1. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam, GCSK, FRCP, Prime Minister, to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he participated in the Sixteenth Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union. He led a delegation comprising, inter alia, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade and Mr Olivier Bancoult, OSK, Leader of the Groupe Refugiés Chagos. Amongst the distinguished personalities present were Mr N. Sarkozy, President of the Republic of France as Chief Guest, and Mr Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations.
The theme of the Sixteenth AU Summit was “Towards Greater Unity and Integration Through Shared Values”. The key issues discussed included Peace and Security in Africa, Celebrations of 2010 African Year of Peace and Security, Prevention and Combating of Terrorism, UN Security Council Reform, Climate Change, the International Criminal Court, the transformation of the African Union Commission into the African Union Authority and the Centenary of the African National Congress. As regards peace and security in Africa, the Summit reviewed, inter alia, the situation in Madagascar, the Comoros, Somalia, Sudan, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Tanzania.
On the issue of our claim on sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago, the Prime Minister emphasized that the Chagos Archipelago had been excised by the colonial power in total disregard and in complete violation of the United Nations Declaration on the granting of independence to former colonies and peoples that prohibit colonial powers to dismember a colony prior to granting independence. He highlighted the plight of the Chagossians who were forcibly removed from their ancestral land. Whilst re-affirming that the Chagos Archipelago, including Diego Garcia, forms an integral part of the territory of the Republic of Mauritius, the Prime Minister indicated that, notwithstanding the strong opposition expressed by the Republic of Mauritius, the United Kingdom has proceeded with the establishment of a ‘Marine Protected Area’ around the Chagos Archipelago on 1 November 2010, which further impedes the exercise by the Republic of Mauritius of its sovereignty rights over the Archipelago. He added that Mauritius has taken a legal initiative and challenged the legality of the purported 'Marine Protected Area'. A resolution on the Chagos Archipelago was endorsed by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government. The Resolution reads as follows: Resolution
2. Cabinet has taken note that the new building housing the Nelson Mandela Centre for African Culture at La Tour Koenig would be inaugurated by Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam, GCSK, FRCP, Prime Minister, on 20 February 2011. The foundation stone of the building was laid by HE Mr Nelson Mandela during his visit to Mauritius in September 1998.
3. Cabinet has taken note that, following a matter raised by the Prime Minister at the last African Union Summit, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, in his capacity as Chair of the Indian Ocean Commission Council of Ministers, would lead a high level delegation, comprising, amongst others, the Executive Secretary of SADC, to Madagascar to pursue further consultations with all stakeholders in order to push forward the Malgacho-Malgache dialogue for a durable solution to the political crisis there.
4. Cabinet has agreed to the subsidy scheme on livestock feed, introduced in October 2009 following the closure of Richelieu Livestock Feed Factory, being extended in line with Government’s policy to assist small cow breeders, goat keepers and pig breeders.
5. Cabinet has taken note of the performance of the Export-Oriented Enterprises Sector in 2010 as compared to 2009:
(a) Total exports increased from Rs35.97 billion to Rs40.03 billion, i.e., an increase of 11.3%.
(b) The value of exports of the Textile and Clothing Sub-Sector increased from Rs23.07 billion to Rs24.48 billion, i.e., an increase of 6.1%.
(c) The volume of exports of textile yarns and fabrics increased by 1.6% from 7,570 tons to 7,688 tons and, in terms of value, from Rs1.57 billion to Rs1.87 billion, i.e., by 19.4%.
(d) Exports of fish and fish preparations registered an increase of 18.9% and 14.5% in terms of volume and value, respectively.
(e) Exports of other manufactured articles, namely pearls and precious stones; jewellery; optical goods; watches, clocks and toys; and games and sporting goods increased by 51.5%, 64.6%, 8.1%, 40.2% and 1.9%, respectively.
(f) The United Kingdom, France and the USA, the main export markets, registered an increase of 4.7%, 12% and 36.2% in value terms, respectively.
