04.29.07

Seychelles and Kenya sign Trade Pact

Posted in Bilateral Treaties, Business and Economy, International relations at 4:21 pm by Robert Klien

A new bilateral agreement has been signed between Seychelles and Kenya. The mayors of Victoria and Nairobi have signed a pact that provide for increasing trade between the 2 capitals.

Both Victoria mayor Mrs Florence Benstrong and Nairobi mayor Dick Wathika agreed that despite the fact that the 2 cities are located near, trade between them is limited.

Nairobi mayor said that, for example, Kenyan flowers are imported to Seychelles from a 3rd party, not directly from Nairobi. Victoria mayor confirmed that, despite the availability of 3 Kenya Airways flights per week to Island Mahe, where Victoria is located, Kenyan flowers come into Seychelles through Mauritius, situated thousands of kilometres to the south.

Also, Seychelles enjoys imported food crops, which could be easily imported from Kenya, from Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Both mayors hope that the signing of the pact will change and improve the current situation.

Trade between Seychelles and Kenya is minimal but, nevertheless, many islanders of Seychelles have links with the locals in Kenya and fly there regularly. Nairobi mayor hopes that the pact will help to develop infrastructure links necessary to promote tourism between Seychelles and Kenya.

04.25.07

SEnPA decentralizes services

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles IBC at 8:42 am by Robert Klien

The Small Enterprise Promotion Agency (SEnPA) has opened offices in district administrations in various districts around Mahé in order to decentralize its services bringing them closer to the public.

This service started on April 2, 2007. It was initiated by SEnPA to improve the service offered to more than 800 businesses registered with this agency.

Maryse Berlouis, the managing director of SEnPA, commented decentralizing the following way: “Instead of sitting in an office waiting for business owners to come to us in Victoria, we can now go to them and offer our services since most of them are based and run from their own residences.”

The services provided by the agency include, but are not limited to, providing professional advice to existing and potential cottage industry businesses, providing information on facilities and support offered, assisting with queries on setting up cottage industry businesses, analyzing the businesses of entrepreneurs and developing ways of improving them.

The Small Enterprise Promotion Agency was established in August 2004 to promote and develop small enterprises, crafts and cottage industries in Seychelles. Its objectives are the promotion of small enterprises as well as development of crafts and cottage industries in collaboration with the Ministry, the implementation of the policy and strategies of the Seychellois Government related to crafts and cottage industries, the supervision of the construction and management of the infrastructure of micro enterprise centre projects, the identification of obstacles of sustainable development and proposing solutions regarding this, etc.

04.20.07

Unesco Conference for SIDS concluded. Seychelles to exploit culture’s economic wealth

Posted in International Organisations, International relations, Seychelles Culture at 12:23 pm by Robert Klien

A conference organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) concluded on April 13, 2007.

At the 3-day seminar, delegates and speakers from SIDS said that the Seychelles should further work on deriving the economic benefits from its rich culture. They provided the example of Jamaica, which succeeds to earn millions by “spreading the positive aspects of their Rastafarian culture through reggae music”. According to them, Jamaica also exports T-shirts with positive messages, while, for instance, Haiti makes a fortune selling paintings based on their ancient voodoo culture, etc. The delegates suggested that Seychellois culture needs more recognition.

Raymonde Onezime, the director general for Cultural Institutions and Policy Planning in the Ministry of The Arts, Culture and Sports, agreed with the delegates. She said that culture lacks vast recognition as a key player in economic development.

Onezime said that health, education, sports and environment have always been the priorities for the Seychelles, however, culture must not be neglected and it must be recognized as is an essential aspect of industrial and national economy. She agreed that Seychellois culture is a strong asset that is to be explored and exploited and thanked Unesco for recognizing its potential.

The seminar was attended by delegates 18 countries. Besides Seychelles, it was visited by Australia, the UK, Norway, France, Reunion, Trinidad and Tobago, Papua New Guinea, Jamaica, Fiji, Comoros, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Mauritius, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Tanzania.

04.17.07

Good start of Seychelles tourism 2007

Posted in Business and Economy at 4:25 am by Robert Klien

Recently, records set by Seychelles tourism industry in 2006 have been discussed. To remind, in 2006 Seychelles attracted a record 140,000 visitors. Now a new record seems to please the nation.

According to the National Statistics Bureau (NSB), the tourism industry in the Seychelles has showed a good start marked by a 15% increase in visitor arrivals during the first 3 months of 2007.

By March 25, 2007, Seychelles was visited by 38 200 people. This figure was 26% above the average the last 5 years for the same period.

