The Ministry’s recent move to recruit an Agriculture Director exclusively from India has ignited controversy. The announcement on the Indian High Commission’s website, posted on October 27, 2023, limits applications to India, raising concerns about potential discrimination against local candidates who meet the criteria.
Despite a significant number of Mauritius’ agriculture graduates, questions arise about discrimination against them. Statistics Mauritius reports many students pursuing agriculture degrees, yet the Ministry’s decision seems to exclude them.
The selected Indian Director would report directly to the Senior Chief Executive (SCE) of the Ministry, raising questions about accountability and decision-making processes.
The advertised position offers a monthly salary of Rs 119,500, a chauffeur-driven limousine, fuel allowance, and a monthly housing allowance ranging from Rs 8,000 to Rs 12,000. Critics question these perks for a non-civil servant and express concerns about placing a foreign national in a powerful position.
Key positions are traditionally filled through the Public Service Commission (PSC). However, the absence of this announcement on the PSC website raises eyebrows. A PSC representative claims the announcement was made but asserts no suitable candidate applied, adding to the controversy.
A former Permanent Secretary of Agriculture disapproves of hiring a foreigner, emphasising the need for a long-term vision in agricultural policy. The official questions the government’s role in approving land conversions and highlights pressures faced by officials to endorse such changes.
Critics argue that seeking a foreigner implies a lack of confidence in the government’s past agricultural policies. They emphasise the importance of local expertise and commitment in shaping the future of Mauritius’ agriculture sector.