1. Cabinet has taken note that the Mauritius Cane Industry Authority Act would be proclaimed to take effect from 19 March 2012.
Cabinet has also taken note of measures taken by the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security for the implementation of the Act which provides for the merger of the cess-funded institutions, and the setting up of the Mauritius Cane Industry Authority to take over the functions of those institutions.
Cabinet has further taken note of the various options and the social package that have been worked out in consultation with the Common Front of Unions of the Service Providing Institutions, and would be offered to employees who wish to join the Authority or retire. Employees who opt to retire would be entitled to a grant for a period of two years to enable them to reskill and a business plan grant under the SMEDA Scheme.
Cabinet has also taken note of the constitution of the following Board and Committees set up under the Mauritius Cane Industry Authority Act.
(a) the Board of the Mauritius Cane Industry Authority with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security as Chairperson;
(b) the Research and Development Committee with Prof D. Jhurry, CSK, as Chairperson; and
(c) the Control and Arbitration Committee with the Solicitor General as Chairperson.
2. Cabinet has taken note that diesel with a sulphur content not exceeding 50 parts per million (ppm) would be introduced for automobile use in Mauritius with a view to promoting cleaner and more energy efficient vehicles. The introduction of the 50-ppm diesel grade will position Mauritius as the first country in the African Sub-Saharan region to take the initiative to reduce vehicular emission and ensure better air quality.
3. Cabinet has agreed to the request of the Board of the Chagossian Welfare Fund to rename the Pointe aux Sables Chagossian Community Centre after late Mrs Marie Lisette Talate, MSK, in recognition of her relentless struggle for the welfare of the Chagossian Community.
4. Cabinet has agreed to the submission of the Nomination Dossier for the inscription of the Indentured Immigration Records of the Republic of Mauritius on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register as recommended by the World Heritage Committee at the time of the inscription of the Aapravasi Ghat on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The Indentured Immigration Records provide exceptional documentation of the great experiment undertaken in Mauritius during the 19th century to replace the slaves with indentured labour.
5. Cabinet has taken note of the status in the implementation of the integrated water management framework in Mauritius which aims at improving the management of water resources, reducing water losses, achieving better planning to meet future demands and ensuring water supply on a 24/7 basis.
6. Cabinet has taken note of the status in the implementation of the Jinfei Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone Project. A Committee under the Chairmanship of the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Economic Development has been set up to work out a new master plan for the development of the project which would additionally become a service centre to facilitate Chinese interaction with Africa, attract Chinese firms operating in Africa to open their regional headquarters, and facilitate the setting up of capacity building initiatives for Africa.
7. Cabinet has taken note of the status of various development projects, such as resurfacing of roads and construction of foothpaths, drains, children's playgrounds and boulodromes, being implemented around the country by local authorities.
8. Cabinet has agreed to the setting up an Inter-Sectoral Committee to develop and implement an employment programme for high-end and skilled jobs with the United Arab Emirates and enhance such existing agreements with other countries with a view to widening employment opportunities for Mauritians.
Cabinet has also agreed to the development of a database to identify areas where our diaspora could contribute to the economic and social development through the creation of viable employment locally and by facilitating access and providing support to Mauritians who have been offered employment abroad.
9. Cabinet has taken note of arrangements being made by the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions for the vaccination of inmates of charitable institutions, children attending specialized schools and elderly persons aged 60 and above against influenza in view of the forthcoming winter season.
10. Cabinet has taken note of the status in the allocation of the Special Grant to the Parent Teacher’s Association of each and every Government Primary School and State Secondary School as announced in Budget Speech 2012. The Grant will be used for the renovation and improvement of the school infrastructural environment and the purchase of modern pedagogical/ICT equipment to enhance teaching and learning. As at 2 March 2012, 192 out of 212 primary schools, and 67 out of 69 secondary schools have already submitted their project proposals and an amount of Rs39,598,130 has been disbursed.
11. Cabinet has taken note of the findings of the tenth pricing survey conducted by the Price Observatory. The survey included a new list of outlets and products. The main findings of the survey revealed that the average cost of the 55 targeted products decreased by 0.1%; the average cost of 15 branded products decreased by 1.3%; the price difference between the cheapest and the highest-priced outlet was 31%; and the cheapest districts are Grand Port, Plaines Wilhems and Pamplemousses.
