Habib Bank to close its business in Seychelles

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles banking at 6:28 pm by Robert Klien


As the regulator of the country’s banking system, the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) has reassured all clients of the Habib Bank Limited (HBL) that the bank has sufficient liquidity to fulfill its obligation towards all depositors and repay all debts.

This statement was made by CBS Governor Caroline Abel on September 21 during a press conference at the CBS boardroom, after announcing that the HBL had formally requested to close down its business in Seychelles.

The request dated and received by CBS on Monday September 10, 2018, was subsequently approved by the CBS Board on Thursday September 20, 2018, in accordance with Schedule 5 of the Financial Institutions Act, 2004.

The decision has already been communicated to HBL, while the notice shall also be submitted to the Registrar of Companies.

According to the management of the HBL, the decision to close down the business after years of operation is based on the strategic reorganisation aimed at increasing focus on its core markets.

Ms Abel explained that while HBL shall not be accepting any new business as of yesterday, following the CBS approval to close down its business, there is a clear process that the bank needs to undertake as part of its winding up. This includes repaying all of its depositors and other creditors in respect of its operations in Seychelles.


The HBL Seychelles branch was opened in 1976 and up to now, it has 1870 accounts, totalling to a sum of R96,512,461.65.


Poland to open consulate in Seychelles

Posted in International relations, Seychelles government at 5:27 pm by Robert Klien


Poland plans to open an honorary consulate in Seychelles. This plan was announced on July 31 by the newly accredited Polish ambassador to the country President Danny Faure.

After having presented his credentials to President Faure, the ambassador told journalists that the consulate in Seychelles will be of great benefit to tourists from Poland visiting Seychelles and will also help with trade and commerce between Seychelles and Poland.

Ambassador Bazański said that Poland sells some products to Seychelles also Poland buys some products, like fish, from Seychelles, , but it’s not enough. So finding other possibilities would be of help.

He also extended an invitation to President Faure from his Polish counterpart President Andrzej Duda to attend a climate change conference to be held in Poland in December 2018.

Ambassador Bazański said that President Faure has assured him that he will send a Seychelles delegation to the conference.

Other topics discussed between the ambassador and President Faure included preparations for the 100th anniversary this year of Poland regaining its independence, cooperation in trade, commerce and investment between Poland and Seychelles.



Seychelles’ Electoral Commission to audit political parties for monitoring funds usage

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles government at 5:17 pm by Robert Klien

The Seychelles’ Electoral Commission plans to audit the expenses of political parties that received funds for their activities.

According to the interim electoral commissioner, Bernard Elisabeth, political parties receive money every quarter depending on the number of seats they have in the National Assembly. “The money is disbursed every 3months in a year to ensure that a follow up is done by the Commission. Some political parties are even receiving 800,000 rupees every 3 months,” he said. There are 11 parties registered with the Electoral Commission. Some of them are not active but are still receiving funds and they need to be accountable for their expenses.

He added that as of now “all political parties receiving funds from the Commission need to submit an auditor’s report with details of all their expanses including a list of their executive members each year.”

According to the Electoral Commission, SCR 6.5 million is budgeted under the consolidated fund to share between political parties based on the number of valid votes gained in the previous election.

In accordance with the current voter’s register, around 63,000 people are eligible to vote out of the 93,000 people residing in Seychelles. Presidential and Parliamentary elections are held every 5 years in Seychelles. In the last Presidential election in December 2015 the candidate of the ruling Parti Lepep, James Michel, obtained 50.15%.



New Legislation in Seychelles to improve transparency, speed for overseas healthcare

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles legislation at 5:22 pm by Robert Klien

Legislation to fast-track decisions on who is eligible for government-funded treatment in other countries is now in force after the President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, signed the Overseas Treatment Act.

According to the Minister of Health, Jean-Paul Adam, the new legislation highlights the way in which any citizen of Seychelles can have access to overseas treatment. The new rules outline the procedures which the specialists within the Seychelles hospital can refer somebody for overseas treatment. Also, it represents the rights of the citizen as regards accessing that treatment.

Adam added that although more and more specialised treatment is being done locally there remains certain procedures by specialists that are not available in Seychelles. It is for that reason that the Ministry of Health is continuing to support a programme of sending patients overseas when necessary.

The government of Seychelles is currently sending over 200 patients per year for specialised overseas treatment not provided in the jurisdiction.

With the aim of making the procedures more transparent, a bill proposed by the Ministry of Health was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers in March and approved by the National Assembly last month.



Seychelles Introduces Progressive PIT Regime

Posted in Business and Economy at 5:09 pm by Robert Klien

A new progressive income tax system for individuals was introduced in the Seychelles on June 1, 2018.

For citizens only, the first SCR8,555.50 (USD629) of taxable income is exempt from income tax. A 15% rate applies on income up to SCR10,000, starting from the first rupee earned for non-citizens. Income up to SCR83,333 is subject to a 20% rate and a 30% applies on income above that threshold.

In order to support taxpayers and employers when calculating income tax liability, a calculator has been released by the Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC).

Subject to conditions set out in the second schedule of the Income and Non-Monetary Benefit Tax Act, the following payments are not taxable income under the new regime:

  • an emolument derived by a person entitled to privileges under the Privileges and Immunities Act;
  • an emolument being a reimbursement for the use of a motor vehicle;
  • an emolument being a reimbursement by an employer of an employed person for the cost of using the employee’s own motor vehicle for the benefit of the employer;
  • day-to-day living expenses for traveling workers (per diem);
  • a retirement pension;
  • payments for overtime; end of contract payments;
  • a uniform/shoe allowance;
  • a bonus;
  • compensation;
  • a service charge;
  • a gratuity payment;
  • and a 13th-month payment.

Compliance obligations have changed since the introduction of the regime. A new payroll form has been designed and the monthly Business Activity Statement (BAS) has been updated.

According to the SRC, the two forms must be lodged within 21 days following the end of the applicable month. The payroll form has been developed to assist employers with the calculation of their monthly income tax withholding obligations.

For employers with fewer than 10 employees, the payroll statement can be lodged either manually or electronically using the SRC’s E-Service facility. For employers with 10 or more employees – only electronically.

Firms must also lodge an employee status report. The first deadline is July 21, along with the payroll statement. After this first deadline, the employee status report should be updated and submitted on January 21 every year.


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.



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.


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.


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



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.


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