are, amongst others, to -
(a) create awareness of emerging technologies;
(b) sensitize the public on potential applications of ICT and the choice of technology for effective business and individual solutions;
(c) offer a platform to local ICT operators to develop collaboration and conclude deals with potential technology partners and customers;
(d) demonstrate and promote local and regional talents, expertise, know-how and expert potential; and
(e) sensitize on career opportunities in the ICT Sector.

7. Cabinet has taken note that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, in collaboration with the International Association of Prosecutors for the Africa-Indian Ocean Region, would hold a Regional Conference in Mauritius from 26 to 29 July 2012. The aim of the Conference is to share expertise, skills and traditions and create networking opportunities for prosecutors. Issues that would be discussed are, amongst others, piracy prosecutions in the region, asset recovery and the protection of victims of crime.

8. Cabinet has taken note that the 23ème Congrès des Notaires d’Afrique would be held in Mauritius from 27 to 30 October 2011. Participants from ‘Francophone Africa’, the Maghreb region and Europe are expected to attend the Conference. The theme for the Conference is La Pratique Notariale en Afrique: Etat des lieux et perspectives.

9. Cabinet has taken note of the performance of the Export-Oriented Enterprises Sector for the period January to September 2011 as compared to the corresponding period in 2010. The value of exports of the Sector increased from Rs29.05 billion to Rs32.44 billion, i.e., by 11.7%. Increase in the value of exports had been recorded in the following sub-sectors –
Textile and Clothing 18.4%
Clothing Sub-Sector (Pullovers and Cardigans, T-Shirts, Shirts and Trousers) 14.9%
Textile Yarns and Fabrics 55.1%
Fish and Fish Preparations 1.2%
Optical Goods 26.5%
Watches and Clocks 54.7%

Exports to the United Kingdom, France and the USA, main export markets, recorded an increase of 6.3%, 9.3% and 9.1% respectively. Exports in the region, particularly South Africa and Madagascar, have recorded increases of 58.6% and 28.8% respectively.

10. Cabinet has taken note that, in September 2011, MAURITAS accredited 13 testing/calibration laboratories operating under the aegis of various Ministries and para-statal bodies and three laboratories in the private sector. The Forensic Science Laboratory has been accredited for DNA fingerprinting, alcohol level determination and identification of drugs, such as heroin and cannabis.

11. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the 27th Session of the Council of Ministers of the Indian Ocean Commission held in Mauritius on 6 October 2011. The Meeting, which was opened by the Prime Minister, discussed, inter alia, -
(a) the political situation in Madagascar;
(b) cooperation with the African Union;
(c) the setting up of an Economic and Commercial Zone; and
(d) marine pollution.
Cabinet has also taken note that the Council unanimously approved the candidature of Mr Jean Claude de L’Estrac as Secretary General of the Commission for a period of four years as from August 2012.

12. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Second General Assembly of the African Accreditation Cooperation (AFRAC) held in Mauritius from 5 to 7 October 2011. The Assembly adopted a number of resolutions, amongst others, in respect of the formulation of procedures relating to admission of members to AFRAC, complaints, appeals and use of AFRAC logo; and updating of AFRAC Code of Ethics, Selection Criteria for Trainee Evaluation and the Training of Peer Evaluation.

13. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment to South Africa where he participated in the Twelfth African Regional Meeting of the International Labour Organisation. The Meeting focused on progress made by countries of the region towards achieving the targets set by the Decent Work Agenda in Africa 2007-2015. Discussions were also held on Women’s Empowerment and Youth Employment.

14. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection to Zimbabwe in the context of the organization of the First Buyers-Sellers Meeting by Enterprise Mauritius. The objectives of the Buyers-Sellers Meeting were to explore business opportunities and revive trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. The Meeting attracted some 259 buyers. A number of companies has secured orders to the tune of $925,000 and some 450 business contacts have been established.
In the margins of the Meeting, the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection discussed, inter alia, with -
(a) the Hon Mike Bimha, Acting Minister of Industry and Commerce on the setting up of a Mauritius-Zimbabwe Business Council; and
(b) the Hon Y. Mashakada, Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion on economic cooperation.

15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare to Geneva, Switzerland, where she presented the Combined Sixth and Seventh Periodic Reports of Mauritius in line with the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The Combined Sixth and Seventh Periodic Reports, submitted to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, provide an update of achievements during the period 2005–2008 with regard to the implementation of the various measures enunciated under the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.