Cabinet Decisions taken on ​24 JANUARY 2020

CABI​NET DECISIONS – 24 JANUARY 2020


 





1.         Cabinet has taken note of the outcome
of the mission of the Prime Minister to UK where he attended the UK-Africa
Investment Summit. The objective of the Summit was to showcase opportunities
for investment across Africa and expertise which the UK could offer to African
countries in different sectors.  The UK Prime
Minister pointed out that apart from assisting countries in raising funds for
their projects and offering technology of all kinds, the UK had more of the
world’s top universities apart from the USA. 





 





            The Prime Minister of Mauritius
formed part of the Heads of State Panel on “African Growth Opportunities:
Generating Investment for Inclusive Growth in Africa”.  In his intervention, the Prime Minister,
inter alia, highlighted that diversification had been key to the economic
success of Mauritius and that industrialisation was imperative to start that
process. He pointed out that the gains from the textile and sugar industries
were reinvested in the development of the tourism sector, thus marking our
first steps in the services industry.  He
also underscored that Mauritius had since then, developed the tertiary sector
to include financial services, ICT-BPO and professional services. 





 





            The Prime Minister had a meeting
with the UK Prime Minister and discussed with him the Chagos Archipelago issue,
the Economic Partnership Agreement which Mauritius had concluded with the UK
together with three other countries of Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) and
assistance to Small Island Developing States to cope with the adverse effects
of climate change.  The Prime Minister
also met the Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, Secretary of State for International
Trade and President of the Board of Trade and sought assistance from the UK for
the further development of our financial sector and of Mauritius as a knowledge
hub as well as training from the UK for combating cybercrimes and drug
trafficking.





 





            In the margins of the Summit, the
Prime Minister also met the President of Egypt, Ghana, Mozambique and Senegal respectively
with whom he discussed bilateral areas of cooperation.  Prior to the UK-Africa Investment Summit, the
Prime Minister also participated in a roundtable session organised by the
Economic Development Board (EDB) and hosted by Invest Africa. The session was
attended by 45 business leaders, mainly from the financial services sector as
well as UK-based companies operating in Africa. The focus of the session was to
position Mauritius as an ideal international financial centre and business hub
for Africa.  He also participated in a
meeting organised by the EDB with Mr Bill Winters, CBE, Group Chief Executive
of Standard Chartered
Bank.  Mr Neil Mulcock, Vice-President, Government
Affairs and Policy EMEA of Gilead Sciences, had a meeting with the Prime
Minister to discuss the status of the medicine donation programme of his firm
which aims at treating and curing patients who suffer from hepatitis C in
Mauritius. 





 





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2.          Cabinet
has agreed to the adoption of a fare structure for feeder buses.  A uniform flat fare of Rs15 would be
applicable on all feeder routes irrespective of where the passenger alights or
boards.  A rebate of Rs5 would be
provided to those passengers using the feeders to connect to the light rail.





 





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3.         Cabinet has agreed to the signing of
the Reimbursable Advisory Services Agreement between the Ministry of
Agro-Industry and Food Security and the World Bank in the context of the study
on the viability of the sugar cane sector in Mauritius.  The key deliverables of the Agreement are –





 





(a)       a competitiveness assessment of the advantages
of the agro-industrial enterprises and farmers which will focus on
productivity, cost of production, opportunity costs, and revenues from
different potential market sources;





 





(b)       an analysis of the institutional
structure, performance and incentives of the various stakeholders of the sugar
cane sector, including, the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security, the
Mauritius Sugar Syndicate, the Sugar Insurance Fund Board, the Ministry of
Finance, Economic Planning and Development, the Central Electricity Board,
smallholder growers, producers, millers, employees of the various institutions,
and traders; and





 





(c)   a policy note summarising the sector
review and providing main recommendations for public policy and programmes for
the future development of the sugar cane sector as well as the development of
implementation plans for
each recommended
action.





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4.         Cabinet has agreed to the adjustment of
the rates for non-contributory benefits payable under
the Social Aid Act, the Unemployment Hardship Relief Act and the Social
Integration and Empowerment Act, in line with the salary compensation approved
by Government for part-time employees with effect from 1 January 2020.  Some 40,000 beneficiaries of social
assistance would benefit from these adjustments as well as some 12,000 children
attending schools under the Social Integration and Empowerment Act.  The relevant Regulations would be amended
accordingly.





 





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5.         Cabinet
has agreed to
Mauritius
making a yearly voluntary contribution to the United Nations Road Safety Trust
Fund.
The Fund which supports the implementation of the
Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety, benefits the world’s
citizens by leveraging the expertise of the United Nations system to achieve
the road safety related Sustainable Development Goals. The objectives include –





 





(a)       strengthening road
safety management capacity at the national and local   levels;





 





(b)       supporting
road safety programmes at the national and local levels across the five pillars of the Global Plan
for the Decade of Action for Road Safety by
providing financial support to participating institutions and organisations;         and





 





(c)    coordinating and
harmonising initiatives for the Sustainable Development Goals, and maximising the effectiveness and efficiency of the goals.





