05.02.18

Seychelles’ resort wins a top award for species and habitat conservation

Posted in Tourism industry at 8:13 pm by Robert Klien

North Island has won gold at African Responsible Tourism Awards 2018 held last week in South Africa.

This Seychelles’ luxury private-island resort was granted the top award in the ‘Best for Aquatic Species & Habitat Conservation’ category.

“This prestigious award comes at a momentous time in North Island’s history. As we celebrate 21 years of luxury sustainable tourism, we could not be more proud to have been recognised for our ongoing commitment to our Noah’s Ark island rehabilitation programme,” said Bruce Simpson, the managing director of North Island. He added that pushing the boundaries of marine conservation and endeavouring to be a role model to others across the worldwil go on.

The ceremony of the African Responsible Tourism Awards, which aims at celebrating and inspiring change in the African tourism industry, was held last Wednesday at the World Travel Market Africa in Cape Town, South Africa.

North Island, located 27 kilometres north-west of Seychelles’ main island of Mahe, was a former colonial plantation. It was bought in 1997 by the South African ecotourism company Wilderness Safaris. The island is now an exclusive eco-tourism resort accessible only by helicopter and regularly patronised by the rich and famous.

 

04.11.18

Seychelles advised to redouble BEPS efforts

Posted in Business and Economy, Double Taxation Agreements, International Organisations, International relations at 8:06 pm by Robert Klien

The Seychelles has been told to deploy more resources to implement recommendations from the OECD on base erosion and profit shifting.

Ingela Willfors, a UN tax expert from the Swedish Ministry of Finance, held discussions on implementation with the Seychelles’ Minister of Finance, Trade, and Economic Planning and in particular on revising the territory’s double tax agreements (DTAs) through the BEPS multilateral instrument to implement tax treaty-related measures to prevent BEPS.

Following an earlier 5-day visit, Willfors identified that Seychelles currently lacks the resources and capacity to effectively implement the OECD’s recommendations. She recommended that authorities focus on those measures that must be implemented to meet international best standards – namely the BEPS minimum standards, on preventing treaty abuse, the introduction of country-by-country reporting rules, improving dispute resolution mechanisms, and tackling harmful tax practices.

The Seychelles has for the past 2years received support from Sweden on BEPS, as part of a twinning program.

03.15.18

Kempinski Seychelles Resort wins award for being eco-friendly

Posted in Tourism industry at 8:18 pm by Robert Klien

The Kempinski Seychelles Resort has been granted the Luxury Travel Guide’s Eco-Friendly Hotel Award for Seychelles.

“The Luxury Travel Guide Awards represent the pinnacle of hospitality achievement, championing the best in their respective fields. Therefore, to come out on top is truly an achievement we are proud of,” said the general manager of the hotel, Masami Egami.

The award, which recognises the resort’s efforts to adopt sustainable practices, was announced late last month.

Kempinski Seychelles Resort has adopted some sustainable practice including having its own on-site water-treatment plant to recycle water, which is used for landscaping purposes.

In 2017, the hotel invested in a number of green technologies for water and energy conservation.

The resort’s Plant-a-Tree Programme is another initiative introduced to off-set some of its operational carbon emissions while aiming to restore natural habitats, protect indigenous wildlife and to educate guests about Seychelles’ biodiversity. Guests staying at the resort are also encouraged to adopt sustainable practices while staying on the island.

It is worth reminding that in 2017 the hotel was awarded its 3rd consecutive Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label and achieved Bronze Benchmark status through Earth Check, the world’s leading environmental management and professional services group for the travel and tourism industry.

01.26.18

President of Seychelles to attend AU summit in Ethiopia

Posted in International relations, Seychelles government at 9:41 pm by Robert Klien

The President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, will be attending the 30th session of the African Union (AU) summit of heads of state which starts on Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, State House said.

President Faure will leave the country on January 27 and return January 29.

According to CNBC Africa, an African television network, “Two critical issues will impact on the relevance of the AU as a regional mechanism: firstly, the continuation of the reforms proposed by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who is set to chair the organisation in 2018; and secondly, the adoption of a protocol of free movement that will further the integration of the continent.”

Seychelles’ Secretary of State for the Foreign Affairs department, Barry Faure, is attending the AU’s Executive Council 2-day meeting which started on January 25.

