1. Cabinet has agreed to the preparation of a 10-year Economic and Social Transformation Plan that would set out the strategies and the policies for Mauritius to move to a High-Income Country with income of over US$14,000 per capita from the current income of about US$8,000 per capita. The Plan would help meet the challenges for an accelerated sustainable and equitable growth through increased human capital, better policies and processes, as well as more complementary public and private investment and productivity advances. Moreover, economic vulnerabilities would be reduced. The Plan would also provide a practical way for Ministries and Departments to deliver the vision in the Government Programme.
2. Cabinet has taken note of the conclusions of a Wastewater Master Plan Study carried out to assess the operating conditions of existing facilities and evaluate the level of service that can be ensured by the current waste water infrastructure with a view to preparing the Second Sewerage Programme covering the period 2014-2033. The Study has identified new sewerage networks in the unserved region of Plaine Wilhems, particularly Vacoas, and a number of rural areas, to meet the target of global sewerage coverage of 80% by year 2023. A conventional sewerage network in the main centre of Port Mathurin, Rodrigues, is also envisaged. The Study also proposes the development of pilot projects for the treatment and re-use of sludge in cultivated fields and for the production of compost.
3. Cabinet has taken note that, as from 4 February 2012, the Bail and Remand Court would be operational during weekends and public holidays. The new arrangement will enhance the ready access of people to justice for the determination of their rights and remedying of their grievances.
4. Cabinet has agreed to the setting up of four Post-Harvest Facility Units at Rouge Terre (near Fond du Sac), L’Esperance (Quartier Militaire), St. Hubert and Mare d’Albert, where planters have grouped themselves into clusters, with a view to assisting them to increase the quality standards of their produce, enhance their competitiveness and shift from traditional post-harvest practices to higher standards to be able to face the new challenges with respect to competitiveness and productivity in the local, regional and international markets. The Units would be provided with the basic facilities and equipment to wash, sort, grade, minimally process, store and pack fresh produce of the farm.
5. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements made by the Ministry of Civil Service and Administrative Reforms to open offices on Saturdays, as announced in the 2012 Budget Speech. The project, which would be implemented as from 4 February 2012 on a pilot basis for a period of three to six months, would, in the first instance, involve the Citizens Advice Bureaux and the Cash Offices of the Registrar General’s Department, the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions, the Ministry of Housing and Lands, the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment (Employment Division) and the Tourism Authority.
6. Cabinet has taken note that, on the recommendation of the Hon Chief Justice and as announced in the 2012 Budget Speech, the Attorney General has promulgated the Legal Aid (Qualifications) Regulations to increase the eligibility threshold for legal aid from Rs5,000 to Rs10,000 as regards monthly income and from Rs75,000 to Rs500,000 as regards value of property. The Regulations are effective as from 1 February 2012.
7. Cabinet has agreed to the Ministry of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives preparing a Strategic Action Plan to boost the Small and Medium Enterprise/Business Development Services programmes, to ensure their competitiveness and consolidate their contribution in the national economy.
8. Cabinet has taken note that, during the forthcoming official visit of the Prime Minister to India, the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre Trust Fund and the National Council of Science Museums of the Republic of India would sign a Memorandum of Understanding providing for the setting up of a 125-seater Planetarium on the premises of the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre, the extension of the existing Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre building and the upgrading of the existing galleries.
9. Cabinet has taken note of the findings of the 9th pricing exercise conducted by the Price Observatory. Price analyses have revealed that the average cost of the 55 products under review has decreased by 1.1%; the average cost of the 40 “cheapest” products decreased by 1.7%; the price difference between the cheapest and the highest-priced outlet has decreased between December 2011 and January 2012; and the cheapest districts are Grand Port, Plaine Wilhems and Flacq.
10. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements made by the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security, in collaboration with the Mauritius Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, to control stray dogs. The main target is to catch around 2,500 to 3,000 dogs on a monthly basis, that is, between 30,000 to 36,000 dogs yearly. The Division of the Veterinary Services of the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security will also intensify its campaign for the free sterilization of both male and female dogs.
11. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements being made to reinforce the reforms undertaken to improve efficiency in the Public Sector, sharpen the competitiveness and resilience of the economy, and prepare for the next phase of inclusive economic growth. The implementation of the reform programme would enable Mauritius to lay the foundation of a new socio-economic model driven by global competitiveness and sharing of prosperity.
12. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements being made with the collaboration of the public sector, the civil society and non-state partners to organize the Global Forum on Migration and Development Summit scheduled for 21 and 22 November 2012. The theme of the Summit will be Enhancing the contribution of migration to the development of migrants, communities and states. Focus would be laid on several issues, including –
(a) Circulating Labour for Inclusive Development;
(b) Factoring Migration into Development Planning;
(c) Managing Migration and Perceptions of Migration for Development Outcomes; and
(d) Gender, Human Rights and Migration.
