1. Cabinet has taken note of the recommendations of the High-Level Committee, set up under the Chairmanship of the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Public Infrastructure, National Development Unit, Land Transport and Shipping, and comprising the Minister of Education and Human Resources and the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection, to define a national long-term strategy to develop Mauritius into a petroleum hub and consider the feasibility of having the petroleum industry as a new economic pillar for Mauritius. Procedures have already started for the construction of storage facilities for mogas and gasoil of a capacity of 25,000 metric tons to cater for the increase in demand and allow a buffer stock for at least 30 days. In the medium term and the long term, an oil terminal and a jetty dedicated to the loading and unloading of petroleum products would be put up in the region of Pointe aux Caves to meet the increasing demand of petroleum products and for export in the region.
2. Cabinet reconsidered the relocation of hawkers of Port Louis and agreed to the CWA Building at Victoria Square and the former Granary Building, identified by the Ministerial Committee chaired by the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Public Infrastructure, National Development Unit, Land Transport and Shipping, being renovated to accommodate the hawkers.
3. Cabinet has taken note of development in the setting up of the Civil Service College as enunciated in Government Programme 2012-2015 to provide continuous training to Government employees. The College, which would, in the long term, develop into a regional centre of excellence in Public Sector Management and Governance, would work in close collaboration with the local universities, including the Open University of Mauritius, with regard to the award of Certificates, Diplomas and Degrees.
4. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Civil Service and Administrative Reforms is proceeding with the review of schemes of service for entry grades in the Public Service, wherein only the highest qualification would be specified to enable, amongst others, candidates who have followed a one-year Foundation Programme, run by a recognized Tertiary Education Institution, to apply for a post in the Public Service.
5. Cabinet has taken note that, following the implementation of the Mauritian Sign Language Project by the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions, with the assistance of Mr Alain Gebert, a Mauritian working at the Institut National de Jeunes Sourds, in Paris, a first volume of the Mauritian Sign Language Dictionary with 1,700 signs had been published. The sign language is currently being utilized widely, including in the presentation of a weekly news bulletin on the MBC. The Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions has made further arrangements with Mr Gebert to upgrade and publish a second edition of the Dictionary and for capacity building.
6. Cabinet has taken note of the findings of Studies on Salt Intake and on Salt Content of Bread in Mauritius. The Studies conclude that the mean salt intake in adults aged between 30 to 59 years is 7.9 grams daily, and the mean salt intake in men in the same age group is 8.5 grams daily as compared to 7.4 grams for women. The Salt content in a bread of 100 gm is higher than the tolerable level of 400 mg. The Ministry of Health and Quality of Life has, subsequently, mounted campaigns to sensitize the public to reduce salt consumption generally.
7. Cabinet has taken note that the Molecular Biology and Virology Laboratory of the Central Health Laboratory has been recognized by the World Health Organisation as a National Influenza Centre and a member of the World Health Organisation Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System. The Centre would, henceforth, be consulted by the World Health Organisation for expertise on influenza, whenever necessary, and for participation in the activities of the World Health Organisation Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System.
8. Cabinet has taken note of the results of the 16th Pricing Survey conducted by the Price Observatory on 25 September 2012. The Survey, which covers 23 outlets and 60 targeted products, has revealed that the average cost of the targeted products increased from Rs6,243 in August to Rs6,317 in September 2012, i.e., by 1.2%; the price differential between the cheapest outlet and the highest-priced outlet was Rs1,301; and the price differential between the cheapest district (Grand Port) and the highest-priced district (Port Louis) was Rs489.
9. Cabinet has agreed to the recommendations of the Project Plan Committee to include six projects to the tune of Rs275 m in the Public Sector Investment Programme. The projects include the procurement of a CT Scan for Rodrigues, the upgrading of water distribution network in Rodrigues, coastal protection works at Quatre Soeurs, and the implementation of the e-procurement project.