France has stayed the leading source of tourists to Seychelles. France is followed by Italy, Germany, the UK and Ireland, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). All tourist markets of these countries except for Germany have showed increases of between 13% and 42%. As to Germany, the name of Seychelles has been mentioned in an environmental campaign against long distance air travel in this country, which unluckily influenced the increase.

Seychelles plans to open up more islands both to day trips and to overnight stay as well as to expand the range of traditional holiday activities like sun, sea and sand.

In 2006, tourism contributed 57% of foreign revenue.

04.12.07

Michel’s State of the Nation address. Seychelles reduces debt

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 4:49 am by Robert Klien

On March 20, 2007, at his annual State of the Nation address, President Michel was talking not only about expanding offshore sector in the Seychelles and restructuring the tax system, but also about the progress achieved by the Seychelles in reducing its national and international debt and further plans to reduce the government’s borrowings considerably.

According President James Michel, last year the Seychelles enhanced its credibility as the government mobilized a USD 200 million bond, which evaluated by international financial markets and a positive rating was assigned to it.

The President said that the government has introduced a rational strategy for the next 10 years concerning Seychelles’ international and national debt. President Michel informed that a substantial reduction of debt, which is now only 60% of GDP, has been experienced by the country.

However, Michel emphasized the necessity of effective fiscal policies, in accordance with which the surplus goes toward reimbursement of Seychelles’ debts and growth rate.

After launching the bond in 2006, the government has cleared a considerable amount of its arrears – especially arrears with the World Bank, African Development Bank, European Investment Bank as well as with Paris Club Creditors. Michel noted that the government is continuing to negotiate with its remaining international creditors and to pay off the existing debts as FDI enters the country. The President added that the government has also reduced its short-term loans, accordingly, more financial resources become available for private sector investment.

Central Bank of Seychelles has provided statistics about the country’s GBP. According to it, GDP increased by 3.3% in 2005, and by 7.6% in 2006; and growth in excess of 5% is expected in 2007 to 2008. At the annual State of the Nation address, the President made the announcement about the plans to double the country’s GDP in 10 years.

04.05.07

Michel’s State of the Nation address. Seychelles Offshore Sector to grow and develop

Posted in Business and Economy, Offshore Services, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 7:28 pm by Robert Klien

On March 20, 2007, at his annual State of the Nation address, Seychellois President James Michel said that the government is looking for opportunities to expand the offshore business sector with new products. Also, he said the government and is looking to boosting foreign investment by means of further liberalisation of foreign exchange controls.

According to President Michel, the Seychelles offshore sector has already revealed its potential to assist the development of the Seychelles. Also, he emphasized that the government is able to initiate more schemes used for attracting further capital from around the world, which is possible to a great extent due to the growth in the tourism and fisheries sectors.

The President expressed the intention to widen the offshore financial services that are already provided. He also added that such new services as offshore special license companies, offshore mutual funds, a stock exchange as well as new products and services in the insurance sector will be offered.

President Michel was also speaking about promoting investment in the onshore business environment. A new law exempts payment of business tax on the 1st USD 41 000 of profits for all companies, and it comes into effect from January 1, 2007.

In accordance with Michel, the government is also going on restructuring the tax system – it is creating a single Revenue Authority empowered to collect all dues on behalf of the government, registration fees and licenses includingly. Currently, the general Office of Tax operates under the the Ministry of Finance.

The Seychellois government is expecting an increase in the incoming flows of foreign exchange. Michel informed that exports of goods and services have risen by 20% from 2005 to 2006, whilst flows linked to investments have increased by more than USD 65.5 million from 2005 to 2006.

04.01.07

Seychelles Minister on working visit to Hong Kong & Macau

Posted in Business and Economy, International relations, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 2:22 pm by Robert Klien

Invited by Sidney To, Seychelles’ Regional Trade Commissioner, the Minister for Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation recently visited Hong Kong and Macau to evidence an official opening of a new Seychelles Trade Commission office on February 22, 2007.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, Patrick Pillay, joined with potential investors in both cities. Pillay’s working visit lasted from February 21 to February 25. During the visit, Pillay met senior representatives of the Government of the Macau Special Administrative Region, Hong-Kong and Macau benefiting from a specific status of the formula “one nation, two systems” implemented by China.

An agreement was signed by Pillay and local authorities to promote the Seychelles as a tourist destination for Macau residents, who hold not the same passports as citizens from mainland China.

Then, Minister Pillay visited a press conference with all local media. At the conference, he presented Seychelles’ economy. The issues under discussion were tourism, fisheries as well as new business opportunities available after President James Michel’s State Visit to China in the beginning of November 2006 and President Hu Jintao’s State Visit to Seychelles on February 9-10, 2007.

Ambassador Philippe Le Gall accompanied Minister Pillay on his visit.