1. Cabinet has taken note that, pursuant to section 27(2) of the Equal Opportunities Act, the Acting President, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister, has appointed the following persons on the Equal Opportunities Commission -
Chairperson: Mr Brian N.J. Glover
Members: Dr Rajayswar Bhowon
Mr Mohammad Shameer Mohuddy
Mrs Danisha Sornum
Cabinet has further taken note that action has been initiated for the setting up of the Equal Opportunities Tribunal as per section 34 of the Equal Opportunities Act.
The Equal Opportunities Act ensures that every person has an equal opportunity to attain his objectives in various spheres of activities and that no person is placed, or finds himself or herself, at a disadvantage, by reason of his/her race, colour, origin, caste, creed, sex, marital status, physical appearance or disability, in relation to other persons of the same status. The Act, accordingly, prohibits any form of discrimination in a direct or indirect manner in the public service or the private sector.
2. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Sugar Insurance Fund (Amendment) Bill, which aims at amending the Sugar Insurance Fund Act to provide for a reduction in the insurance premium payable by sugar producers, including small planters and métayers, as from 2012 and for the registration of cane plantations of an area not exceeding 10 hectares every 5 years, instead of yearly. The Bill also provides that a minimum percentage of crop reduction of sugar that would lead to an event year being declared for the purpose of payment of compensation to planters, métayers and millers.
3. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Legal Aid (Amendment) Bill, which aims at implementing certain recommendations of the Presidential Commission, set up in 1997 under the chairmanship of Lord Mackay, to make legal aid more accessible, and to incorporate proposals made in Budget Speech 2012. The Bill also provides for the extension of legal assistance at police enquiry and bail stages, and for penalty for abuse of the legal aid system.
4. Cabinet has taken note of the Joint Annual Report 2011, which is a mutual assessment by the European Union and Government on the Implementation of EU Programmes in the different sectors, namely energy, waste water, education, sugar sector and environment. The Report would be submitted to the EU Headquarters as provided in the ACP-EU Cotonou Agreement.
5. Cabinet has taken note that the National Computer Board would hold an ICT Expo on a regional basis, i.e., at Centre de Flacq, Goodlands, Bambous and Rose Belle, and Rodrigues, to sensitize on the potential applications of ICT and the choice of technology for effective business and individual solutions, encourage people to go for higher level industry-based certifications and bring Government services closer to the people by providing accessible and integrated online public services.
6. Cabinet has agreed to the recommendations of the Project Plan Committee, amongst others, for the urgent implementation of a project for the transfer of water from Tamarin Falls Reservoir to La Marie Treatment Plant to address the deficiency in water supply in periods of drought. The Project, to the tune of Rs70M, aims at mobilizing and transferring some 10,000 m3/day of additional water resources to La Marie Treatment Plant to make up for the shortage in water resources.
7. Cabinet has taken note that the measures taken to control imports from Japan have been reviewed in view of improvement of the situation there. The ban on the importation of foodstuffs, agricultural commodities including feedstuffs, has been lifted. However, samples of all imported commodities would be tested for radioactive contamination. New motor vehicles, new motor vehicles spare parts and all other new items, such as computers parts and accessories, electronic household appliances, etc., would no longer be subject to control for radioactive contamination prior to customs clearance. As regards second-hand motor vehicles, the present control measures would be maintained.
8. Cabinet has taken note that the Award Ceremony of the Fourth Edition of the Mauritius Business Excellence Award and the launching of the Fifth Edition of the Award would be held on Friday 29 June 2012. The main objectives of the competition are to encourage best business practices for the achievement of higher productivity and competitiveness and identify role models adopting world class practices. The Fourth Edition attracted some 167 participants from various sectors of the economy.
9. Cabinet has taken note of the holding in Mauritius in June 2012 of an International Conference on Technology Transfer and Renewable Energy. The Conference will be a platform for international researchers to discuss their respective research and findings as well as the methodological approaches and projects with respect to renewable energy. Participants from Barbados, Fiji, Germany, Nigeria, Trinidad, the United Kingdom, USA and West Indies would attend the Conference.
10. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the meetings of the Regional Tourism Organization for Southern Africa and SADC Ministers responsible for Tourism held in Mauritius from 26 to 29 March 2012. The resolutions adopted at the meetings, include, -
(a) formulation of effective strategies to enhance intra-regional tourism and continental tourist arrivals and tourism receipts, investment and regional competitiveness on the global market place;
(b) development of a roadmap by RETOSA to showcase the SADC Region as a single but multifaceted destination;
(c) formulation of policies to facilitate liberalization of skies; and
(d) strengthening of collaboration between the tourism sector and SADC organs responsible for the implementation of UNIVISA system.
11. Cabinet has taken note that the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, in collaboration with the European Commission, the ACP Group of Ambassadors, and other partners, would organize the Regional Policy Briefing on Building Resilience in Small Island Economies: From Vulnerabilities to Opportunities, in Mauritius from 23 to 24 April 2012.
The objectives of the Briefing are to –
(a) raise awareness in ACP States on the challenges affecting the rural and agricultural development of small island economies;
(b) increase the exchange of information and expertise on selected areas affecting small island economies, such as climate change, market access and trade, environment and natural resource management; and
(c) facilitate networking amongst the development partners working in those areas.
Policy makers, representatives of research organizations, society groups, development practitioners, international organizations and the private sector would attend the Briefing.
12. Cabinet has taken note of development in the setting up of an ICT Academy in Mauritius. The Academy would provide short-term industry-led training, ensure work placement after successful completion of training and cater for re-skilling of existing workforce to enhance capacity building initiatives.
13. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology would organize an ICT-BPO Conference and Networking Forum from 12 to 14 September 2012. The Conference would serve to showcase our achievement in the ICT Sector to the international stakeholders and demonstrate our ambition and capacity to become a Regional ICT hub. The theme of the Conference would be Outsourcing Beyond Boundaries. In the margins of the Conference, a Ministerial Round Table with the participation of Ministers responsible for ICT from Africa, would be held.
14. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Information and Communication Technology to India where he participated in the IndiaSoft Conference and Exhibition 2012. In the margins of the Conference, the Minister had bilateral meetings with the Minister for Information Technology, Communications and Endowments of the State of Andhra Pradesh, the Minister of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica and the Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of Electronic and Computer Software Export Promotion Council.
15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Information and Communication Technology to Paris where he participated in Strategies Clients, a major annual exhibition in the Call Centre and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Sectors in Europe. The event provided an opportunity to promote Mauritius as an outsourcing destination, highlighting the ease and competitive cost of doing business, the state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure and a strong, flexible and bilingual workforce, coupled with a sound legal framework.
Cabinet has further taken note that, at the invitation of the World Economic Forum, the Minister of Information and Communication Technology attended the launch of the Global Information Technology Report in New York. This year, the case study of Mauritius and Azerbaijan highlighting efforts to develop and spread the positive effects of ICT, were chosen. The Minister introduced the case study for Mauritius, which focused on the role of Government to drive the ICT Sector as a stronger pillar of the economy.
16. Cabinet has taken note that, according to the last statistical bulletin, 83,827 tourists visited Mauritius in March 2012 as compared to 83,349 for the corresponding period in 2011, i.e., an increase of 0.6%.
17. Cabinet has taken note that the All India Management Association is organizing its Summit in Mauritius in May 2012, on the theme Leadership in a globalised world: Nurturing New Partners. The Summit would bring together business leaders to discuss the new competitive challenges, financial and social issues in the current times of uncertainty and focus on how management innovations have influenced companies and the navigational challenges that leaders will be faced with, in the near future. Participants from India, South Africa, Botswana, Gabon, Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Mauritius would attend the Summit.
18. Cabinet has taken note that Mr Louis Harold Patrick Cecile has been appointed Chairperson of the Seafarers’ Welfare Fund.