12. Cabinet has taken note that, according to the last statistical bulletin, 79,331 tourists visited Mauritius in February 2012 as compared to 77,390 for the corresponding period in 2011, i.e., an increase of 2.5%. Growth has been registered in the following tourist markets: France (+8.8%), Spain (+67.6%), Czech Republic (+49.4%), Russia (+75.1%), Brazil (+62.8%), USA (+2.9%) and Reunion Island (+9.9%).
13. Cabinet has taken note that negotiations with the French authorities on the finalization of an Extradition Treaty and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with France would be held in April 2012.
14. Cabinet has agreed to Agalean employees of the Outer Islands Development Corporation being reported upon by the Pay Research Bureau Report on expiry of the Collective Agreement governing their terms and conditions of employment on 30 June 2013.
15. Cabinet has agreed to the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment amending the Occupational Safety and Health Act with a view to making provisions for better enforcing safety and health legislation, improving the service delivery of the Ministry and providing for harsher penalties for non-compliance with the legislation.
16. Cabinet has taken note of the activities that would be organized by the Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities in the context of the World Water Day, observed on 22 March, viz. -
(a) a Forum and an exhibition on the theme Water and Food Security;
(b) a seminar on water and related issues;
(c) open days at La Marie Treatment Plant for primary and secondary school students; and
(d) a sensitization campaign by AREU on Rain Water Harvesting.
The theme chosen by UN this year is Water and Food Security.
17. Cabinet has taken note of the activities that would be organized on the occasion of the Journée Internationale de la Francophonie on 20 March 2012, viz. –
(a) La Semaine de la Langue Française organized by l’Institut Français and the French Embassy comprising quiz competitions, dictation, film shows, and concert/songs on Francophonie;
(b) a round table on the French language competition by Campus Numerique, l’Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie and the Mauritius Institute of Education;
(c) Seminars/workshops on entrepreneurship by the Institut de la Francophonie pour l’Entreprenariat; and
(d) a cultural Inter-CLAC programme by the Ministry of Arts and Culture.
The theme chosen for this year is Le Rayonnement de la langue Française.
18. Cabinet has taken note that the University of Mauritius, in collaboration with the Hochschule fur Technik and Wirtschaft (University of Applied Science, Berlin) and the Deutsche Akademischer Austausch Dienst (Gerrman Academic Exchange), would hold an International Workshop on Perspectives Emerging Markets from 12 to 14 June 2012. The objective of the Workshop is to discuss latest research and the way forward on critical economic and financial issues pertaining to emerging economies and issues of particular interest encompassing financial crisis, financial development, trade policies, regional integration, growth determinants of emerging economies and exchange rate policies. International scholars, professionals and practitioners in the field of finance and economic development from Brazil, Chili, China, Germany, India, Jordan, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and the representatives of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development would attend the Workshop.
19. Cabinet has agreed to Mauritius making an offer to the African Union Commission to host the proposed African Institute for Remittances. The proposed African Institute for Remittances, an initiative sponsored by several donors including the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the International Organization for Migration, aims at building capacity of central banks to improve collection of data on remittance flows and of microfinance institutions and post offices to work with remittance services, as well as, promoting an appropriate legal and regulatory framework for remittances and use of technology.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Global Forum on Migration and Development Summit would be held in Mauritius on 26 and 27 November 2012. The Summit would discuss, inter alia, issues pertaining to Circulating Labour for Inclusive Development, Factoring Migration into Development Planning, and Managing Migration and Migrant Protection for Human Development Outcomes. The following events would also be held back-to-back to the Summit –
(a) a World Bank High Level Forum on Diaspora and Investment;
(b) a Workshop on Mainstreaming Migration into Development sponsored by the Swiss Government, UNDP and UNHCR; and
(c) a Brainstorming Workshop sponsored by UNECA for the Informal Working Group on African Migration Issues.
20. Cabinet has taken note that the Fifth Edition of the Public Service Excellence Award was launched on 22 July 2011 under the theme Achieving Excellence through Modernisation. As at the closing date on 31 January 2012, thirty-three entries from various Ministries/Departments/Units/Divisions have been received. A Panel of Jury under the chairmanship of Mr Ravin Dajee, CSK, Managing Director, Barclays Bank, has been set up to evaluate the entries. The Public Service Excellence Award, first launched in October 2006 following an announcement made by Dr the Hon N. Ramgoolam, GCSK, FRCP, Prime Minister, aims at recognizing excellence and innovation and promoting a performance-oriented culture in the Public Service.
21. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security to Rome, Italy where he participated in the Thirty-Fifth Session of International Fund for Agricultural Development Governing Council. The theme of the Meeting was Sustainable Smallholder Agriculture: Feeding the world, protecting the planet.
In view of the increase in population projected to reach 9.3 billion in 2050, and the high cost to maintain crop yields by small farmers, the Meeting agreed to Governments, civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations increasing investment in smallholder agricultural and rural development on a long term basis to eradicate poverty and hunger and stimulate sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
Cabinet has also taken note that for the first time Mauritius has been elected in the Executive Board of IFAD which is responsible for the conduct of the general operations of the Fund.
22. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology to New Delhi, India where he participated in the India-Africa Science and Technology Ministers’ Conference. The aim of the Conference was to provide a platform for discussing opportunities and developing value-based relationship in science, technology and capacity building which India can offer in partnership with African countries.
In the margins of the Conference, the Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology had meetings with, inter alia, -
(a) Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh, Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences on the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on Science and Technology Corporation signed during the recent visit of the Prime Minister to India;
(b) the Director of the IIT on developments on the setting up of an IIT-like institution in Mauritius. ITT has agreed to allocate 70 seats to highly qualified Mauritian graduates for Master’s degree in key areas of study; and
(c) the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Patna who agreed to offer courses to Mauritians in Biotechnology, Life Sciences, and Arts and Craft.
23. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Information and Communication Technology to Barcelona, Spain, where he participated in the Global System for Mobile Communications Association Mobile World Congress 2012. The Congress featured, inter alia, dedicated tracks on applications, cloud computing, embedded mobile, mobile advertising, mobile health, mobile money and next-generation technologies, as well as, sessions exploring business strategy, developing markets, devices, network capacity, social media and regional issues. The Ministerial Programme brought together Governments, regulators and industry leaders to discuss the specific regulatory issues shaping the development of mobile around the world. This year, the Programme was expanded to include greater emphasis on regional issues and hands-on workshops to provide the opportunity for in-depth policy discussions between nations.
In the margins of the Meeting, the Minister of Information and Communication Technology held bilateral meetings with Mrs Suvi Linden, International Telecommunication Union Special Envoy to the Broadband Commission for Digital Development and former Minister of ICT of Finland, on the National Broadband Policy 2012-2020, and Ms Nancy Sundberg, Programme Manager at the Sector Reform Unit, Telecommunication Development Bureau of the ITU.
24. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Tourism and Leisure to Berlin, Germany where he attended the 46th ITB Fair, one of the most important annual tourism events in Europe. During the Fair, the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority concluded a series of new marketing measures to market Mauritius as a leading honeymoon and Golf destination, held the Mauritius Marathon and mounted sensitization campaigns.
Cabinet has further taken note that Mauritius won the No. 1 Honeymoon Destination Worldwide Award from DERTOUR, a member of the REWE-Group, and the second leading group in the German market.
25. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the mission of the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection to the Republic of Tanzania, the Republic of Kenya and Uganda where he led Buyers Sellers Meetings. The main objectives of the Meetings were to, inter alia, reposition Mauritius as an exporter of quality products in the SADC/COMESA region, and support SMEs in their export drive and enable them to explore business opportunities.
In the margins of the Buyers Sellers Meetings, the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection had discussions with Dr the Hon Cyril Chami, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Republic of Tanzania, and the Hon Chirau Ali Mwakwere, Minister of Trade of the Republic of Kenya, on Joint Trade Commission with the respective countries.
26. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the Seventh Indo-Mauritian Joint Hydrographic Committee Meeting held in Mauritius from 22 to 24 February 2012, when, inter alia, the following issues were discussed – the Hydrographic survey requirements for 2012, capacity building for the newly set up of Hydrographic Survey Unit of Mauritius and provision for a survey motor boat for Mauritius.
27. Cabinet has taken note of the following appointments:
(a) Mrs Gaitree Jugessur-Manna, Assistant Solicitor General as Chairperson of the Medical Disciplinary Tribunal;
(b) Mr Marc Hein as Chairperson of the Financial Services Commission;
(c) Mrs Roshida Bibie Domah as Member of the Independent Commission Against Corruption;
(d) Mr Vinod Boyjonauth as Chief Executive Officer of the Mauritius Cane Industry Authority; and
(e) Mr Bijaye Coomar Madhou as Director General of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute/Rabindranath Tagore Institute.