1. Cabinet has taken note that Mauritius rankseighth in the World (first in Africa) ahead of Ireland (9th), the US (10th), the UK (14th), Japan (22nd), Germany (26th) and France (67th), in the 2012 Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal. Mauritius, therefore, becomes the first Sub-Saharan country to rank among the top 10. The Index evaluates economic freedom by looking at the rule of law, regulatory efficiency, the size of Government and open markets. Botswana (33rd) is the next African country to score on the Index.
2. In line with Government’s determination to improve public enterprise performance and to make public sector management more cost-effective, transparent and outcome-oriented, Cabinet has agreed to the mandate of the Office of Public Sector Governance being extended to empower the Office to also monitor the overall performance of public sector enterprises. The Office of Public Sector Governance will, henceforth, be also responsible for –
(a) carrying out qualitative analysis based on the data provided through the Parastatal Information Management System;
(b) supporting parastatal bodies, in collaboration with line Ministries, in the preparation of their Performance Improvement Plan;
(c) providing support to public sector enterprises in implementing performance enhancing reforms; and
(d) monitoring the pace of the reforms and recommending corrective measures, as appropriate.
3. Cabinet has taken note of the achievements of the Price Observatory and its future orientations. The object of the Price Observatory is to stimulate competition, establish price differentials, and bring transparency in price setting. Since its inception in March 2011, the Observatory has conducted eight rounds of data collection. Price analyses have revealed that the Price Observatory has stimulated competition among outlets, reduced prices by an average of 3.3% from May to August 2011, widened the choice available to consumers, and made consumers more selective and save around 15%.
Cabinet has also taken note that the average price difference for a typical shopping basket between the cheapest and the most expensive shop-sign is Rs654, that is 17%.
4. Cabinet has taken note that the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Public Infrastructure, National Development Unit, Land Transport and Shipping would amend the Motorways and Main Roads Regulations to provide for the classification of 55 newly constructed roads and important non-classified traffic links in urban and rural conurbations as main roads in order to render the Road Development Authority responsible for the maintenance of those roads and the road drainage systems.
5. Cabinet has taken note that the World Travel Awards has awarded Mauritius as the World’s Leading Island Destination 2011 and Trou aux Biches as the Indian Ocean’s Leading Beach Destination 2011.
6. Cabinet has taken note that, in line with Government’s objective to bring reforms in the Civil Service to improve service delivery, the Ministry of Civil Service and Administrative Reforms proposes to review and streamline procedures and processes for the prescription of Schemes of Service with a view to reducing the delay in filling vacancies.
7. Cabinet has taken note that the First Coordination Meeting for the International Atomic Energy Agency Regional Project RAF/5062 on Preventing the Introduction of Exotic Fruit Fly Species and Implementing the Control of Existing Species with Sterile Insect Technique and Other Suppression Methods would be held in Mauritius from 13 to 15 February 2012. The aim of the Meeting is to share experiences on fruit fly control activities, discuss ways of strengthening sub-regional cooperation for controlling the invasion of exotic fruit fly species, and review the project activities schedule and implementation arrangements. Participants from, amongst others, Madagascar, Mozambique, the Seychelles and United Republic of Tanzania would attend the Meeting.
8. Cabinet has taken note that the Third Monitoring Workshop of the ACP FISH II Programme would be held in Mauritius in May 2012. The main objective of the Workshop is to evaluate progress in the implementation of projects under the ACP FISH II Programme by participating ACP Member States. Participants from, amongst others, Angola, Botswana, the Comoros, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, the Seychelles, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe would attend the Workshop.
Cabinet has further taken note that, under the ACP FISH II Programme, Mauritius has benefitted from Technical Assistance for the elaboration of a Fisheries Master Plan for the Republic of Mauritius, and the development of Bigeye Tuna Stock Assessment, and a Fisheries Information System.
9. Cabinet has agreed to a proposal of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Department of State to hold the Coastal East Africa Solid Waste Management Workshop in Mauritius in August 2012. The aim of the Workshop is to take stock of the Mauritian experience in landfill operation and maintenance, landfill gas to energy project, and composting and recycling. The Workshop will also address the challenges of marine litter and debris, and pollution of groundwater from leachate runoff. Participants from, amongst others, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, the Seychelles and Reunion Island would attend the Workshop.
10. Cabinet has taken note of the activities that the Ministry of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives would organize during the year 2012, which has been declared as the International Year of Cooperatives, to promote cooperative ideals, values and principles; boost up the local cooperative movement; increase the visibility of cooperatives as an alternative way of doing business and favour the development of the cooperative movement. The activities comprise, inter alia, holding of workshops; mounting of sensitization campaigns in schools and Youth Centres; holding of talks in schools; essay competitions; and sales exhibition. The theme selected by the United Nations is Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World.
11. Cabinet has taken note that, following the recent heavy rainfall, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life is carrying out an intensive anti-mosquito campaign and regular larviciding of regions with high mosquito population density to control vector-borne diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. The public is also being advised to take the usual basic sanitary precautions.