Faure spoke on the subject of the implementation of the Africa Agenda 2063 and flagship projects. The Agenda is a framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years and the flagship projects are those approved by the AU Summit and seen as very urgent and relevant. According to Faure, while there has been progress in some areas like with the Single African Air Transport Market, he expressed concern that the majority of the projects were encountering delays. He called for robust mechanisms to be put in place to address this

 

01.25.18

Seychelles-India Agreement for military use of island being revised

Posted in Bilateral Treaties, International relations at 9:41 pm by Robert Klien

The agreement between India and Seychelles to build military infrastructures on the remote island of Assumption has been revised and will be signed on January 27.

The decision followed an extraordinary meeting between the President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, and his Cabinet of Ministers on Tuesday.

The agreement was  signed during the official visit of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Seychelles in March 2015 to be the first one that was supposed to go before the Seychelles National Assembly for ratification as stipulated in the constitution.

The Secretary of State of the Foreign Affairs department Barry Faure said that when the agreement was signed the intention was not for India to take control of the island. “Although the project was being financed entirely by India, Seychelles retains full ownership of the facilities and sovereign rights over the island,” he said.

The remote island of Assumption is situated some 1,140 southwest of the Seychelles main island of Mahe.

 

01.20.18

Seychelles to chair AML meeting to address “grey-list”issues

Posted in Business and Economy, International Organisations, International relations, Seychelles government at 8:41 pm by Robert Klien

Seychelles is gearing up to hold this year’s Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Group meeting in August while also preparing to take up the presidency of the group, the jurisdiction’s finance minister said.

To prepare for the high-level meeting, Seychelles’ Ministry of Finance is holding frequent meetings with all involved parties to ensure the event goes smoothly from start to finish.

Peter Larose, the Minister for Finance, Trade and Economic Planning, said: “It is important that we plan ahead. I had to call on a number of parties to be able to assist as this is about Seychelles. We need to showcase Seychelles’ style of management, governance system and show the world that we are a capable, responsible and accountable government”.

According to him, the guests will have the opportunity to witness the competitive edge of Seychelles as part of the global village.

Minister said that discussions in this year’s meeting will focus on our compliance with international best practices including preventing money-laundering, tax evasion and combatting the financing of terrorism. “It is part and parcel of our commitment to share information within the group and Africa, and with the rest of the world,” said Larose.

The aim of the group is to combat anti-money laundering by implementing recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF). The organisation sets standards and promotes effective application of AML legal and regulatory measures.

01.17.18

Seychelles and Abu Dhabi leaders meet at World Future Energy Summit

Posted in Business and Economy, Diplomatic missions, International relations at 9:44 pm by Robert Klien

The president of Seychelles, Danny Faure, met with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit this week.

The two leaders discussed how to maintain friendly relations and support between the two jurisdictions.

On January 15, President Faure attended the official opening of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week being held under the theme “Driving the Global Energy Transformation.”

The head of state of Seychelles is attending the World Future Energy Summit for the 2nd time in his presidency.

The event is a global discussion on the future of renewable energy, clean technology and sustainability and is held every year as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. This year, the summit will cover burning issues and key trends in the renewable energy sector, such as the future of energy and transport in urban.

01.10.18

Seychelles increases Import Duties on certain building materials

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles legislation at 9:24 pm by Robert Klien

Effective January 1, 2018, import duty was removed in the Seychelles on dietary supplements, corrugated iron sheets, and various other building materials, including panels, tiles, and other similar materials.

According to the tax agency, VAT will still apply on the aforementioned items, at a 15% rate.

The changes were included in Statutory Instrument 68 of 2017, Customs Management (Tariff and Classification of Goods) (Amendment) No 2 Regulations, 2017.

01.02.18

Tax Law changes approved in Seychelles

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles government, Seychelles legislation, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 8:33 pm by Robert Klien

At an extraordinary meeting of the Seychelles Cabinet in December, a number of legal and tax policy proposals were approved, continuing the jurisdiction’s progress in reforming its tax regime and bolstering its economy.