10. Cabinet has taken note that the Human Resource Development Council, which was established in 2003, has developed the Human Resource Development Plan, the first in Africa, laying down the framework for education, training and career progression to meet the country’s skills and competence needs. The Strategic Plan of the Council lays emphasis on five main thrusts of Human Resource Development, namely, pre-employment, re-skilling, up-skilling, entrepreneurship and market-oriented training. The Council, with the assistance of the European Union, implemented the project entitled Effective Training and Re-skilling of SME Cadres and, with the assistance of renowned institutions, elaborated a Project to develop innovation and creativity in students. It is currently, inter alia, putting up an ICT-based Centre d’Orientation Académique et Professionelle to provide for comprehensive career guidelines to enhance flexibility of the workforce and to enable them to adjust to the demand of a changing work environment.
11. Cabinet has taken note of measures being taken by the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security to ensure the restoration and smooth running of
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden. A Task Force, under the Chairmanship of the Director, National Parks and Conservation Service, has been set up to take stock of shortcomings and to initiate appropriate actions. The following remedial actions have already been taken -
(a) Golden Apple Snail is being controlled;
(b) tests are being carried out on water and soil found in the giant water lily pond to determine possible causes of damage to the giant water lily;
(c) trees are being trimmed, the garden cleaned and all debris and wastes removed; and
(d) canals are being rehabilitated and metal gratings are being placed to prevent entry of debris.
12. Cabinet has agreed to the Radiation Protection Authority becoming a member of the Forum of Nuclear Regulatory Bodies in Africa, which oversees and coordinates the application of measures for the control and monitoring of nuclear technology and encourages its peaceful application. The Forum also complements the works of the International Atomic Energy Agency on the application of international nuclear safety standards. The Radiation Protection Authority, which is in the process of establishing regulatory requirements and developing guidance documents for the safe application of nuclear technologies, would benefit in terms of capacity building by participating in the Technical Working Groups constituted by the Forum.
13. Cabinet has taken note that the SADC Secretariat would hold the Annual Meeting of SADC ICT Ministers in Mauritius from 6 to 8 November 2012. The Meeting would, among others, consider –
(a) the implementation of the SADC Road Map on Digital Broadcasting Migration 2013;
(b) the SADC Draft Model Laws on Cyber Security, Electronic-Transactions/ Electronic-Commerce, Data Protection and Cyber Crime;
(c) the SADC e-Commerce Readiness Strategy;
(d) the SADC Home and Away Roaming;
(e) the implementation of the WRC-12 and SADC Frequency Band Plan; and
(f) the adoption of the Road Map and Strategy for the implementation of the ICT Chapter of the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan.
14. Cabinet has taken note that, on the occasion of the World Post Day celebrated on 9 October 2012, and in the context of the celebration of the 240th Anniversary of Postal Services in Mauritius, the Mauritius Post Ltd would organize a number of activities, including -
(a) free access to the Postal Museum for Mauritian nationals;
(b) essay competitions on postal matters for students of secondary and tertiary institutions;
(c) stamps exhibitions on the theme ‘Les Pays du Peuplement à Maurice’ highlighting stamps from countries which have contributed to the migration process in Mauritius;
(d) publication of a book on the history of Postal Services and Mail Delivery in Mauritius; and
(e) issue of commemorative stamps and a First Day Cover.
The theme adopted by the Universal Postal Union for World Post Day 2012 is A New Strategy for a New World.
15. Cabinet has taken note that on the occasion of the World Mental Health Day observed on 10 October, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life would –
(a) hold a cultural programme at Brown Sequard Mental Health Care Centre with the participation of the inmates;
(b) carry out sensitization campaigns and a Symposium on Depression: A Global Crisis; and
(c) an exhibition on creative activities of patients at the Brown Sequard Mental Health Care Centre.
The theme chosen by the World Federation for Mental Health is Depression: A Global Crisis.
16. Cabinet has taken note that the Public Service Excellence Award 2012 has as theme Innovation and Citizens Engagement in Service Delivery to recognize the involvement of citizens as being critical for effective governance, improving service delivery and fostering empowerment. The Public Service Excellence Award, first launched in 2006 at the initiative of the Prime Minister, aims at recognizing excellence and innovation, and promoting a performance-oriented culture in the Public Service.
17. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Ninth Southern Africa and Islands Hydrographic Commission Conference held from 18 to 19 September 2012 in Mauritius. The Conference discussed, amongst others, –
(a) charting status, Electronic Navigational Charts production and new requirements to the International Charting Scheme for the region;
(b) Bilateral and Regional Cooperation Agreements;
(c) Projects and Regional Capacity Building Management Plan; and
(d) National Reports of Member and Associate Member Countries, highlighting hydrographic survey activities, charting and publication of marine information status.
