1. Cabinet has agreed to a Committee under the chairmanship of the Minister of Arts and Culture being set up to look into the organisation of activities in connection with the designation of Le Morne as a World Heritage Site. The Committee would comprise –
(a) the Minister of Local Government; (b) the Attorney General, Minister of Justice & Human Rights; (c) the Minister of Housing & Lands; (d) the Minister of Information Technology & Telecommunications; and (e) the Minister of Youth & Sports.
2. Cabinet has taken note of developments in the implementation of phase 2 of the Ethanol/Mogas mix project, which comprises, inter alia, blending and sale of ethanol at four petrol pump stations, viz., Bell Village, Belle Vue, Flic-en-Flac and Quatre Bornes.
3. Cabinet has agreed to the National Housing Development Company Ltd (NHDC) designing and constructing about 700 low-cost core housing units, with provision for extension, for low income households across the island. The sale of the housing units would be subject to the following conditions:
(i) The beneficiary household should derive an income of less than Rs 12,000 monthly, and should not be owner of a house or of a plot of a residential land.
(ii) The beneficiary household should effect a deposit of at least 10% of the selling price.
(iii) The credit period will extend over 20 to 25 years.
(iv) The interest rate applicable to the purchaser will be between 6.5% for the first five years; 8.5% for the following five years and 10% for the remaining period of the loan with Government providing interest subsidy on interests payment on the loan for building works.
(v) Each beneficiary household will benefit from a Government grant of Rs 33,000 under the Government Sponsored Loan Scheme.
(vi) The beneficiary household will be exempted from the payment of registration duty of 5% of the sales value.
4. In the context of promoting Mauritius as “Une Ile Durable”, Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Time Bill which provides for the introduction of summer time in Mauritius. The summer time period which will be of one hour ahead of the standard time, will be aligned with that in Europe and the United States of America. It will start at two o’clock in the morning on the last Sunday of October and will end at two o’clock in the morning on the last Sunday of March the following year. The summer time for the year 2008 - 2009 will, therefore, be effective as from 26 October 2008 and end on 29 March 2009.
The summer time initiative is expected to produce gains to the country, reduce global carbon emissions, generate substantial savings in terms of energy production and consumption, and at the same time, reduce the electricity peak demand in the evening by some 15 MW.
5. Cabinet has taken note that, following representations made by inhabitants of NHDC complexes at La Tour Koenig to the Ministry of Environment & National Development Unit to the effect that black smoke was being emitted by the chimney of CMT Ltd, an Enforcement Notice has been served to the company to take appropriate remedial actions.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Ministry of Environment & National Development Unit has, on 15 July 2008, placed a Gent sampler for measuring of particulate matter in ambient air at La Tour Koenig.
On its part, in addition to installing CCTV surveillance camera on the boiler chimneys, the company is also planning to install oxygen sensors on all the chimneys to immediately detect any reduction of oxygen content on the stack emission.
6. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life and the Medical Research Foundation (Sankara Nethralaya) of Chennai, India, would sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the setting up of an Ophthalmic Centre on part of the premises of Souillac Hospital. The setting up of the hospital would benefit patients in terms of savings on air fares, welfare of patients and accompanying relatives, availability of post-operative treatment, training of the local medical and para-medical staff and transfer of technology.
7. Cabinet has taken note that, according to the last statistical bulletin, 455,758 tourists visited Mauritius in the first six months of 2008, as compared to 432,113 for the corresponding period of last year, i.e., an increase of 5.5%. For the month of June 2008, tourist arrivals reached 53,772 as compared to 52,584 for the same month in 2007, i.e. an increase of 2.2%.
Despite the unfavourable economic conditions in our main tourist-generating markets, coupled with a weak US Dollar and Pound Sterling, soaring oil and commodity prices and prospects of economic downturn, our tourist industry has registered sustained growth in its main traditional markets viz. -
(i) France (+15.4%); (ii) United Kingdom (+12.8%); (iii) Reunion Island (+9.8%); (iv) Republic of South Africa (+4.6%); (v) CIS (+16.1%); and (vi) India (+2.7%).
8. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Industry, Small & Medium Enterprises, Commerce & Cooperatives, in collaboration with the Mauritius Exports Association, would organise the Annual Conference of the International Textile Manufacturers Federation from 11 to 14 October 2008. The theme of the Conference is “Challenges for a Greener and More Sustainable Textile Industry".
The Conference provides a unique platform to assess and discuss the current state of the global textile industry, as well as its challenges and opportunities in the future.
9. Cabinet has taken note that the East, Central and Southern Africa (ECSA) Health Community, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, would organize an International Conference on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) for Member States from 20 to 24 October 2008.
The aims of the Conference are to -
(a) review the status of NCD Programmes and activities in the ECSA region;
(b) share experience and lessons learnt in the Prevention and Control of NCDs;
(c) review some best practices in NCDs Prevention and Control;
(d) review the global action on NCDs; and
(e) develop country action plans.
The main theme of the Conference will be “Tackling the Epidemic of Non-Communicable Diseases in the ECSA region and Developing an Action Agenda”.
10. Cabinet has taken note of amendments to be made to the Small Quantities Protocol in connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which allows for the strengthening of measures while maintaining the Protocol’s aim to simplify certain safeguard procedures for States with limited nuclear materials and activities.
11. Cabinet has taken note of the situation in the Shelter for Women and Children in Distress and that inmates from the Shelter of Albion, which is overcrowded, have been transferred to the new Shelter “La Colombe” at Pointe aux Sables.
12. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the following meetings held in Lusaka, Zambia, on 12 and 13 July 2008:-
(i) SADC Committee of Ministers of Trade which made an overall assessment of the implementation of the SADC Trade Protocol;
(ii) SADC Ministerial Task Force on Regional Economic Integration which considered the Terms of Reference for the mandate of activities of the four Technical Working Groups established to undertake technical works in areas, inter alia, of Common External Tariffs, revenue collection, sharing/distribution mechanism and harmonisation of the Customs Union;
(iii) Meeting of SADC Ministers Responsible for Finance and Investment which reviewed the deepening of economic integration on issues related to finance and investment; and
(iv) SADC Ministerial Task Force on Food Security which deliberated on ways and means for taking urgent actions at regional level with a view to achieving food security in a situation of growing food shortages.
13. Cabinet has taken note of the reconstitution of –
(i) the Valuation Tribunal with Mrs Shameen Banon Ayyub Hamuth-Laulloo, Acting Vice-President, Industrial Court, as Chairperson;
(ii) the Stamp Advisory Committee with Mr Roland Edmond as Chairperson; and
(iii) the National Youth Council Executive Committee with Mr Mohammad Siddique Doman as Chairperson.