According to a Ministry of Finance statement that was released following the meeting: “Cabinet approved policies relating to the Progressive Income Tax Law. The aim of these policies are to simplify income tax collection. Cabinet also approved the amendment to the Excise Tax Bill. The amendments would harmonize the categories of business and persons entitled to fuel concessions under the Excise Tax Act 2009.”

Also, administrative changes were approved to the Seychelles Revenue Commission Act and the Customs Management Bill with a view to allow for the renaming of certain posts, as well as to allow for the creation of a Revenue Commission Board.

On December 13, 2017, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a new Policy Coordination Instrument (PCI) for Seychelles. The 3-year arrangement with the IMF will allow the Government of the Seychelles to receive intensive support with regard to developing and implementing pro-growth economic policies.

The previous review of the economy held by the IMF in October 2017 said that while the Seychelles has made remarkable progress on enhancing its finance and economy, it still faces vulnerabilities and pressures, as a small island economy in a challenging global economic environment.

11.26.17

Tax settings overhauled in recent Seychelles’ 2018 Budget

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles legislation, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction, Tourism industry at 8:39 pm by Robert Klien

The Seychelles Budget included numerous proposals to change the jurisdiction’s tax settings, including new corporate tax reliefs and the settings for a progressive personal income tax regime.

According to the Government of Seychelles, its proposals for a progressive income tax will mark the 3rd phase of reform efforts that began in April 2016, with the introduction of a higher personal income tax exemption, for those earning less than SCR8,555 (USD618) a month.

Under the new changes, the threshold will remain the same, but income up to SCR10,000 will be subject to a 15% rate; income up to SCR83,333 will be subject to a 20% rate, and a 30% rate will be levied on income above that threshold. Foreign individuals will not benefit from the tax exempt threshold which will be applicable on a monthly basis, in a move said to be to reduce the tax compliance burden.

Also, an alternative for small businesses from being taxed under the business tax regime was proposed. They can be subject instead to a flat fee of SCR3,000, for businesses with a turnover of not more than SCR500,000; or a flat percentage of 3% for those businesses with turnover between SCR500,000 and SCR25m. Those with a turnover greater than this will not be eligible. In addition, it was noted that Seychelles has offered a presumptive tax with a 1.5% rate since 2013.

In the Budget, it is proposed that the following businesses will no longer have 5% tax deducted at source (DAS): building contractors, maintenance contractors, mechanics, hirers or operators of plant and equipment, or hirers of buses.

Amendments are proposed to the Business Tax Act to clarify, first, that Seychelles will have a territorial tax regime and, second, tax on depreciable assets will be limited to the original cost of the asset.

From 2019, the following tax concessions for the tourism sector will be repealed:

  • accelerated depreciation and the 200% allowable deduction for marketing and promotion costs. Instead the Government is considering offering a 200% allowable deduction for employing a qualified Seychellois graduate holding a Certificate, Diploma, or Degree or higher from an institution endorsed by Seychelles Qualification Authority (SQA); a 150% deduction for emoluments paid by an employer to a Post-Secondary or Tertiary, who is in full-time education and in part-time employment, and 150% for a business paying for training endorsed by the Agency of National Human Resources Development (ANHRD).
  • for the maritime industry, “artisanal and semi-industrial fishermen” will no longer be included in the scope of the business tax regime; instead they will play a fee in addition to current license and registration fees.

The Government has proposed to amend the tax rules for landlords of residential buildings to replace the current 15% tax with a 3% tax on gross rental receipts.

These business tax reform proposals are proposed to be effective from January 2019.

In addition, the Government is to reintroduce legislation to establish an immovable property tax, having earlier shelved plans to introduce this tax from July 2017. Under the levy, a rate of 0.25% will be charged on the capital-improved value of property owned by all foreigners as from January 2018. The tax will be applicable for all foreign-owned residential, company-owned, and leased properties of more than 25 years. Owners must make a declaration between January and June 2018, with collections expected to start from October 2018.

In accordance with the Budget, changes to the International Trade Zone Act, 1995, will be considered for inclusion in the 2019 Budget. The rate of tax on plug-in hybrid vehicles will be lowered from 15 to 10%. The Budget also exempts from VAT funeral services and reduces customs duty on dietary supplements from 25 to 0%.

Finally, it was announced in the Budget that the Seychelles Revenue Commission’s (SRC’s) organization structure will be re-organized in 2018.

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