An unflattering measure of the quality of governance, control and digital adoption

According to the Pay Research Bureau 2021 report, Parastatal Bodies (PSBs) are one of the main components of the Public Sector established under Acts of Parliament to serve as instruments of national policies. They play a pivotal role in the nation’s development and are involved in various areas of activities comprising, among others, industry, agriculture, commerce, tourism, health, transport, culture and education. In 2021, the Pay Research Bureau of Mauritius surveyed a total of 99 Parastatal institutions. Operating as autonomous bodies to ensure that government policies are duly implemented, each parastatal institution remains under the aegis of a Ministry.

One parastatal body which stands out in terms of performance and adoption of e-services remains the Mauritius Revenue Authority which boasts of a 32% increase of its turnover to reach Rs 2.8 Bn. Similarly, in this period of high uncertainty, the Financial Services Commission, which delivers licenses to individuals and entities seeking to carry out global business and other financial services in Mauritius, generated a turnover of Rs 1.7 Bn, an increase of 2% in a period of high uncertainty. Likewise, the Economic Development Board crossed the threshold of turnover of Rs 1 Bn. If these parastatal bodies are, by nature, well versed in budgeting, forecast and investment, other parastatal bodies have yet to attain the same degree of transparency and digital literacy acumen.

Parastatal bodies are facing numerous challenges and the Pay Research Bureau 2021 report provides with key recommendations for the country to strengthen its institutions. One such key is the deployment of the Performance Management System. The Bureau emphasises that “a proper PMS not only aims at enhancing performance but also targets at improving productivity, which consists in maximising efficiency and making optimal use of limited resources, including human capital.” However, after engaging in a survey across institutions, it “noted with much concern that nearly a decade after the overall implementation of the PMS in the public sector, around 60% of parastatal bodies have still not adopted it.” To explain this non-implementation, the survey answers came back thus: “No training provided on this subject by Management or the parent Ministry; small establishment size; no permanent staff on establishment; absence of a head at the Human Resource department; proper Human Resource Unit not set up; organisation undergoing restructuring; limited staff; no instructions from parent Ministry to implement PMS; schemes of service not yet prescribed; officers performing additional duties not falling strictly under their respective scheme of service; top salary already reached by officers; and PMS viewed as too lengthy and time consuming.

Regarding training budget, “the average usage of funds for training was 63% in the Civil Service, 35.6% in Parastatal Bodies and 64% in Local Authorities. As regards the minimum annual training requirements, more than 50% of organisations were not able to meet the target. The reasons thereof were due to insufficient budget, lack of time to organise/mount training programmes, inability to identify training courses and high workload leaving little time for training, amongst others.”

Yet, the PRB 2021 highlights that “the aim of Government is to make Mauritius an innovation-driven high-income economy, based on inclusiveness and shared prosperity. (...)The Government has in its new Programme 2020-2024 committed to, inter alia, enhance transparency and accountability mechanisms within institutions; uphold the philosophy of equity and “chances égales pour tous” to ensure merit-based selection and recruitment; and strengthen governance of parastatal institutions along with ensuring adequate and appropriate gender representation on their Board of Directors.” To attain these targets, proper implementation of tools such as e-procurement, PMS, Flexi-time; ISO certification online services and a paperless working environment could better strengthen accountability and transparency.

Rank Company name Turnover 2022 (Rs/Million) Profit before tax (Rs/Million) Financial year
1 STC 19,215,000,116.00 -471,028,098 6/30/21
2 Central Electricity Board 16,403,629,733.00 -4,196,728,028 6/30/22
3 Mauritius Revenue Authority 2,800,354,018.00 74,007,960 6/30/22
4 Road Development Authority 2,762,098,882.00 -20,912,617 6/30/23
5 Central Water Authority 2,083,850,383.00 -238,363,072 6/30/19

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