Speech by Hon. A.S. Jeewah, MP, Minister of Civil Service Affairs and Administrative Reforms at the Launching of Public Officers' Welfare Council, Action Plan 2004-2005 on Thursday 27 January 2005 at 14.00 hours in the Lunch Room of the National Assembly, New Government Centre, Port Louis.
Mr Krish Ponnusamy, Senior Chief Executive and Chairman of the Public Officers' Welfare Council (POWC)
Board Members of the POWC
Mr Raj Mudhoo, Permanent Secretary
Senior Officials of my Ministry
Representatives of Trade Unions and of Staff Welfare Associations
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to address you this afternoon on the occasion of the Official Launching of the Public Officers' Welfare Council Action Plan 2004-2005. The very preparation and publication of a two-year Action Plan by the Council is indeed an achievement and a laudable initiative for which I wish to commend the Chairman and also the board members.
Since I took office in 2000, I have been strongly encouraging Ministries, Government Departments and other public bodies to come up with a Strategic Plan, with their Vision and Mission Statements well spelt out, with clear objectives and measurable targets. Such a Plan, which is spread over a number of years, not only gives transparency to the work of the organisation but is in line with the basic principles of corporate good governance. Achievements can thus be evaluated, measured and readjusted, if need be. It is rightly said that "what gets measured, gets done".
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The mission of this Government is to modernize and reinvent our country in order to make life better for all our citizens. We have obviously embarked on a wide cross-section of far-reaching reforms and renewal in strategic sectors such as education, environment, public infrastructure but also ensured that the people's welfare is well catered for.
The very existence of the Public Officers' Welfare Council is unique in itself in this part of the world. Government has not only increased the Annual Budget of the Public Officers' Welfare Council, ensured that it has headquarters of its own, provided it with the adequate complement of staff but also ensured that the item "Staff Welfare" exists in the Recurrent Budget of each Ministry and Government Department. Added together, this item only, stands at Rs 3.6 M in the present Financial Year.
As you already know, the welfare of Public Officers is high on the agenda of my Ministry. The aim is to provide a good working environment for Civil Servants.
You will no doubt appreciate that, it is for the first time that the Public Officers' Welfare Council, after thirteen years of existence, has come up with an Action Plan.
I am glad to see that the Public Officers' Welfare Council (POWC) Board keeps on innovating. It not only organises a wide spectrum of activities for both male and female Public Officers but has published several magazines and pamphlets. I am glad to note that a fourth magazine will be published by April this year.
All of us still remember the tremendous success of the Civil Service Kermesse held jointly with the "Journée Porte Ouverte" of the State House in September last. This activity has been highly praised by the President of the Republic and the experience may be renewed this year.
I am pleased to see that the Council is also investing in capacity-building by holding training in Communication Skills and also training of the leaders of Staff Welfare Associations. This will no doubt motivate you to better serve your respective associations.
You, who are the Leaders of the different Staff Welfare
Associations, certainly have an important role to play in the implementation and motivation of your staff to participate in the activities proposed in the Action Plan. Your contribution and suggestions, as mentioned by the Chairman, are of paramount importance for any future plan.
I am glad that a Chapter on Rodrigues has been included in the Action Plan. You will recall that the President of the Rodrigues Coordinating Committee on Welfare was amongst us at the Residential Seminar and his contribution has to be recognized.
The exchange and ties we have established between Mauritius and Rodrigues Public Officers will be further consolidated and strengthened, through the conduct of the activities enunciated in the Plan.
In Rodrigues also, the POWC has continued its innovations. For example, last year, for the first time, two volley-ball teams from Mauritius were given the opportunity to interact with their counterparts in Rodrigues and similarly Rodriguan Ladies Volley-ball teams visited Mauritius.
I am pleased to say that in a few days, we shall be having a working session with the Rodrigues Coordinating Committee and we shall also attend the final of the volley-ball tournament for men.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In view of the very high demand for cruises, the POWC is holding almost 12 such activities this year. In addition to Cruises to Reunion Island, several other trips around the island in order to provide additional leisure to members of the family have been planned with the collaboration of the Mauritius Shipping Corporation. I am sure you will take advantage of them.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Public Officers' Welfare Council is doing a wonderful job, without any distinction between classes and grades of Civil Servants. And, I hope that the opportunities being provided to you and to your families to interact socially in a relaxed environment through popular recreational and leisure activities will help to foster more friendship and solidarity.
I have been informed by the Chairman, that the Public Officers' Welfare Council is participating in the National Unity Award organised by the Prime Minister's Office. I wish the Council Good Luck.
With these words, I have now the pleasure to officially launch the Action Plan 2004-2005 of the Council and wish the Chairman and Members of the Public Officers' Welfare Council and all its stakeholders, best wishes in their future endeavours.
Thank you.