1. Cabinet has taken note of the Programme of the State Visit of HE Mr S.R. Nathan, President of the Republic of Singapore, from 4 to 7 June 2011. He would lead a delegation comprising a Minister, a Junior Minister, three Members of Parliament, officials from the Presidency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and representatives of the Singapore Business Federation. During his visit, the President of the Republic of Singapore would pay a courtesy call on the President of the Republic, have a meeting with the Prime Minister, lay a wreath at the Memorial of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, address the National Assembly and participate in a business meeting. The University of Mauritius would confer the degree of honoris causa to the President of Singapore.
2. Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry of Education and Human Resources is reviewing the current policy on the standardization of textbooks for the Secondary School Sector. Under the new system, Heads of Schools would be empowered to prescribe textbooks in accordance with established guidelines and parameters and taking into consideration the level of ability and learning aptitudes of students. Necessary adjustments would be made to the Book Loan Scheme for the provision of textbooks to needy students. The Ministry of Education and Human Resources has also put up a new monitoring mechanism to prescribe new books and issue new guidelines to schools.
3. Cabinet has taken note of the status in the preparation of the Action Plan for Energy 2011-2025. The elaboration of the Action Plan is a requirement for the disbursement of funds under the General Budget Support Programme of the financing agreement of the European Union “Promoting Sustainable and Equitable Development”. The Action Plan would include developments in the energy sector and progress achieved in the implementation of certain projects, such as the setting up of wind farms, a gas to energy plant at Mare Chicose landfill site, the feed in tariff for small power producers, the enactment of the Energy Efficiency Act, the preparation of building codes and an energy audit management.
4. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Senior Citizens Council (Amendment) Bill which aims at amending the Senior Citizens Council Act with a view to, inter alia, –
(a) empowering the Council to set up and manage day care centres, recreation centres and other institutions for senior citizens;
(b) providing for an increase in the number of elected representatives of member organisations and appointed independent persons on the Executive Committee; and
(c) enabling the Council to raise money by means of fund-raising activities.
5. Cabinet has taken note that, with a view to responding to the needs of the community, the Pont Lardier Empowerment Centre would also accommodate a Community Centre and provide social, recreational, cultural, educational and economic activities. The Centre would be equipped with IT facilities, with Internet free of charge. The Centre would, henceforth, be known as Pont Lardier Community Empowerment Centre.
6. Cabinet has agreed to the introduction into the National Assembly of the Preliminary Inquiry (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill which aims at amending the Courts Act, the Criminal Procedure Act and the District and Intermediate Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act to provide for the Director of Public Prosecutions to decide, at his sole discretion, whether or not a preliminary inquiry shall be held before a person is made to stand trial before a Judge and a jury.
7. Cabinet has taken note that the Price Observatory is currently finalizing a list of 60 commodities comprising frequently purchased products, products to reflect changes in consumer habits, and local products, which would be priced and made public.
8. Cabinet has taken note of the list of Public Holidays for the year 2012.
Sunday 1 January
Monday 2 January
Chinese Spring Festival
Monday 23 January
Abolition of Slavery
Wednesday 1 February
Tuesday 7 February
Monday 20 February
Monday 12 March
Friday 23 March
Tuesday 1 May
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Wednesday 15 August
Sunday 19 August
Thursday 20 September
Arrival of Indentured Labourers
Friday 2 November
Tuesday 13 November
Tuesday 25 December
*The exact date of this festival is subject to confirmation as its celebration depends on the visibility of the moon.
9. Cabinet has taken note of the project paper that would be submitted to the European Union to secure funds under the Millennium Development Goals Initiative. A 3-year Comprehensive Programme would be developed to address four of the Millennium Development Goals initiatives, i.e., infant mortality, maternal health, access to water and sanitation, and reducing hunger, and targeting poorest families in Mauritius and Rodrigues.
10. Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment would lay ILO Recommendation 200 on HIV and AIDS and the World of Work, adopted at the 99th Session of the International Labour Conference, on the table of the National Assembly in line with the ILO constitutional obligation for Member States. The Recommendations, which are non-binding, provide orientation for national policy and legislation in respect of HIV and AIDS in the world of work, viz.,-
(a) there should be no discrimination against, or stigmatization of workers, in particular, jobseekers and job applicants, with regard to HIV and AIDS;
(b) prevention of all means of HIV transmission should be a fundamental priority;
(c) workers, their families and dependants should enjoy protection of privacy, including confidentiality, related to HIV and AIDS, in particular, with regard to their own HIV status; and
(d) no workers should be required to undertake HIV test or disclose their HIV status.
11. Cabinet has taken note of the status in the setting up of a National Technical Regulatory Framework. A Steering Committee has been set up to, inter alia, identify possible needs for technical regulations, make recommendations to Government regarding ratification and publication of technical regulations, and facilitate exchange of information on draft regulations, existing technical regulations and future technical regulations amongst regulatory bodies and other stakeholders.
12. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade to Zambia, where he participated in the Ministerial Meeting on the Mid-Term Review of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The purpose of the Meeting was to assess the performance of Sub-Saharan African countries under the AGOA preference since its inception. The Meeting recommended, inter alia, that -
(a) the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union should conduct a study on post-2015 scenarios in case the duration of AGOA is not extended and the third country fabric derogation, if it is not renewed in 2012;
(b) AGOA rules of origin for fisheries should be relaxed so that fish and fish products can have effective market to the US;
(c) the US should consider the cumulation of Rules of Origin that allows sourcing of inputs from more competitive non-African beneficiary countries of US preferences; and
(d) AGOA eligible countries should improve their productive capabilities as well as diversify and expand their production base, including that of the infrastructure development in order to enhance market access.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade also participated in the meeting of COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Ministerial Committee which -
(a) reviewed progress in the implementation of the decisions of the First Tripartite Summit held in Kampala, Uganda in October 2008; and
(b) prepared necessary documents for the Second Tripartite Summit which would be held in South Africa on 12 June 2011, when negotiations on the Tripartite Free Trade Area would be launched.
13. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the First Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Nuclear Energy held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 4 May 2011. The issues considered at the Meeting were, inter alia, –
(a) the Rules of Procedure;
(b) the Proposed Structure; and
(c) the Programme of Work 2011-2013 of the African Commission on Nuclear Energy.
14. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions to Rodrigues. The objective of the visit was to take stock of the situation regarding the sectors falling under the purview of her Ministry and to strengthen the network between her Ministry and the Commission dealing with Social Security. During her visit, the Minister had, inter alia, a working session with Mrs M.D.L.C. Meunier, Commissioner responsible, inter alia, for Social Security, launched the Respite Care Programme for Persons with Disabilities and the Training Programme on Disability Assessment for Medical Officers, and inaugurated the NGO Resource Centre at La Ferme. The Minister also met members of the Rodrigues Federation of Senior Citizens and visited three centenarians.
15. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Fisheries and Rodrigues to Brussels where he participated in the Ministerial Conference held in the context of the reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy. The aim of the Conference was to bring together Ministers responsible for fisheries from partner countries operating a Fisheries Partnership Agreement with the European Union. The issues discussed were –
(a) Ensuring sustainable resource conservation in third country waters;
(b) Improving and strengthening the Fisheries Partnership Governance Framework; and
(c) Reshaping the EU support to the development of a sustainable fisheries policy.
In the margins of the Conference, the Minister of Fisheries and Rodrigues had a bilateral meeting with Ms Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, on issues pertaining to Fisheries Partnership Agreement, Tuna Derogation for 2011, Piracy in the Indian Ocean and the Regional Fisheries Management Organisations.
16. Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of the recent mission of the Minister of Civil Service and Administrative Reforms to Kenya where he participated in the 7th Conference of African Ministers of Public/Civil Service which aims at supporting public administration in Africa through initiation of reforms, codes and standards. The Conference adopted a Declaration undertaking and reaffirming commitments for action to implement the African Charter for Values and Principles of Public Service and Administration.
Cabinet has further taken note that the Mobile Clinic of the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life was awarded the AU Africa Public Sector Innovation Awards in the category of Innovative Service Delivery.