Cabinet has also agreed to Mauritius engaging with the World Bank and the European Union for the hosting of a proposed African Diaspora Private Investment Fund (World Bank sponsored) and African Institute for Remittances (EU sponsored) in Mauritius.
13. Cabinet has agreed to the Financial Intelligence Unit, the Financial Reporting Council and the National Solidarity Fund being reported upon by the Pay Research Bureau.
14. Cabinet has taken note of the Report “2010 Land Use Map of Mauritius” published by the Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute, that shows the changes that have taken place on land use over the last 25 years. As at 2010, land use distribution was as follows : Agriculture (Sugar and Others) - 41.5%; Abandoned Sugar Cane land - 0.8%; Forest, Shrub, range and grazing land - 37.0%; Inland Water Resource System - 1.5%; Built-up Area - 1.1% and Infrastructure (roads, footpaths) - 4.2%.
15. Cabinet has taken note of the activities that the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection proposes to organize to mark the World Consumer Rights Day 2012, observed on 15 March, viz., -
(a) sales, at reduced price, of rice, flour and beans by the State Trading Corporation and onions, potatoes and garlic by the Agricultural Marketing Board;
(b) sensitization of consumers on the eight basic consumer rights, i.e., the right to safety, the right to be informed, the right to choose, the right to be heard, the right to satisfaction of basic needs, the right to redress, the right to education and the right to a healthy environment;
(c) launching of a pamphlet on the procedures for obtention of import and export permits; and
(d) launching of an interactive website of the Price Observatory.
16. Cabinet has taken note of the status in the implementation of the UNDP/GEF project on the Removal of Barriers to Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation in Buildings initiated in 2008. Under the Project, the Energy Efficiency Act was promulgated, 45 building energy auditors trained and Energy Efficiency design guidelines worked out. The Project is being extended to provide for the transformation of the energy sectors into a catalyst for sustainable economic development and help generate finance to address adaption to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
17. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions would hold a Film Festival on Disability from 6 to 10 February 2012 to sensitize the public on the issue of disability and on the value of persons with disability. In the margins of the Festival, a Workshop on the theme Contemporary Perspectives on Disability would be held with Dr Srilatha Juvva, Associate Professor and Chair of the Centre for Disabilities Studies and Action, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India as Resource Person.
18. Cabinet has taken note of the publication by the National Economic and Social Council of Reports on ‘The Social Integration of Stigmatised Vulnerable Groups’ and ‘Managing Indebtedness and Household Budgets for Better Living’. The Report on ‘The Social Integration of Stigmatised Vulnerable Groups’ provides an insight of issues relating to ex-prison detainees, drug users, sex workers and persons who are HIV positive. The Report on “Managing Indebtedness and Household Budgets for Better Living” highlights the factors that contribute to indebtedness and poor household budget management.
19. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Education and Human Resources to the United Kingdom where he attended the British Educational Training and Technology Show, an annual trade show that showcases the best practices of ICT in education and brings together education stakeholders from across the world, including politicians, educators, researchers, as well as representatives of firms producing some of the most innovative products and solutions on the use of technology in schools and school systems. The Minister also attended a presentation of the Sankoré Project at the Sankoré Stand by Professor Albert-Claude Benhamou, CEO and Inter-Ministerial Delegate for African Digital Education in France. He gave a Press Conference highlighting the successful implementation of the Project in Mauritius.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Minister of Education and Human Resources had a working session with Mr K. Sharma, Commonwealth Secretary General on the organization of the 18th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (18 CCEM) scheduled to be held in Mauritius in August 2012. The Minister also had discussions with Dr Ann Puntis, Chief Executive of Cambridge International Examination on a number of issues relating to examinations assessment and new curricula in light of new developments in the Education Sector.
20. Cabinet has taken note of the concluding observations and recommendations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women following the presentation of the Combined Sixth and Seventh Reports of Mauritius in October 2011. The Committee has made a series of recommendations for the further improvement of gender equality, the elimination of all forms of violence and discrimination against women, awareness campaign on teenage pregnancy and the serious health risks of clandestine abortion.
21. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of –
(a) the Training and Employment of Disabled Persons Board with Mr R.C. Gopee, former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions as Chairperson;
(b) the National Council for the Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons Board with Mr N. Soobratty, Principal Assistant Secretary of the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions as Chairperson; and
(c) the Board of the Mauritius Council of Registered Librarians.