6. Cabinet has taken note that, according to the last statistical bulletin, 101,887 tourists visited Mauritius in January 2011 as compared to 91,857 in January 2010, i.e., an increase of 10.9%. Growth has been registered in the following tourist markets : France (+10.8%), Germany (+12.0%), Belgium (+17.1%), India (+17.2%), China (+72.7%), the Russian Federation (+102.0%), the Republic of South Africa (+35.0%) and Reunion Island (+11.7%).
7. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Housing and Lands would promulgate the Land Surveyors (Diplomas) Regulations to prescribe the academic and professional qualifications under which a person is granted a Commission to function as a Land Surveyor.
8. Cabinet has taken note that, in line with Government Programme 2010-2015, the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security, in collaboration with the FAO, is reengineering its technical Departments/Units with a view to improving the delivery and the quality of services offered to the agricultural community. In this context, a team from the FAO, led by Mr Geraldo Calegar, Senior Policy Officer, is in Mauritius to have consultations with officers of the various technical Departments/Units and the parastatal bodies operating under the aegis of the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security, as well as the farming community.
9. Cabinet has taken note that the Eighth Session of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO’s Regional Committee for the Western Indian Ocean would be held from 09 to 11 May 2011 in Mauritius. The following issues, amongst others, would be discussed at the Meeting –
(a) dissemination of ocean and coastal data generated by national, regional and global programmes;
(b) the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System;
(c) mobilization of resources in the Indian Ocean region; and
(d) implementation of the Programme of Work of the Commission, particularly prevention of reduction of impacts of natural hazards, mitigation of the impacts of and adaptation to climate change, and safeguarding the health of ocean systems.
Around 40 participants from Member States of the Commission are expected to attend the Meeting.
10. Cabinet has taken note of measures taken by the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security to protect fruit crops and to cull bats to prohibit the species from reaching pest level.
11. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the implementation of the Trade (Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Measures) Act, particularly the establishment of the Investigating Authority, the preparation of relevant guidelines and questionnaires to support the filing of applications for trade remedy investigations and capacity building.
12. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of negotiations on the conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement between Mauritius and Turkey, held in January 2011, when bilateral safeguard measures, market access, importation of canned tuna and the Protocol on Rules of Origin were discussed. Mauritius would benefit from a number of preferences, including –
(a) duty free quota free on all industrial products, with the exception of 60 textiles products which would be subject to tariff dismantlement over four years;
(b) duty free access on a list of some 40 agricultural products, including raw fish, vegetables, palm heart and tropical fruits; and
(c) 20% margin of preference on canned tuna, with unlimited quota access.
13. Cabinet has taken note of activities that would be organized by the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security to mark the World Wetlands Day, commemorated on 2 February, viz., -
(a) exhibitions, talks and sensitization campaigns on the importance of wetlands;
(b) opening of the Rivulet Terre Rouge Estuary Bird Sanctuary Visitors Centre to the public during weekends and public holidays and the construction of birds hides to facilitate the watching of migratory birds at a closer distance; and
(c) declaration of Pte d’Esny as a wetland of international importance.
14. Cabinet has taken note that the United Nations General Assembly has declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests. In this connection, the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security would organise a series of activities during the course of the year to sensitize the public on the importance of trees and forests to protect watersheds, in carbon sequestration, improving the atmosphere, as well as recreation and leisure, namely –
(a) sensitization campaigns on the importance of trees and forests and their conservation;
(b) inauguration of nature walks at Ile d’Ambre and Plaine Sophie, near Mare aux Vacoas;
(c) talks in the Visitors’ Centres of the National Park and Nature Walks followed by guided tours;
(d) exhibition on forest and terrestrial biodiversity in the National Park;
(e) embellishment of highways, bus stops and other public places;
(f) inauguration of seed bank at Robinson; and
(g) construction of birds hides at the Rivulet Terre Rouge Estuary Bird Sanctuary.