 





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6.         Cabinet
has taken note of the three-year Strategic Business Plan of the Utility
Regulatory Authority (URA).  The
Strategic Business plan has identified seven strategic key objectives, namely  –





 





(a)       recruiting, skilling and strengthening the URA team, including
the Board     members;





 





            (b)       enhancing the electricity sector legal
framework by introducing regulations for
licensing and harmonisation of existing legislation;





 





(c)        phased implementation of licensing,
developing a tariff methodology, enforcing
quality of service regulations and commercial regulation;





 





(d)       enhancing financial independence of URA
and ensuring accountability;





 





(e)       maintaining regular public engagement through
consultations, dialogue and public
relations with stakeholders and publishing regular reports;





 





(f)        developing conducive working conditions
and adopting performance tools; and





 





(g)       keeping in view the role of URA in
regulating the water and waste water sectors
in the future.





 





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7.         Cabinet has taken note that the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade in
collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
would organise a national workshop on the African Continental Free Trade Area
(AfCFTA) in May 2020.  The AfCFTA is
expected to be operational by 01 July 2020.  The objective of the AfCFTA Agreement is to
boost intra-Africa trade, promote industrialisation and achieve greater
sustainable development.  The workshop would
be an opportunity to sensitise stakeholders on the AfCFTA and the opportunities
that it would provide to Mauritius.  Some
50 participants from both the public and private sectors would attend the
workshop.  





 





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8.         Cabinet has taken note that the
Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Recreation would enlist the services
of a Consultant for the drafting of a Policy Paper on Recreation.  The main tasks of the Consultant would be to





 





(a)       carry out an
assessment of the current situation on recreational services, activities and
facilities provided by other Ministries/Departments and non-state actors; 
 





(b)       formulate a Policy on
Recreation for the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Recreation, including
strategic objectives and devise appropriate Action Plans with reference to
practices in other countries;





(c)        develop a
comprehensive and integrated strategic plan of sustainable events and
activities for different age groups with measurable goals and targets;





(d)       recommend on any
linkages that need to be put in place internally within the Ministry and with
other Ministries/Departments and with the private sector; and





(e)       provide an estimated
costing on the required institutional set-up and operational arrangements for
the implementation of the recommendations in the policy document as well as a
cost estimate of the proposed yearly events and activities over a period of
five years.





 





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9.         Cabinet has taken note of the status of the key projects and programmes
being implemented by the Ministry of Industrial Development, SMEs and
Cooperatives jointly with SME Mauritius, for the promotion and development of
the SME sector.  Various schemes have
been completed and/or are under implementation, namely –





 





 (a)      the
Mentoring and Hand-holding Programme;





 





(b)       the Communication and Visibility – Online
Presence Scheme;





 





(c)        the Technology and Skills Transfer
Scheme;





 





(d)       the Barcode Registration System;





 





(e)       the SME Certification Scheme; and





 





(f)        the SME Productivity Improvement Scheme.





 





During the period July 2018 to
November 2019, over 1,100 SMEs have already benefitted from those schemes while
some 1,300 have acquired applied knowledge and know-how in different specific
fields including crafts, skills and aquaponics. 
Under the SME Employment Scheme, implemented by SME Mauritius, a total
of 940 graduates has been placed, while 550 degree holders and 82 diploma
holders are in post as at date.  Loan to
the tune of Rs443 Million from MauBank has been approved for some 196 SMEs
under the SME Development Scheme Certificate. An SME Observatory to enhance SME
market intelligence, has also been set up at SME Mauritius since September 2019.





 





 





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10.       Cabinet has taken note of the outcome of
the recent mission of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Energy and Public
Utilities to Abu Dhabi where he participated in the 10th Assembly of
the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). 
In his message to the IRENA Assembly, the Secretary-General of the
United Nations urged all leaders to push their governments to make new
investments in innovation, and to boldly phase out subsidies and replace them
with tax incentives for renewable scale-up. 
He also urged the Assembly to continue to push for renewable energy
scale-up in all sectors. 





 





The Deputy Prime Minister made a
keynote address at the High Level Meeting
on Accelerating the Energy Transformation in Small Island Developing States through
Renewable Energy.  A Ministerial
Roundtable on Green Hydrogen and a Ministerial Session on Hydropower were also
held. 
The Deputy Prime Minister also had meetings
with HE Dr Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment
of UAE and the Director General of IRENA.





 





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11.       Cabinet has taken note of the activities
that would be organised in the context of World Cancer Day, observed on 4
February.  The theme of the World Cancer
Day campaign for the period 2019 to 2021 is
I am and I will’.  The Ministry of Health and Wellness would
launch the activities on 05 February 2020 at L’Escalier Mediclinic.  An exhibition on health lifestyle and healthy
diet would also be held.  Sensitisation
programmes on the causes and risk factors of cancer and preventive measures
would also be carried out as well as screening programmes for breast and
cervical cancer.





 





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12.       Cabinet has taken note that in the context of the National
Day Celebrations, the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Recreation
would organise a Youth Carnival on 11 March 2020.  The starting point of the Carnival
would be
Saint François Xavier Stadium in
Port Louis and it
would end at
Port
Louis Waterfront
where a flag-raising ceremony would be
organised
. The best participants in the carnival would be rewarded with cash
prizes.





 





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13.       Cabinet has taken note that the Ministry
of Social Integration, Social Security and National Solidarity would proceed
with the anti-influenza vaccination exercise during period April to May this
year. Vaccines would be provided to elderly persons aged 60 and above, children
with disabilities attending specialised schools and inmates of charitable institutions
and private licensed Homes.  The
vaccination exercise would also be extended to Rodrigues and Agalega.





 





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