The following countries participated in the Conference: France, Mozambique, Norway, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Angola, the Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, Portugal and Tanzania.
18. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Arts and Culture to South Africa where he participated in the 9th World Hindi Conference. The Conference, which had as theme Hindi on the International Scene, adopted the following resolutions:-
(a) to create databases of Hindi Organisations and Hindi writers throughout the world;
(b) to produce IT equipment and appropriate software to suit Hindi activities;
(c) to carry out translation of research works;
(d) to prepare a standard syllabus of Hindi; and
(e) to prepare strategies to motivate and involve the youth to learn Hindi language.
Cabinet has also taken note that Mrs Sarita Boodhoo, Chairperson of the Bhojpuri Institute and Mr S. Tengur, President of the Government Hindi Teachers’ Union, were honoured at the Conference for their contributions in the promotion of Bhojpuri and Hindi, respectively.
19. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Tourism and Leisure at the head of a delegation comprising the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority and the private sector to France, the Czech Republic and Russia. The objective of the mission was to reinforce the visibility of Mauritius and its position as a high-end and prime holiday destination in the Indian Ocean. In France, he participated in the TOP RESA Fair with representatives from 160 tourist destinations with some 300 events, and nearly 1,200 exhibitors; and had meetings with his counterparts from the Seychelles, Brazil, India and Malaysia. In the Czech Republic, he participated in a trade workshop on the diversification of the market policy and in Russia, he participated in the OTDYKTH Leisure Fair and conducted a marketing strategy with leading Russian Tour Operators to reinforce growth momentum in that market.
20. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection to Paris, France where he led a delegation to promote Mauritius as a reliable sourcing destination in the context of its campaign to boost exports to Europe. For the first time, Mauritius organized a Special Promotion Event of its own to promote “Made in Mauritius” products. During the event, the exhibitors established meaningful contacts and a few companies received trial orders. Mauritius also participated in Texworld, Paris, the biggest textile fair in France and Zoom by Fatex, an important textile and apparel fair. Promotional campaigns were also carried out to enhance the visibility of Mauritius as a “Sourcing Destination”, a gateway to do business with Africa and a “Preferred Investment Centre”.
The Minister of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection also had a series of consultations/working sessions with eminent businessmen, industrialists and investors, namely, Mrs Elizabeth Ponsolle des Portes, Chairperson and CEO of Comité Colbert, apex industry organisation promoting French Luxury Products worldwide, Mr Najib Gouiaa, Director General of alQarra and Mr André Deljarry, Chairperson of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Montpellier.
21. Cabinet has taken note that the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Energy and Public Utilities would promulgate the Wastewater (Miscellaneous Waste Water Services) (Fees) Regulations with a view to prescribing fees in respect of services provided by the Wastewater Management Authority, namely, verification of designs of sewers, treatment plants and disposal systems; clearance of Building and Morcellement Permits; clearing of wastewater blockages within non-domestic premises located in sewered regions; disposal of waste water at waste water disposal stations; and witnessing of percolation tests.
22. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection would promulgate the Jewellery (Fees and Charges) (Amendment) Regulations; the Jewellery (Registration of Sponsor’s Mark, Importer’s Mark, Identification Mark) (Amendment) Regulations; the Jewellery (Use of the State Mark by Dealers) (Amendment) Regulations, and the Jewellery (Verification and Grading of Precious and Semi-Precious Stones) (Amendment) Regulations to review fees and user charges for services provided by the Assay Office in view of the increase in costs.
23. Cabinet has taken note that the Prime Minister has appointed Mr Dharam Dev Manraj, Head of the Project Monitoring and Delivery Unit of the Prime Minister’s Office, as Visitor of the University of Mauritius.
24. Cabinet has taken note that, following the meeting the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment had with the Minister of Labour of the State of Qatar, on the employment of professionals and higher skilled workers from Mauritius, a delegation from the State of Qatar, led by HE Mr Zayed Rashid Al-Nuaimi, Director of American Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs would visit Mauritius from 8 to 10 October 2012. The object of the visit is to discuss the employment possibilities of Mauritian professionals and higher skilled workers through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.