15. Cabinet has taken note of the findings of the Non-Communicable Diseases Survey for Rodrigues conducted in November/December 2009. The main highlights of the Survey are -
(a) about 3,500 persons have diabetes; the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is 16.5% and impaired glucose metabolism, that is, those who are pre-diabetic, 22.8%;
(b) amongst known cases of diabetes, 41% is having poor control;
(c) the prevalence of hypertension is 40.2%;
(d) men follow treatment for hypertension less frequently than women;
(e) the prevalence of obesity is 29.0% and overweight 37.5%;
(f) the prevalence of elevated total cholesterol is 19.5% and elevated triglycerides is 9.0%;
(g) 1 in 4 Rodriguans has, at least, one abnormality in one of the four lipids, putting him at increased risk of cardiovascular disease;
(h) the prevalence of current smoking is 21.7%, and 42.5% of the population is reported to be consuming an alcoholic drink; and
(i) albuminuria has been detected in 5% of the surveyed population.
The Rodrigues Regional Assembly is being requested to set up a high level Multi-Sectoral Health Promotion Committee to prepare an Action Plan to address the issue of Non-Communicable Diseases and intensify awareness campaigns on health diet and physical activity.
16. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment would promulgate the Non-Citizens (Work Permits) (Deposits) (Amendment) Regulations to review the quantum being claimed by his Ministry as deposit from employers in respect of expatriate workers and to allow for a surcharge of 10% of the amount due in the event an employer fails to top up the existing deposits.
17. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Economic Development to Paris where he participated in the Sixth Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy. He also led an Investment Promotion Mission in Paris and London.
The aim of Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy was to bring together different State and private sector organisations with interest on the issue of Intellectual Property Rights. The theme of the Congress was Building Respect for IP - Sustainable Solutions to a Global Problem.
The main objectives of the Investment Promotion Mission were to meet the investor community of France and the UK with a view to imparting the new economic policy of Government and the new pillars that Mauritius is developing and promoting to achieve greater economic growth.
18. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the delegation led by the Minister of Industry and Commerce and comprising, amongst others, the Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology, to Tanzania and Kenya in the context of the Buyers’ and Sellers’ Meetings. The aim of the mission was to reposition Mauritius as an exporter of quality products in the region. Thirty-three local companies had participated in the Meetings.
In Tanzania, the Minister of Industry and Commerce met the Hon Cyril Chami, Minister of Industry and Trade and explored areas of cooperation, in various fields, whilst in Kenya he met the Hon Robinson Njeru Githae, Minister for Nairobi Metropolitan Development with whom he discussed investment opportunities and bilateral issues.
The Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology conducted promotion campaigns to market and promote Mauritius as a Knowledge Hub and a Centre of Excellence in tertiary education. He had discussions with Dr Shukuru Kawambwa, Minister of Education and Vocational Training and Dr Makame M. Mbarawa, Minister of Communication, Science and Technology, Tanzania and visited, amongst others, the University of Dar-es-Salaam, the Kenyatta University, the Precious Blood Girls’ High School and the Moi Girls’ High School. Various agreements were finalized for the exchange of academia and students, research and collaborative programmes.
In the margins of the Buyers’ and Sellers’ Meetings in Tanzania and Kenya, Memoranda of Understanding were signed between the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Tanzania and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and the Board of Investment, the Kenya Investment Authority and the Tanzania Investment Centre.
19. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent visit of the Minister of Health and Quality of Life to the Institute for Women’s Health, University College London, UK in the context of the setting up of an Institute for Women's Health in Mauritius. The Institute for Women’s Health, UK, has agreed to provide assistance in the setting up of a similar Institute in Mauritius. The Minister of Health and Quality of Life also visited the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève, Geneva, which provides intensive care to patients with stroke. The Hospital would assist in the setting up of a Stroke Unit at the Victoria Hospital and provide training to medical and paramedical staff in Geriatric Services.
20. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of the National Economic and Social Council.
21. Cabinet has taken note that Mr Richard Driver and Mr Navin Ramsoondur have been appointed Member of the Board of the Mauritius Sports Council, in replacement to Mr Henri Richard Norbert Froget who, has been elected Mayor of the Municipal Council of Beau Bassin/Rose Hill, and Mr Viraj Ramharai, respectively.